Final Tutor Report – 5

Published May 22, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

Tutor Report Form

 

Student name: Annie Dickson
Student number: 486851
Course/Module title: Painting 1: Watercolour Practice
Assignment number: 5

 

Page 1 of 5

 

Overall Comments

Thank you for sending your work for the final assignment.  I think your painting would benefit from more experimentation at the development stage and a greater amount of preliminary work in preparation for the final painting would allow you to select from a range of information rather than settle for your first idea.  I hope you will continue to explore ways to achieve your aim of working more loosely and I would encourage you to work on a larger scale as one way to try to do this. 

 

Feedback on assignment

The small tonal studies on a coloured ground which you made in your sketchbook have been successful as the shape of the chair and the strong shadows have a distinctive appearance with a noticeable pattern.  I also like your use of complementary colours for the areas of shadow.  Look at the painting of the shadows in Eileen Hogan’s painting of “Chair” to see how she has worked in a limited palette and broken up the large area of background with the shadows to create interest in this area of the painting.  The photographs in your blog seem to be of the sketchbook work and you should comment on how successful you were in working on the larger A3 size painting of this subject. 

 

I am glad to see that you were able to work outside for the painting of a landscape on a coloured ground.  It is interesting to read your logbook notes about your personal emotional response to the different colours used and how this affects your feeling about the atmosphere of the painting.  I don’t think you need to keep writing about how much you dislike landscape painting, as this has been made clear in several other sections of your logbook.  Perhaps you still need to consider your interpretation of what makes a landscape?

 

Page 2 of 5

Your preparatory sketchbook studies of your dog were useful in informing your work in exploring this subject in a variety of ways, especially as she would not stay still for very long.  Working quickly is good for you, as this method of working forces you to paint more loosely and therefore expressively.  These small studies avoid detail, but include enough information to capture the form and character of the animal and I think they are more successful than the larger paintings for this reason.  I agree with your note that you could have darkened the tone of the shadows underneath the dog in the larger paintings, as this would have created a better tonal balance in the composition. This exercise has given you an insight into how you can use different media together and I am glad to hear that you will continue to experiment with these in your work.  It was a good idea to continue with the same subject of the dog for the exercise in using mixed media on coloured and white paper.  As you discovered, it is difficult to use watercolour paint over charcoal, especially if you also use masking fluid as the action of rubbing this off will ‘muddy’ the charcoal if it has not been fixed.  I agree that your observation of tone continues to develop and there is a good range of tone in the body of the dog.

 

I am pleased to see you continued to experiment with the use of resists to explore effects for different textures, before deciding on a subject for the painting for this exercise.  You settled on the creel as a subject, and this gave you the opportunity to work from memory of the shapes and colours which helped you respond expressively to the subject for a more abstract approach.  In your blog, the photograph of the finished painting seems to be lighter in tone than the photograph at an earlier stage – have you mixed these up?  Look for more examples of artists working with resist techniques, such as ‘Figure’ by Sir Sidney Nolan.

 

For the exercise in making a collage from random elements, I think you would have learned more if you had worked on A2 size paper as suggested, rather than only A4.  You say that you did this as you don’t like to ‘waste’ paper but this decision restricted your ability to allow the paper to fall from a height onto the surface.  This exercise did not have to be carried out using your most expensive watercolour paper and it is never wasteful to explore the possibilities suggested to you.  Your second piece of work has responded well to the brief in staining large pieces of paper with watercolour paint and applying torn pieces of this with tissue paper and glue, although you have not given an indication of the size of this work.  I agree that this painting seems to be clear and fresh and you have been able to avoid overworking the image.  You felt that the composition lacked cohesion but did not want to introduce linear marks into the work, although you have not explained why.  You can see how collage and line have been used together effectively in ‘Mother and Child’ by Sandra Blow. 

 

Page 3 of 5

The use of torn photographs of the street of graffiti was a good idea to try to capture the feeling of the place and your abstract composition includes some interesting colours, textures and shapes.  What is the focal point of the painting and why do you think the work would have been better in acrylic rather than watercolour?  You explored some exciting possibilities for paintings in your experimentation with a viewfinder to magnify some of the photographs of the street of graffiti and I would encourage you to use this technique again to consider ways to find an abstract composition. 

 

For the exercise in free expression, you were asked to draw on subconscious thoughts, memories and associations to produce a work with no identifiable object.  Why did you include the word ‘Peace’ in your painting?  In doing this, you have forced the viewer to this interpretation, rather than allow a personal response to your painting.  The image appears to me as the rays coming from the sun and makes it seem like a recognizable object, rather than a feeling.  Your second painting of ‘Depression’ has not included the text, which allows the viewer more freedom to think about what your painting might mean.  I appreciate that this was a very personal painting for you and I am glad that you found it a helpful experience.  I cannot find your logbook notes about the exercise in working with music and you should include these for assessment.

 

Your preliminary work for the final series of five paintings appears to consist of two A4 charcoal studies, one A4 page of colour studies and five small watercolour studies of less than A5 size.  Three of these studies have been enlarged to create three of your five final paintings and it is not clear how the other paintings have been developed.  I would have liked to see more evidence of experimentation and development of the final paintings, especially to see how you arrived at the decisions about composition.  It is a good idea to make several thumbnail studies to examine different possibilities, rather than make one study and work only from that.  Your charcoal study of the wave is good and the painting from this has a sense of energy and movement.  You have been very successful in finding the colour to show the translucency of the wave.  Your use of masking fluid on a sponge helped to break up the edge of the wave to suggest foam.  Some of these shapes are rather circular and I think you could have gone a little further to add texture to this area of the painting – perhaps adding paint with the sponge, for a more flowing look to the water.  Look at the tonal range of the spray in “Under the Falls, the Grand Discharge” by Winslow Homer to see how he achieved this.

 

Your second painting is more abstract and is based on the made objects of the lobster pots rather than the natural form of the sea.  Although you took out some of the detail from the sketch, most of the string net has been kept which means that the objects still appear to be representational. 

 

Page4of 5

You say again that you think the final painting would have been better in acrylic or oil paint as you don’t think “painting abstracts this big” in watercolour is effective.  A3 size is not big and I would suggest that you look for examples of really large abstract paintings to see how any problem you perceive can be overcome.  “Torii” by Ian McKenzie-Smith is 61cm x 95cm, which is larger than A1 size and you can zoom in to this image on the Bridgeman website for a closer view.

 

Your third painting which is a larger colour version of the A4 charcoal study has been effective in observing the abstract shapes in a section of the water surface and the use of watercolour washes has been successful in creating a sense of movement in the water.  For your fourth painting, I agree that the first experiment was more successful in identifying which method of working with the watercolour pencils would be most effective to achieve your objective of looking at pattern in the still water.  You say that you were also exploring observation of tone in this painting and I think you could have gone further with this as, if you half close your eyes, you will see that this is a mid-tone painting.   I like your use of the limited palette and it was a useful experiment to scrub the whole surface with sandpaper to add texture.  Look at “Green Seascape” by Leon Spilliaert to see how he applied texture to the water surface. 

 

I am very pleased to see that you decided to take a more experimental approach to the final painting, using some of your experience of applying collage in earlier exercises.  This painting is based on a personal memory and I am glad that you enjoyed creating this piece of work.  It was a good idea to tear up the lyrics of the nursery rhyme to place the words randomly and make it impossible for the viewer to read the whole rhyme.  The title can be found, but it does not overwhelm the work and printing the text in the same colour palette as your paint helps to unify the collage with the watercolour.  This is a very different type of work for you and I feel that it captures the movement and energy of the sea very well.  I agree that your work shows progression through this course and the techniques you have explored will be a useful addition to your skills.  I would definitely encourage you to develop this method of working in future, as it will help you to explore a less traditional approach to working in the landscape.

 

Sketchbooks

You have only sent your small sketchbook along with three pages of your larger sketchbook to let me see the preliminary work for your final series of paintings.  Are you still working in your sketchbook on a daily basis to collect information and ideas?

Page 5 of 5

As already advised, you should also use the sketchbook as a resource to experiment with different media and I would have liked to see more examples of this work.

 

Learning logs/critical essays

I am glad to see that you continue to look for examples of paintings by contemporary artists, such as the mixed media work of Ruby Spam, Derek Russell, Carol Neilson and Chidi Okoye.  The collage work of Eileen Downes and Michel Keck are examples of how strong colour and tone can be achieved using torn paper on a coloured ground, with added mixed media of pen, ink or paint to add to the image.  In the written work on Modern Movements, you have made some written notes although this concentrated on Abstract, Suprematist and Constructivist art and could have been more extensive to consider Cubist, Dadaist, Futurist, Surrealist and Expressionist work.  As you progress to your next course, you will be required to give more consideration to the written work and should ask your tutor for guidance if you are unsure about this.

 

Suggested reading/viewing

Although you have now completed this course, keep looking at the work of other artists to study technique and how they have developed their ideas, particularly as you want to develop abstraction in your work. Search in the Bridgeman website for watercolour paintings in watercolour and mixed media, such as ‘Garn Fawr’ by John Piper, to help you move towards a freer and more expressive way of working.

 

Pointers for the next assignment

I am sure that you will continue to develop, to become more fluid and expressive in your painting as you gain experience and your next OCA course will give you the opportunity to build on what you have already learned.  Your work should be presented well for submission for assessment and I suggest that you should look at the video at http://www.weareoca.com/fine_art/ presentation-and-organisation for tips and ideas.   If you need any further advice on how you might prepare your portfolio for assessment, please get in touch with me. 

 

Tutor name: Jane Mitchell
Date 11th May 2013
Next assignment due n/a Course Completed

 

Part 5: Widening your options Project 3: Towards Abstraction Research notes – Modern Movements

Published April 15, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

Part 5 Widening your Options, Project 3: Towards Abstraction

 

Towards Abstraction: Modern Movements

 

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ‘abstract’ relating to art is to ‘denote art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colours, and textures’. What this definition does not explain is the emotional impact of an abstract painting on a viewer, the dictionary’s definition doesn’t go far enough to establish or mention the abstract movement that revolutionised the art world during the early part of the Twentieth Century.

 

Railing (2013) discusses that certain 20th Century painters such as Malevich believed that materials should determine the artistic form, she gives the example of Malevich’s comments about Michelangelo ‘ruining ‘ a good piece of marble when he carved David.  The reasons behind Malevich’s comments were that his belief was to allow the materials to speak for themselves and evoke an emotional response to both the artist and the viewer.  Railing goes on to discuss that the group of artists namely Kandinsky, Kupka, Malevich and Mondrian, investigated the experience of the sensations of the artists materials on their emotions and feelings.  When this group of artists is talking of ‘sensation’ in this respect they are referring to the sensations experienced by the physical body through the senses such as touch, smell and sight when experiencing their chosen materials, they believed this gave rise to perception and ideas and gave a fuller artistic experience. 

 

At this period during history a German Physicist called Herman Helmholtz was undertaking experiments that involved looking at the emotional response of the optical nerve when introduced to different colours, for example he discovered that Spectral Red had a higher vibrational resonance than that of Spectral Blue. Helmholtz’s experiments discovered that nerves, namely the optical nerves in this case gave an emotional response and energy to different colours; he hypothesized that this is why humans emotionally responded differently to both red and blue.  Kandinsky used Helmholtz’s theory when using red and blue within his work as he offered that he was expressing different emotions when producing the work and wanted to viewers to experience the same emotions when viewing his work. All these abstract painters in fact used emotional response when working believing their work would be viewed with the same responses, whether that was a response triggered by colour or texture they wanted their viewers to display different emotional responses such as playfulness, sadness, anger, frustration, happiness when viewing their work.  In 1912 Kandinsky wrote “Light warm red…gives a feeling of strength, vigour and determination” (Dover publications, p40)

Mondrian used the position of colours and their dimensions to evoke an emotional response from his work. In 1920 in a booklet Mondrian had published called Neo-Plasticism he wrote that a coloured rectangle in a composition of rectangular panes expressed the most profound reality and that the positioning of these coloured blocks were not only to him a natural response but one that achieved the realization he had sought when examining the relationships between colour and emotional response.

 

In 1915 Malevich painted ‘Red Square’ which was one in a series of work; it coincided with Malevich’s published manifesto called Cubism to Suprematism.  In 1915 to 1916 Malevich worked with other Suprematist artists in a cooperative in rural Russia. Suprematism was a geometric abstractionist movement organised and originated by Malevich this form of art was ‘the supremacy of pure artistic feeling’, Malevich wanted the viewer to have an emotional response to the work rather than viewing the geometric shapes just as circles, rectangles and square, the shapes were meant to evoke a pure emotional response. 

malevich_red

 

Under Suprematism I understand the primacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth. Malevich (1927)

 

 In his later writings Malevich discussed the quality of a new visual environment bringing about a change in perception meaning that a person’s environment can render the familiar landscape into an abstraction piece.  Suprematism has a profoundly anti-materialistic and anti-utilitarian philosophy and was opposed to the post-revolutionary constructivism and materialism principles.  Constructivism was about the object and adapted principles to functional organisation of objects, making the artist almost engineer like creating an organisation to life. Suprematism viewed man as the artist and his environment as his true reality and is what Malevich described as his ‘absolute non-objectivity’. Malevich’s principle of ‘absolute non-objectivity’ included a future where objects, convenience and appearances didn’t exist, a place where new beginnings are born. 

Malevich suprematism Supremus no 58 1916 Krasnodar Museum of art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/abstract

www.moma.org

 

Kandinsky (1912), Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Dover Publications

Malevich (1927), The Non-Objective World, Munich

Railing .P (2013) Philosophy now: Art as Sensation Four Painters as Philosophers of Art, Acuman Publishing

 

Assignment 5: Series of five paintings

Published April 7, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

For Project Four which doubles up as Assignment 5 I decided to choose the subject of the sea.  The reasons for my choice of subject? The sea is everything to me, my only happy memories from childhood stem from outings out to the coast with my family and as an adult I feel at my most tranquil and energised when I am by the sea.  My strong emotional attachment towards my subject has grown even stronger since moving from the coast inland to Belgium, where sometimes I feel totally lost and lethargic and only seem to re-energize when I take a trip back home to the North East of England.  I therefore felt that not only was the sea a challenging subject for me emotionally it was also a challenging project for me to try to experiment with.

I have a vast array of photographs that I have collected over the years whilst living on the coast so I was able to look at them as a whole and gain inspiration and actually take myself back to the coast even though I only managed to visit once whilst completing this assignment.

The last time I visited the North East of England I took some photographs and did some sketches which I have also used as reference material, when I was last there the weather was biting cold and very wintry so I decided that I would use various different techniques and materials to try to convey the sea in its ever-changing state. This is what draws me to the sea, every day is a new day and every second you see a different pattern or shadow, colour or tone in the waves, I love this, I embrace change as an individual and like to work on myself as an individual through my life journey so I feel the sea is very representative of me and how I portray myself and how I evolve.

The initial sketches that I painted when I was in Northumberland late last year were painted along the same stretch of coastline, the different tones and colours just show how different each day was.

Abstract wave pattern using masking fluid, graphite and watercolour washes

Abstract wave pattern using masking fluid, graphite and watercolour washes

 

Rock Sands...a brighter day! Sketch using oil pastels, masking fluid and watercolour washes

Rock Sands…a brighter day! Sketch using oil pastels, masking fluid and watercolour washes

Rock Sands at dusk..sketch using charcoal. masking fluid, watercolour washes

Rock Sands at dusk..sketch using charcoal. masking fluid, watercolour washes

Rock Sands..stormy dark day..sketch with charcoal and watercolour washes

Rock Sands..stormy dark day..sketch with charcoal and watercolour washes

 

Rock Sands Early Morning...sketch using watercolour

Rock Sands Early Morning…sketch using watercolour

Rock Sands...Stormy cold day..sketch with charcoal, oil pastel, masking fluid, watercolour paint and gouache

Rock Sands…Stormy cold day..sketch with charcoal, oil pastel, masking fluid, watercolour paint and gouache

Abstract sketch of lobster pots

Abstract sketch of lobster pots

Photograph of lobster pots on Beadnell Harbour

Photograph of lobster pots on Beadnell Harbour

 

Photograph of Lobster pots on Seahouses Harbour...colour enhanced using computer

Photograph of Lobster pots on Seahouses Harbour…colour enhanced using computer

Photograph of sectioj of lobster pot I was drawing for later reference

Photograph of section of lobster pot I was drawing for later reference

I wanted to depict the different states of the sea, by this I mean when it is calm and also how powerful it is when the waves whip up and sea spray covers you in a fine mist, this was quite difficult to try express as it is difficult to paint outdoors with watercolours when it is bad weather.  On one very windy day I took some sketch paper and a small board out with me and just a couple of pieces of charcoal to see if I could draw the power of the waves I was witnessing, I am really pleased with the result and decided to develop the charcoal drawing into one of my final paintings.

Charcoal sketch completed on site in very windy conditions

Charcoal sketch completed on site in very windy conditions

I used a putty rubber to define the shape of the waves after initially blackening the whole ground with my charcoal, considering how windy it was I am really happy with the result.  I decided to use the sketch and thought about how I could depict the spray that was almost foaming around the crest of the wave, so I used masking fluid on a synthetic sponge as I found this gave the most foam like appearance. I also wanted to be able to show tonally the almost tunnel effect where the wave curled over, I used a mix of viridian green and phthalo blue to give an almost translucent appearance to the final painting. I am really happy with the outcome and the final piece really reminds me of the Japanese watercolour paintings of waves by Katsushika Hokusai, although my representation is stylised it’s not so stylised as Hokusai’s wave. 

Feminine Wave by Katsushika Hokusai

Feminine Wave by Katsushika Hokusai

Cresta Blue - My first final painting for my series

Cresta Blue – My first final painting for my series

For my second painting I decided to use the sectional sketch I did of the lobster pots, I liked my initial sketch as I love pattern and I felt that these everyday objects are sometimes just seen as just that objects that people would walk past and not necessarily see the beauty within them. My initial sketch although it was detailed I decided to try to simplify it and took out some of the detail completely so it was maybe less representational as the actual object and the viewer would see shape, form and pattern in an abstract way.  I hovered over taking this piece further and adding some string to represent the ropes on the lobster pots however I decided against it so that the final painting stood alone and wasn’t recognisable or contrite in any way.  I am happy with the colours I have used, however I think the final painting would have been far better in acrylic paint or oils, in watercolour painting abstracts this big I feel personally that the paint just doesn’t fit somehow.

Creel - abstract painting usign watercolour and ink

Creel – abstract painting using watercolour and ink

My third piece of work I decided to develop one of my sketches, I looked at the watercolour abstract sketch I did of the wave pattern and developed the style of the pattern using charcoal in my sketchbook.

Charcola sketch..development piece from my initial on site watercolour sketch

charcoal sketch..development piece from my initial on site watercolour sketch

I like the sense of movement, which is easy to achieve with charcoal as you can move it around with your fingers and a putty rubber, so to try to achieve this same movement with watercolour and masking fluid on a larger scale I felt was a challenge. I am happy with the result, I mixed a lot of the washes on the wet paper and I am happy with the way they have formed, I did think to myself if I am trying to represent the movement of water then I will let the watercolour move itself.  The overall piece when finished is how I imagined it to be and I am happy with the result.

Wave shift...third piece in my series.

Wave shift…third piece in my series.

My fourth painting I decided to look at the stillness of the water and the patterns and tones if I limited the palette. I painted this picture on site and used watercolour pencils to complete it. The weather wasn’t fantastic and the rain was threatening to fall, so I did three quick sketches in my sketch pad to try different techniques using the watercolour pencils and how I would apply the water in the studio after I got home, as due to the oncoming threat of rain I thought it would be better to draw out the patterns in the pencil and then complete the painting elsewhere, there are a few raindrops on the final piece but I think it adds to the overall feel of what I was trying to show.

Sketch - applying water to individual colours on the painting

Sketch – applying water to individual colours on the painting

 

 

 

 

Sketch - applying the water loosly as ran drops

Sketch – applying the water loosely as ran drops

Sketch - applying the water as a wash across the page

Sketch – applying the water as a wash across the page

The initial trial I felt worked the best, applying the water carefully to each individual colour. When I trialed adding water loosely as drops although this was a good concept as I was dealing with water it was just too unpredictable and didn’t give me the finish I wanted.  The third trial of applying the water as a wash over the whole page didn’t work at all as the pencil markings lost all definition. After the paint/watercolour pencil had dried I used a piece of sand paper to scrub over the surface to add texture to the final piece. 

Fourth painting in the series....Blue calm.

Fourth painting in the series….Blue calm.

My fifth and final painting I decided to look back into my childhood and to memories that I had from that time and what the coast meant to me, I had a lot of illness as a child and so trips to the coast were a treat and a really happy fun time, one of my most distinct memories was singing in the car with my parents and my brother, we always used to sing ‘Bobby Shaftoe’ and sing it in the round, I decided to try to incorporate this memory somehow into a painting. 

Bobby's gone to sea! My final piece.

Bobby’s gone to sea! My final piece.

I decided to build a collage of words to represent the lyrics of the Nursery Rhyme, so I printed out the rhyme in various shades of blue and in various sizes, I tore the lyrics up and then applied them using PVA glue to a piece of watercolour paper, I applied the words randomly as I didn’t really want the viewer to be able to read the whole rhyme in situ. I them applied masking fluid to areas of the paper to represent the waves we used to play in along the shore, my brother and I used to love them to crash over our heads. Finally I applied washes of Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt blue and viridian green to the paper in sweeping washes. After removing the masking fluid you can just see the lyrics showing through the waves, which reminded me of our voices being carried away on the wind. This is a very different type of work for me and I enjoyed creating it, I’m not sure what the reaction to this piece will be, however I hope that it captures the voice of the sea and also the use of the Nursery rhyme lyric evokes memories of childhood for the viewer.

Now I have finished all my five paintings I am really happy with the overall outcome, I think my work shows progression and there are definitely areas and techniques that I will reuse and also I will develop more abstract work and collage work as this is an area that takes me away from the ‘traditional’ landscape view and gives me a different avenue for the future to try to express how I see landscapes/seascapes.  I have enjoyed compiling the five paintings and have worked hard to try out different techniques although still trying to maintain cohesion within my chosen theme.

Overall within completing this section of my degree course with the OCA I have found watercolours frustrating at times but I feel that I have conquered this and can now use the paints in a more abstract way to suit my style of working.

Tutor report number 4

Published April 1, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

Tutor Report Form

 

Student name: Annie Dickson
Student number: 486851
Course/Module title: Painting 1: Watercolour Practice
Assignment number: 4

 

Page 1 of 5

 

Overall Comments

Thank you for sending your work for the fourth assignment.  I am disappointed to learn that you are still having problems in tackling work in the landscape due to your lack of interest in this subject and I hope you will try to keep an open mind and continue to experiment to find possibilities to respond to these exercises.  The major area you should address in your painting is your understanding of the use of tone to create form and depth and I hope to see you develop this in the final assignment.

 

Feedback on assignment

In your initial studies to examine linear perspective, those that work best have something in the foreground, as seen in your study of The Grande Place. These have been more successful in creating a sense of space.  You did not enjoy the painting and this may be due to the lack of preparatory drawing.  It was a good idea to paint on location but drawing of several thumbnails to examine possibilities for the composition is essential.  ‘Painting a landscape has no joy for me’ is a strange comment as I have already emphasized that it is not necessary to paint a traditional ‘chocolate box’ view to work in the landscape.  Your motivation should not wane during these exercises, and rather than take the same approach repeated from your earlier painting and drawing courses, you should take the opportunity to look for a different challenge and move on in your work, looking at this in a different way.

 

In your painting, the eye is led into the view by the device of using the diminishing size of the poles, but unfortunately you have included more detail in the distant buildings than in the foreground, which misleads the eye.  Your strongest colours are also further away and the large area of foreground is very flat, which does not help to indicate depth.  Graduating tone and adding texture to the road would be one method of overcoming this problem.  In the next exercise, the photographs of work in your blog do not let me see your use of aerial perspective in an urban landscape clearly. 

 

Page 2 of 5

I agree that the tone of the water could have been darker, especially in the foreground to link this area to the Quayside.  Water is usually darker in tone than the sky, which it is reflecting.  In the exercise looking at the rural landscape, the tone should be seen to be much lighter in the distance and the more distant trees in your second painting are the same tone as the foreground shrub.  Your first attempt does not show graduation of tone from the front to the back of the view.  Look at ‘Beech Trunks’ by Leon Spilliaert to see how he has created a sense of depth in this way. 

 

Your use of crayon resist has been effective to suggest the flowers and weeds in the foreground, although you should make sure that colours are not used in isolation and can be picked up elsewhere amongst the areas of grey washes.  As you can see in your photograph of the wheat field, the camera is not a good reference for aerial perspective and sketchbook studies will be more informative.  I think you could have taken this painting further to create the texture of the foreground plants in contrast with the lack of detail in the distance.  What do you think?  You tried an experiment in the style of Roger Griffiths who used aerial perspective in his painting of ‘Radior Fields’.  In your painting, the darkest tone is furthest away and you should consider this again.  Half close your eyes and look at the photograph of the wheat field up to the tree line and you will see that the darkest tone is in the immediate foreground.  This allows the red of the poppies to really stand out against the dark complementary green and this is missing from your painting.

 

In the sky dominated landscape, I am delighted that you enjoyed working on a landscape exercise at last.  Your use of aerial perspective is more convincing in this painting, as the blue of the sky is paler in the distance.  It is unfortunate that your photograph of the still life with water is not clear enough for me to see that this is water.  Your use of the limited palette was a good idea and there is harmony in the colour of the painting.  You had some difficulty in working on location for the exercise in observing still and disturbed water and unfortunately reflections in water will change all the time in most weather conditions.  This means that you have to work quickly, as you did in the ripple study.  The painting of autumnal reflections is also a quick study, which works well to create reflections in still water.  The moving water of the waterfall can’t really be seen in the photograph, as it seems to be overwhelmed by the surrounding landscape.  Perhaps you could have ‘zoomed in’ for a closer view of the water?  I am glad that you enjoyed painting the sea and the technique you used for this painting is very successful in creating a feeling of energy and movement.

 

You carried out some good sketchbook work in your studies of the simplified shapes of trees and autumnal leaves on the ground is a good subject for landscape.  As I have already indicated, a broad view of landscape is not necessary for a successful painting, although you should still consider the use of colour and tone in a shallow space. 

Page 3 of 5

The absence of tone in your studies means that there isn’t a feeling of depth created by layers of leaves over the earth and the colours could have been much more vibrant .  What do you think?  This point about tone also applies to your study of rocks as it is difficult to see the organic form of the stone.   In his study of ‘Inger on the Beach’, Edvard Munch has been able to create depth and solidity and a sense of space.

 

In painting animals in the landscape, you were lucky to have the opportunity to sketch horses in a local field and I agree that the monochrome study is effective in showing a good range of tone.  It is important that you make these sketches, as they can be brought into your paintings rather than using photographs.  In your painting of the figure in the landscape, the tiny figure in the distance is successful in creating a narrative.  You say that the figure on the bicycle is not real – where did this come from?  You have done well to observe the contrasting textures of the path and foliage and your use of colour is strong, but unfortunately there is no use of tone to create depth in the view.  If the foreground was darker, the eye would be drawn more easily to the figure disappearing into the light in the distance.

 

In your first attempt at the painting for the final assignment, it is clear that you have worked from a photograph of a horse rather than from your sketches, as the horse and rider seem very stilted and stiff.   It seems odd that the horse has features but the figure does not and a suggestion of these rather than a flat blank shape for the face may have given more life to the figure.  If you must work from a photograph, I would suggest that you make a drawing of it and then put the photograph away and work from the drawing.  You have successfully created interest in the sky, although you say that you made up the sea and the sky and it is important that you collect sketches and studies which will help to inform your paintings.  The reserved shapes work well to suggest the waves, although these are quite hard edged flat shapes and the suggestion of spray may have created movement in the waves.  What do you think?  I agree that it was a good idea to make another attempt at the final painting to try a more vibrant and textural piece.  I am glad to see that you worked from your sketches of a dog rather than from photographs and this gives more life to the animal, especially in the small colour study which uses resists effectively to add texture to his coat.   I find the space a little confusing, as the trees are white against a darker sky behind, with a low horizon.  What time of day is this?  The white of the tree bark is the reserved shape of the white paper and although I appreciate that the bark of silver birch trees is very light, I would expect to see some indication of darker shadows on the trunk and branches to show the solidity of the tree.  The darkest areas of the painting are the dark patches on the dog’s face, with no areas of shadow on the trees or in the grass in the foreground. This painting is definitely more experimental in your use of paint and the final outcome is looser and more expressive.  I would encourage you to continue to work in this way to see what you can do with the paint.  You are heading in the right direction and I think you should focus on what you are trying to achieve in your painting.

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Sketchbooks

Although I have not seen your actual sketchbook, you have included enough photographs on your blog to let me see examples of your day to day observational sketchbook work.  Remember that you should also use the book as a resource to experiment with media and develop your ideas for paintings.

 

Learning logs/critical essays

Please make sure that the images you include in your blog can be used this way and explain where the images were found, e.g. the reproductions of the Lusieri paintings.  If your blog is public, you cannot include images from Bridgeman due to the terms of their copyright.  As you have been inspired by your research into the use of vibrant colours by John Mendoza and Roger Griffiths, I would like to see you experiment more in your own work to try to emulate these techniques, to see what you can achieve.  It was a good idea to contact the artists and you were lucky to receive such an informative response from Griffiths.  How do you plan to act on this in your next series of paintings?  If it is possible to attend an artist’s talk in connection with their exhibition, I think you would find this very helpful as there is an opportunity for questions and dialogue with the artist.   In your research into the work of Turner and Constable, you dismiss these artists as over rated and uninspiring for artists in the 21st century and it is important that you are able to back up such a statement with an academic explanation in your logbook.    

 

Suggested reading/viewing

For the final assignment you are encouraged to experiment with mixed media and to develop your own individual direction as a painter. I would again recommend that look in particular at artists who use a broad range of tone and expressive marks, to investigate how you can bring this into your paintings.  If you would like further advice on this, please let me know.

 

Pointers for the next assignment

For the final project for the next assignment, you are asked to develop a series of five pictures on a subject of your choice and it is important that you try out a number of different approaches.  Collect plenty of visual material to inform your paintings and if you need advise on how to move forward with this series, please send me an email.   I hope you will enjoy bringing all of your ideas together for the final work for your course and I will suggest a target date of 31st March for submission.  Please get in touch if you are likely to need more time. 

 

Tutor name: Jane Mitchell
Date 27th January 2013
Next assignment due 31st March 2013

 

Tutor Report Number 3

Published April 1, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

Tutor Report Form

 

Student name: Annie Dickson
Student number: 486851
Course/Module title: Painting 1: Watercolour Practice
Assignment number: 3

 

Page 1 of 5

 

Overall Comments

Thank you for sending your work for the third assignment.  We had already had some email correspondence prior to submission of these paintings, when you were not enjoying the work in this part of the course due to your lack of interest in the genre of landscape.  I reassured you then that there was no reason why you should feel restricted to working in a ‘traditional’ way and suggested that you think about a more expressive way to use the paint.  I referred you to the watercolour landscapes of Emil Nolde, Maggi Hambling and Leon Spilliaert to show other possibilities for an individual response to the landscape.   You admit that you get caught up in trying to make your work as ‘perfect’ as you can and then end up not enjoying it.  

 

Please also consider that traditional use of watercolour does not have to be restricted to a traditional landscape subject of a wide vista and you may like the work of Scottish artist, Angus McEwan, such as ‘3 Cobalt Blue Windows’, where he has shown a small landscape view outside the window in contrast to the cool dark interior.  You will find his website at www.angusmcewan.com and I think you will be inspired by his individual approach to selecting objects to paint within a landscape, often zooming in for a close up of an interesting composition of part of a door as seen in  ‘All That Left is no’.   It is important that you continue to enjoy your work to keep motivated and make progress, regarding each of the exercises as a challenge to explore different ways of working, rather than as a chore to plough through.  

 

Page 2 of 5

Feedback on assignment

It is unfortunate that you started on the first exercise with the expectation that this would be a difficult section for you, as you consider yourself to be a portrait painter.  It is essential that you keep an open mind in approaching each task to explore the possibilities open to you, as lessons you learn from the landscape exercises will inform your painting of other subjects.  In the first exercise, you say that you found the view uninspiring without saying why.  A simple, apparently mundane, scene was enough to allow George Shaw to be shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2011.  He was working in enamel paint rather than watercolour, but I would suggest that you look at his work and try to analyse what transforms work such as ‘The Resurface’ into work of such quality.  There should be no such thing as an uninspiring subject for an artist if you really look at it closely.

 

In your first painting from the window, I agree that the frame was a positive addition to the composition.  I would suggest that you go back to this scene in the same light conditions and look again at the tone of the window frame.  Spend some time really looking at this through half-closed eyes to simplify the areas of tone.  Although you know that the window frame inside is white, it will be much darker in tone than you expect.  You may find it helpful to take a photograph of the view from your window and then look at it in grayscale to see the tonal range, as in ‘View from the Queen’s Room, Sudbury Hall’ by an unnamed photographer on the Bridgeman website.

 

You say that you struggled to decide whether to paint the bushes in washes or to go into detail and I think you missed the opportunity to consider some of the effects you explored in the first assignment, where you were able to experiment with different ways of making marks with and in the paint.  This is also something you could have tried in the second painting outside in the garden, to provide areas of interest in the grass and in the foliage and bark of the tree.

 

You have started to think about this in your sketches from different viewpoints, such as adding salt to wet paint to capture the texture of the gravel on the path.  The much more loose studies of the brambles are heading in the right direction and your aim should be to try and bring all of these ideas together.  I am pleased to hear that your experience of this exercise was more positive and made you begin to change your view of landscape painting.  Although you found the monochrome study uninspiring, you have created a dramatic view using a wide range of tone and you should aim to achieve this tonal range in colour. 

 

 

Page 3 of 5

As you find it difficult to know where to start looking in a landscape, I would recommend that you use a viewfinder to help you select an interesting section of the landscape to develop your ideas for composition.  Use this as you would use a camera, to isolate an image and decide on your focal point.  The beach was a good choice for selecting a subject as your love of the sea has helped to inspire you.  The footsteps in the sand lead the eye into the painting and suggest someone’s presence without including them in the scene.  The limited palette of the final painting works well and you have created a good sense of movement in the water.

 

In the project looking at “Mixing Greens”, I am glad that you enjoyed working through the exercises to discover the huge range of greens you can mix from only a few colours.  This colour chart will be a useful reference in your future paintings and you were able to apply this knowledge in the third exercise to paint the glass bottles.  The photographs do not show a difference between the two methods of building up light and shade, but you have identified which is the best method for you to use in future.  Your studies of the sand dunes and the rocks are good, but I am not convinced about the use of 3D paste as a media to use with watercolour as it is rather heavy to combine with such a delicate and transparent paint.  I haven’t been able to identify which painting in your blog has been produced from a photograph and which has been painted on the spot, although I can see from your notes that you have clearly learned the advantages and disadvantages of both methods of working.  It was at this point that you asked for my advice on how strictly you have to adhere to the text in the course book and having seen your work, I agree that you seem to take the structure of the course by the letter and don’t paint what you would want to paint, leaving it difficult to put your own personality into the paintings.  In future, you should think about how you can respond to the exercises in your own way, without losing sight of the lessons it is hoped you will learn from them.

 

I am glad that you were inspired by Emil Nolde’s use of colour in his landscapes and felt that this opened new avenues in your approach to painting outdoors.  The line drawing and colour study you made at sunset on the beach is a much more personal response to the scene and you discovered that it is not necessary to over complicate the view with detail in order to create a satisfactory illusion of distance.  I particularly like your four studies to experiment with different media and methods, which helped you to gain confidence in how to use colour and tone, especially in the sky.   In your first experiment allowing the paint to run over masking fluid, I agree that this produced some interesting shapes which I initially saw as a line of trees on the other side of a pond, rather than clouds.  You said in earlier notes that you feel restricted in trying to paint the detail of trees, but this experiment proves how you might use this method to create a basis for the form and shape of trees without the need for detail. Masking fluid does have disadvantages as you discovered, and I can understand why the second experiment omitted this.  You weren’t happy with this painting as the paint dried as a much lighter colour, but you will gain experience in how you can mix colours to achieve the required saturation. 

 

Page 4 of 5

It was a good decision to try and bring a more controlled method of working in washes, together with the application of masking fluid, for the final painting and I agree that this worked well.  The only part of the final piece you are not so happy about is the sandy beach in the foreground and I think that the problem is in the tone of this area.  Look back at your photographs to remind yourself that the beach was as dark as the hills in the distance, which is why the sunset in the sky, reflected in the water, was such a vibrant image.   There are bright colours in the foreground of Nolde’s painting of ‘Landscape with Mountains and Clouds’, but if you half close your eyes you will see that this is a much darker tone than the sky, which allows the sunset to glow and draw the viewer’s eye.  Always think about where you would like the focal point of your painting to be and stand back from it as you are working to make sure that this is remains clear.

 

I am delighted to hear that you are happy with the final results of all of these paintings and that you have turned the corner in your response to working in the landscape.  I hope you will continue to try this technique again and be prepared to experiment to look for solutions to problems, rather than think as you would when working in oil paint.   

 

Sketchbooks

You sent a few photographs to let me see examples of your day to day observational sketchbook work and you should continue to work in this way, as well as using the sketchbook to experiment with media and develop your ideas for paintings.

 

Learning logs/critical essays

I had some difficulty in finding the relevant information in your blog quickly, especially as it reads chronologically from the bottom upwards, and I spent a lot of time searching for your notes.  It would be helpful if you could let me have a ‘contents’ list with future assignments, to let me know precisely where to look for the exercise work and relevant notes, e.g. I haven’t been able to find the exercise in painting greens outside in either ‘Watercolour Practice – Part 3 Painting Outside’, with your other exercise work on mixing greens in ‘May 2012’ or in ‘Sketchbook’.  Your logbook research is good and this shows a thoughtful personal response to the artists you have looked at and the exhibitions you visited, such as the refurbished Scottish Portrait Gallery and the contemporary work of Andrea Zittell at the Baltic.  It can be difficult to find examples of contemporary work in watercolour but keep looking and you should also continue to look at art other than the media of watercolour. 

 

Suggested reading/viewing

For the next assignment you will continue to work in the landscape, both urban and rural, and I would recommend that you look at the work of the artists mentioned in the course book before you begin, especially at the skies of John Constable and J.M.W. Turner alongside your continued research into the work of Nolde. 

Page 4 of 5

Look in particular at artists who use a broad range of tone and expressive marks, to investigate how you can bring this into your paintings.

 

Pointers for the next assignment

For the final piece for the next assignment, you have the option of choosing to create a lively and spontaneous painting rather than a detailed image and if you would like further advice on the ideas you have, please let me know. I hope you continue to enjoy your work through the course and I will suggest a target date of 31st October for Assignment 4, but please get in touch if you are likely to need more time. 

 

Tutor name: Jane Mitchell
Date 30th July 2012
Next assignment due 31st October 2012

 

Part 5:Widening your options Project 3: Towards Abstraction Exercise:Free Expression

Published March 7, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

degree work march 2013 2 062 degree work march 2013 2 063

Sketches for free expression exercise

Sketches for free expression exercise

Although this exercise was called ‘free expression’ I did quickly jot down some thumbnail sketches when an idea popped into my head as I didn’t want the paintings to become contrived, I wanted the first images I saw to be the final painting as I thought this would keep the paintings more fresh and not overworked.

The first title I chose and thought about was taken from the list in the course, ‘Peace’, the first image that came to mind was of a bright light being focused and channeled down to me, the colours were bright yellow and the image almost had a tunnel effect. I used a wax white crayon to draw the image that I was seeing in my mind so that when I applied the first pale wash of Lemon Yellow I had resist marks across the paper.  I then progressed by using washes of the same tone to built up sections of the ‘tunnel’ shape.  I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve from the start of choosing the title and I am happy with the result, I feel the use of the one colour/tone gives a very calm peaceful feel to the painting.  I am not sure were the idea came from or if I have been influenced by anything to produce this piece I just followed my instincts and painted what I saw in my mind.

Free expression - 'Peace'

Free expression – ‘Peace’

My second free expression painting depicts the title ‘Depression’. I have suffered from depression very badly in the past and the painting represents how it made me feel. When I was suffering I felt like I was trapped and the thoughts in my head just weren’t making sense they were almost ‘cloudy and grey’, this is represented by the traingles, they are covering my eyes, ears and my mouth partially as I felt like I was screaming but nothing was coming out, almost like I was unheared but I didn’t know how to express myself.  The bright colours in the background depict the difference of the world around me at that time, the world carried on and was full of vibrant colours, challenges and voices but I couldn’t reach the colours because I was trapped inside ‘my cell’ of despair.  It was quite emotional yet catharic painting this piece as I tried not to over think the painting and painted how I felt rather than thinking about the composition.  Now I have completed it I recognise the feelings I had at that time and if anyone asked me  at that time how I felt I used to tell them ‘like the scream’, in reference to Edvard Munch’s painting, which I have used as reference when painting my head.  I used charcoal, graphite and watercolour paints for this piece.

Free expression - 'Depression'

Free expression – ‘Depression’

The final painting in this exercise I have entitled ‘ Lost Faith’, this is something that I am struggling with today and have been over the last few years. Although I have ‘Faith’, I have been very close to losing it and I have also found myself raising a lot of questions over the years about my beliefs, especially in todays climate of ‘religous wars’.  I find the contradictions and hollowness of the church and my faith quite difficult. My painting shows a styalised reglious symbol of Jesus on the cross, the purple colour of the cross symbolises Advent, the blue figure behind the cross symbolises the Resurrection and the words that are written around the figure are ones that I would like to associate with my Faith, however I have left the figure hollow of words as this represents how unattended churches have become and people are starting to loose their faith due to snobbery and prejudice within the church itself, I also wanted the controlled use of ink for the words to show how controlling religion can be.  I wanted the piece to be quite stark and I decided to leave the ground white, the ‘runs’ of red and black down the painting not only represent the blood of Christ, but also the bloodshed that has been caused by different faiths clashing over the years, this is one of the reasons I find it quite difficult to commit fully to  my faith at the moment and I am exploring other Faiths and moving away from my traditional Christian upbringing.

This was a very personal picture for me to paint and I was torn wether to actually commit it to paper, I am now glad I did as I painted how I felt and that has given me further clarity on how I feel about my Faith. I used pen and ink and watercolour paints for this painting.

Free expression - 'Lost Faith'

Free expression – ‘Lost Faith’

Free expression - Lost faith

This was a really interesting exercise and I will take the experience with me further onto my final paintings for this course as I will try and paint using free expression in preparing for the series of paintings.

Part 5: Widening your options Project 3: Towards abstraction Exercise: Magnification

Published March 3, 2013 by anniedicksonanartistsview

I decied for thsi exercise to continue using the images I had taken when in Ghent at Werregaren Street (Graffiti Street) as I felt that if I used a view finder I could produce some quite interesting images/compositions.

The original image that I used for the magnification exercise.

The original image that I used for the magnification exercise.

The section of the image magnified

The section of the image magnified

I magnified the image up by 200% on my software package and printed out the new view of the image onto a separate sheet, I then used a view finder to refine my view. The first painting I completed used colours that can be seen in the original image, I used a damp sponge to pull the paint across the image as the aerosols used by urban artists don’t always leave a crisp line and in the magnified view I was painting there were a couple of areas where the paint had been pulled. I also chnaged a couple of the areas as I though the black ‘looped’ spray would look better on top of the pink at the top of the painting.

The selected image using a paper view finder

The selected image using a paper view finder

The finished painting

The finished painting

The second painting I completed in this exercise was one that I chose to use a monochrome palatte, I don’t feel that this was as successful as the first painting and I think the painting would of looked better in full local colour, as it’s the vibrancy of the aerosol paints that gives the graffiti life.  I am glad I tried this option as it amazed me as to how different the pattern looked in monochrome.

 

Original image seen through the paper view finder for monochrome study

Original image seen through the paper view finder for monochrome study

Monochrome study

Monochrome study

The third piece I painted I chose to use one colour again but this time phthalo blue as I wanted to see if the graffiti would look totally different again as it had with the monochrome study. I was really pleased with the results, I decided to paint the negative space with the phthalo blue and leave the positive space white.  I think the shapes have an almost Celtic feel, I really like the finished composition and I like that even though I have used a cool colour the overall composition looks warm due to the positive shapes. I am really happy with the results and would use this technique again when producing an abstract composition. It was really interesting to see how a colour could change the whole feel of an abstract painting, I will certainly have this in mind when I complete the exercise on music/rythm as I think that the colour plays an important part in your emotions.

 

 

The original image

The original image

Abstract composition using magnified image, cool colour painted into the nagative spaces.

Abstract composition using magnified image, cool colour painted into the nagative spaces.