Assignment Two Feedback and response

Action plan:

  • I need to look at my technique to ‘draw with the brush’ as I unsure quite how to facilitate this and how to work across the painting, rather than blocking in each area as I have been doing. I will look for examples of artists doing this on video. I will use this technique in my sketchbook to practice. I need to set aims of my own and also to be more adventurous, using a viewfinder or looking for different angles and views and to think more about what works, or doesn’t work well.
  • I will look more at how to apply my research to my own work.
  • I will repeat some of the exercises when I can, indeed I have already done so since my return from the UK.
  • I agree there was an element of me rushing on the assignment, but I had set a goal of finishing before Christmas. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about deadlines.
  • I will look at Bonnard’s compositions and write this up and also watch Luc Tuyman’s interview and reflect on this.
  • I have ordered the Michael Petry book, which I had not done before as it is not cheap…it is on its way now. The Artist’s Handbook I have already and have been using for reference, but will write a post about this.
  • I will post the missing ‘broken and tertiary exercise’.
  • I believe I am on the painting degree pathway rather than the fine art one. 


I have found the feedback extremely helpful, encouraging and informative and it has given me a clear action plan.

Overall Comments
Thank you for editing and organising your portfolio, in addition to your blog content. I will comment upon specific aspects of the assignment under the headings.
There are recommendations for you to act on under the Pointers / Research .
Some recommendations from assignment 1, appear not to have been actioned; these I have indicated with **. Please post these to your blog when you have completed them.
When you take the time to consider, plan and reflect on your learning you achieve more confident outcomes. I suggest that this considered approach also facilitates a shift out your comfort zone. I recommend that you evaluate and factor in sufficient time to practice this, at the assignment stage. It feels as though the assignment is a little rushed, in contrast to some of the projects.
Your quality of drawing is currently stronger than your painting abilities, it would seem helpful for you to try and draw with your brushes (rather than filling-in each object or part of the picture). To approach the painting as you do drawing, by working across the page / canvas.
Your research has broadened a little since assignment one, do continue developing this as you work through the exercises and through to the assignment. Now begin to analyse and comment upon how and in what way to apply your research, purposefully to your work. This will require you setting aims of your own.
Assignment 2 Assessment potential
“I understand your aim is to go for the BA (Hons) Fine Art 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, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.”
assessment (see Conditions of Enrolment, Section 2 a). Contact the OCA Course Advisors to discuss this further.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Your prep stage helped you choose and select objects, colour, lighting and media.
In the assignment you limited your options for composition by staying with familiar
arrangements and format. I’d like to see you expand on this in future work. For example use a viewfinder, shift your position in relation to the subject (other than eye-level), try portrait rather than landscape format, crop-into the subject and shift the objects / subject around. Look at and apply Bonnard’s compositions (and use of colour) i.e: Before dinner, The bath and The terrace at Vernon. (see Pointers )
You have purposefully selected colour in terms of complementaries i.e: green / red in the case of the assignment. There is a relation here to your aim for a ‘calm and still mood’. This was a useful yet simple aim to achieve.
In addition to following the assignment task; set more aims for yourself; for example in relation to the mood or emotional / psychological tone, meaning or message- consider what you’re trying to convey to the viewer. (see Pointers ).
In future consider some further aims, that might be a little more challenging in relation to the context / content of your work Ask yourself , what are you wanting to convey or get across in the painting? I think Tuymans touches on this in the interview. (see Research / Pointers )
You have shown basic competency in your chosen media. There is evidence of you selecting the colour (and tone) in order to suggest ‘mood’ and create flow across the works.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
There is evidence of an effective use of cropping (Billie Holliday) to explore a more interesting composition: scarf, corsage, record, than previous versions.
Some evidence (on blog) to suggest a testing of compositional options and shifting of objects (de-cluttering of corridor). Therefore making decisions to manipulate the interior in order to plan a more simple, effective drawing.
The drawing stage is useful to explore and plan where you want tonal values across the painting and how to convey form. For example once you’d drawn the handkerchief you recognised, how to paint it. The act of drawing can be an observational, thinking and problem solving process. Take time to explore these possibilities at the assignment stage.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Good use of Harvard referencing throughout- continue the good practice.
You have made brief references to some 20th century artists, whose work you hope to learn from and apply to your work. In brief you mention: O’Keefe and Schiele. (see below)
Analyse more what elements / qualities you wish to apply from your research. Then follow this up by considering how and in what ways you can do this? Ask what the purpose of this is i.e: what are you wanting to convey / get across? Then reflect on how successful you have been (and areas for further development or re-painting ). (see Pointers )
Your primary research regarding the lecture, could help you to start analysing your own work, in a methodical and focused manner. Why not work through the handbook and ask questions of yourself (as well as the research you undertake).
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
You’re using the learning log as a site to record most of the exercises, projects and assignment. There appear to be some gaps in the exercises and research points i.e: colour theory and mixing of tertiary colour. Do post these to your blog.
Satisfactory documentation of the research you undertake. It will benefit your learning if you consistently reflect and analyse ‘how’ you might ‘apply’ research to your own painting / drawing practice. (see Pointers )
The blog is a reflective and research space- perhaps less about what you ‘did’ and more about how this works or doesn’t work. If you approach this in a balanced way to bring out your learning and set aims as to what / how you can develop strengths and qualities, plus how you can lessen weaknesses. You have some brief comments on what you’ve learned, follow these up with how you can apply this in future work.
Suggested reading/viewing
Follow up these suggestions ** from Assignment 1 and post critical analysis to your blog:
Research contemporary C21st artists such as:
** Michael Petry ‘Nature Morte Contemporary artists reinvigorate the Still Life ..’
Thames & Hudson 2013
** The Artist’s Handbook
Luc Tuymans Look at both his drawings and paintings.
Pierre Bonnard
Pointers for the next assignment
● Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.
● Introduce more of your own aims to the assignment work- then you will begin to
explore and develop your own voice.
● ** Use your sketchbook on a daily basis, if possible. More drawing (with a brush) willsupport your painting development. Make a minimum of 6 prep studies at no larger than A5: these studies may be for composition, tonal or colour references.
● ** You will learn and develop more from the course if you can allocate more time to practice and repeat the exercises and tasks ( the building blocks for the assignment) – be more ambitious in terms of going beyond the tasks / exercises set. (as these are the minimum requirements).
● ** Ask more questions when researching and analysing the work of others’ (as well as your own work). In your own words describe, analyse and critically reflect on the media, aesthetics, form and content of the works. How do they relate to your ideas and practice? Record all on your blog- then make some aims for your development.
● ** Extend your research to include some contemporary artists (C21st)- follow-up on
suggestions from Assignment 1. Ask yourself how your artist’s research relates back to and underpins your drawing / painting: process / content? Begin to place your own work within a contemporary context: related to the ideas, process and aesthetics of artists you’re researching.
Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment. Written or video/audio
Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.


Assignment 2: Still life- Mask with Red Apple

With lots of ideas running through my head and my time running out, I remembered having been inspired at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition in London by the beautiful simplicity of her ‘Mask with Golden Apple’, and had thought how this might inform my own work.



I have a wooden mask from Bali and have just returned from the market with a couple of shiny red apples. Have just spent some time arranging possible positions and backgrounds  on my desk upstairs and I think I have decided on a soft green silk scarf, that belonged to my grandmother and just the one apple beside the mask. The apples are quite large and as the mask is flat to the surface it does not quite work the same way as O’Keeffe’s arrangement.


I would want the mood of my painting to be very still and calm, with good contrasts from the natural light through the window,  painting the background in a soft and fluid way, with the mask and apples taking stronger brushwork.  I like the mystery of why the apple with the mask? I think the pattern on the scarf will add background interest and the green is a good complementary colour. The light from the window is very good today as the sun is out but I may have to set up a light if working at another time. I am doing some sketches and working out how best to describe it.20161215_155122

The pattern on the scarf might be a tricky…

Today, having done a few more quick sketches and a fast water colour, to my surprise I think the original arrangement, with the apple in front in the centre, is the most pleasing and well balanced composition




Colours to use: colours

I laid down a pale yellow wash as a ground and when that had dried I made a start, using a pale wash to lightly mark out the objects. I am having a break now and may continue later or

I have started painting the silk background and I am thinking that the pattern is not going to work. It is just too complicated.  I had tried it on a smaller scale but I think I am going to have to have it as a plain green background, with some fabric folds. I am having a break to re think. This is bad because it means I had not thought it through properly. I am not pleased with myself at this moment. My focus had been on the mask and the apple and the positioning of said objects. I am, however, pleased with the mask and the way the red apple jumps out in contrast. I will leave it today and go back fresh tomorrow.

Next day. I even had a dream about this painting last night! Stressed?! Moi?! So, I am going to leave out the pattern on the scarf. I also had an idea of letting some of the underneath table edge show but having quickly tried on a smaller scale decided this unbalanced the painting.


So I will just work to describe the material folds and shaded areas, highlights and tones. This is more in keeping with the simplicity of O’Keeffe’s work.


I am not unhappy with the outcome, although I recognise and have learned from not thinking the background through properly. My husband had a very positive reaction when he saw my work, which is encouraging 🙂