Assignment 1

Reflections on Submitted Work

The past couple of months spent on undertaking this section of the course have been a very steep learning curve. I have had little formal art education/training and went straight into a very detailed and structured course.

I have found the course so far very difficult but also very satisfying. Whilst I was mostly able to achieve the objectives of the exercise to a reasonable standard I have spent a considerable amount of time to undertake the exercises particularly the drawings. Hopefully I will become quicker. I was certainly not able to complete the assignment drawings in the times recommended, more like double. This became a problem insofar the little time available to practice or develop skills readily.

In terms of strengths and weaknesses with regards to the assessment criteria points here goes –

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills
I was comfortable with the use of graphite pencils but certainly charcoal, ink and coloured pencils/crayons/pastels were not familiar to me and obviously more practice is required.

I haven’t yet developed an overall style though probably that is to come. I am pleased with the way in which my pencil drawings have improved and particularly being able to define form and portray solidity.

Observational Skills
A good improvement. The course has taught me to look at objects differently, i.e. to examine texture and shadow and  consider how to reproduce these aspects.

Visual Awareness (looking at life as a painting or drawing)
Also a good improvement. When you need to reproduce an object, even mentally, you think of it differently to it just being there.

This aspect broadens your view. I look at objects and consider their design and how it was derived.

Design and Compositional Skills
I am probably a little limited in this skill.

Whilst I can just about reproduce on paper an object that is before me I still find it difficult to portray what is my mind.

Similarly with regard to composition I have learned what makes a good composition and can probably put it into practice though in the few relevant exercises so far undertaken this may not yet be apparent.

Quality of Outcome
I am pleased with what I have produced in the course so far. Where shortcomings have occurred I think I have been aware of them and “will do better next time” rather than continue trying to correct the work in hand, i.e. I have made a warts and all presentation.

Application of Knowledge
I have a lot to learn but I am happy with my application of what I have learned so far. I can look at some of my drawings and learn how I can do better.

Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner
Hopefully the formats, i.e. a sketchbook binder and online learning log will present my work in a coherent manner.

I note that some students work with a bound A3 sketchbook but a loose leaf binder works better for me. I shall keep an informal, bound sketchbook which will be submitted when I have time to put something in it!

Discernment (keen insight and judgement).
Probably a little early to tell. I am learning what it takes to make a good drawing/painting and I am appreciating what it takes to read a good drawing/painting.

I am certainly not at the stage where what I have learned can be applied by myself other than in basic form.

Conceptualisation of Thoughts (Thinking with the concepts of pictures and ideas)
Do I have pictures in my mind that I didn’t have before?

Not there yet. If my primary objective of learning to paint is to be able to reproduce what is in my mind rather than what I see then I am a long way from it.

I need to know and use my materials better before I will be able to do that to my satisfaction.

Communication of Ideas
Again, not there yet. However I have done abstract drawings previous to this course that I have thought afterwards “where did that come from?” and that is an area that I wish to develop and will be included in my informal sketchbook when I have time.

Demonstration of Creativity
I have probably answered this topic in the previous heading

Certainly from the abstraction element I have a long way to go. In some of the exercises/assignments I have produced textures that I am pleased with and did not come from a book so maybe there is some individual creativity there.

Development of a Personal Voice
I mention this above.

If my drawings are distinctive rather than photo-realistic then maybe that is my style but I do not think I have yet developed a personal style which is disappointing but will happen.

I tend to concentrate on detail and I am happy commit the time that the detail requires. So, maybe my style will entail depicting minutiae.

Other than above, an overall reflection of the course so far is – extremely hard work, generally enjoyable and most satisfying in what I have achieved.

My only concern is that I am very probably taking much more time than the course expects and probably other students are taking. For that reason there have been many moments of frustration.

I have only been to one exhibition since starting the course and my reading has been confined to the subjects of the  two Research Points.

A little disappointing but if I speed up as I develop I hope more time will become available for these aspects.

Whilst I have acquired most of the essential and recommended books I have not found time for any serious study of them.

Critical Thinking (Reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do)
If my online  Learning Log is to be the indicator of my critical thinking throughout the course then I have honestly recorded my thoughts and learning and when I reflect on those notes I hope that they will enable me to recognise my progress.

I expect the Learning Log to become not only a learning reference but also a record of personal development.

It has been a quite curious and revealing experience to put my thoughts on paper as required by the Learning Log and quite alien to all studies I have undertaken in the past.

However it must be said that the amount of time the online element of the Learning Log takes to produce is out of all proportion to the academic or learning element of the course.  The taking of photographs and uploading of the photographs and documents and the allied adjustments takes too much time away from the learning exercises and drawing practice.

Whilst it might appear advantageous to have peer reviewing etc. of the online Learning Log I think the time would be better spent in the more beneficial studies and practice. The same information can be presented on paper, i.e. a combined Learning Log and Sketchbook


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