Eve Beatrice Andrews
Thank you Eve for your second assignment; there is a really generous and enjoyable response to most of the briefs here, with an abundant amount of work produced sketching from animals, where you ‘really got your eye in’, creating sketches full of observations and effort. Overall, your drawing is now exploring a variety of options, from the linear clarity of a single line, to the painterly softness of oil pastels; interestingly achieving some eloquent outcomes with both mediums. Additionally, you have addressed the presentation of your reflective writing and learning log from the previous assignment, now giving it a clear directory layout, which is easy to navigate.
I understand your aim is to go for the Painting/Textiles/Creative Arts*) Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Observation In Nature
As a starting point, you show some creativity in the various marks made to simulate surface, texture, pattern and so on, beginning to establish a vocabulary with which you might describe form. The subsequent studies show some pleasing linear and tonal observations being made, with a careful approach of quite decorative mark making in the silver birch leaf. You go on to explore other ways of depicting similar leaf structures, though each sketch has its own medium, technique and outcome.
Two very different outcomes again, led by the mediums used and the relative processes or techniques they tend to lean to. The line drawing has a clarity and eloquence to its singular line, yet also in its tangle of forms with no backdrop or environment, a slight abstract quality; pleasing nonetheless. It would be good to see you apply this to something architectural or structurally engineered and larger; exploring the skeleton of a made form, but on a much larger, grander scale. The oil pastel work is more painterly, looser, yet still some control being exercised at this scale of work. The plain paper group drawing gives some sense of three dimensions of the stones, not the easiest of subjects by any means, but a good challenge. The soft grey cast shadows and slight highlights on the stones are crucial in making these shapes become forms; again there is the potential here to work larger so you can get into the surface description with more ease.
Drawing fruit and vegetables in colour
There is a more minimal investigation of this subject from the work shown, in contrast to your plentiful observations from animals later on in this assignment, however you do make some exploration of different composition arrangements here. Of them all, interestingly you chose the one you labelled ‘too crowded’, yet the composition third down on the right column also has good placement of the forms.
Drawing plants and flowers
Wow, what a sheet of colour combinations to open with, in exploring coloured pencils. A real rainbow result, and a useful process, with both straight colours and mixes being created. In the subsequent initial drawing you apply some fullness of colour in the flowers themselves, enabling them to stand forward of the background. In contrast, with the marker pen you produce an immediate block of colour / tone.
The negative space studies are observed well, capturing the block shapes of pots and plants, with a particularly effective and different hatching in the second drawing. This biro produced example creates a surface like woven fabric or wood veneer; it is quite individual. Did you plan this, play around with ideas then come to this, or did it just happen?
The third negative space drawing, which happens to include an interior, is an interesting development and twist; the text base adds in another layer, but is whitened out or softened in places. A creative and imaginative outcome, with the potential for much more within this single example.
Drawing animals Grabbing the chance
You certainly have done this here, making the most of the opportunities available to you in observing and working from some more familiar animals, and creating a body of work of some variety. The strongest outcomes in terms of anatomical accuracy include the sketch of your dog asleep, drawn in watercolour and pencil, which is full of character, plus the pencil study of his head, with some well observed, empathetic mark making.
You explore other media in using the oil pastels, even at a smaller scale, managing to apply them with some precision and care for the detail of the animal’s facial features. The sketch with coloured pastel applied just on the eyes has a more poignant and singular use of colour, and as the drawings develop, you seem to be capturing something of the character too, which is intriguing.
The larger oil pastel works less successfully as the previous studies, where the colour adds to the drawing of the dog; in this larger, more multi-coloured piece, the attention is less on the animal, more taken by the denser colour outlining, which doesn’t work spatially. In this instance, the outlines or colour, overtakes the dog, rather than ‘sitting’ underneath him. Instead, you might extend the colour across those spaces, rather than just at its edges; more Matisse colour blocks.
Additionally, you experiment with some different paper bases to start the drawing on, such as found text pages, envelopes, and so on; this gives the overlaid drawings a different outcomes and character. The dog nestled on the chair is a delightful example of this, with a good strength of line applied to make the sketch sufficiently eloquent over it.
Fish on a plate
Not set on a plate, however study one is a very delicate colour study of
sufficient colour and tone, with a variety of marks to depict this fish; it almost
has a ‘fossil’ like quality to it. The fresh colours sing out, with a hint of
Pointillism in the application of the colour; you have taken your time on this
piece to produce the variety of marks applicable in describing the surface
Then, a different process and outcome follows. A completely contrasting view,
with a dark background, which sets off the colours and lights on the body of
the fish, like the luminescence of a mackerel skin.
The other studies which follow, using book text to draw over, might benefit
from some colour to pull the fish away from its monochrome base.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
You are making good use of this area of your practice, as witnessed in the
additional sketches on your learning blog; sketching every day is an excellent
approach, so I hope you can maintain this. The enjoyment and process you
are experiencing is tangible in the sketches, and there are some seeds of
ideas here that are worth pushing further, such as the negative space drawing
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
An immediate difference to the learning log, with good sign posting being
applied to the different parts of this assignment; this really highlights your
work very clearly. You are making some good analysis of your work as you
progress through the different briefs. The one element to include would be
any visits to galleries, art exhibitions, open studio events, or any other direct
contact with contemporary practice; this experience will inform and feedback
into your own practice, so is a key factor in your development.
‘Extraordinary Sketchbooks’ by Jane Stobart, A & C Black Publishing is an inspiring read, with lots of illustrations of diverse sketchbook practice from contemporary practitioners. Additionally, ‘Sketchbooks’ by Richard Brereton, Laurence King Publishing has some more alternative approaches or purposes to what and why people sketch. See if your library can get these, or you may be able to view some content initially online.
Pointers for the next assignment
You might continue to explore oil pastel in your drawing further, incorporating scratching back through layers, to achieve mark making, texture and layering of colours. You can convey surface details or descriptive mark making more easily with this medium at a larger scale too, so working larger could be an effective development. Better too on toned or coloured paper.
You note some good ideas and an open–ness to drawing from animals elsewhere, so try to continue this in your sketchbook practice, as achieving this will build on the skills you are developing here and be akin to life drawing.
Look in a very practical sense at the way other artists use composition in their imagery; exploring this element in a practical form in a larger sketchbook could be useful to inform your own work.
Continue your sketchbook practice as you are doing, and consider keeping different sized ones for different purpose; such as a pocket sized one for quick, in-the-field studies, or a larger one for studio development of ideas, of exploring composition in more depth.
Keep trying different media and combinations, trying out as many possibilities as you can imagine; don’t forget to refer back to the library of mark making, patterns, tones, effects and colour mixes you have created here, to apply in your future drawings, especially in the next assignment’s work on landscape and trees.
I will look forward to seeing your work for assignment 3.
Next assignment due