Before I work further on assignment 4 I have realised that I have not reflected or commentated on my feedback from my tutor for assignments 1 and 2 and do so in combination with assignment 3 for which I have received feedback just in the last week or so.
This first assignment feedback was purely on paper and with my original tutor and demonstrated that I had made a strong start and that I had learnt valuable lessons in setting up my blog so that it was clear and professional – for me both points were desperately important having completely my first two courses.
My tutor had noted that I was prepared to re-work pieces which I have not been happy with and this is a new ‘revelation’ or progression for me – in the past I have left the work and moved on without re-working or exploring new concepts and ideas that could improve the piece. It has also been noted that I am starting to try and push myself further with exercises and also am willing to loosen up my use of my media and this has continued with the following two assignments – I am finding a looser style of sketching is working for me as I feel it is more expressive physically and emotionally. However despite enjoying working with pens and sharpies my tutor felt they were quite restrictive which I do understand – I think the restrictions the media caused does have its uses though in terms of the fact that the marks laid down cannot be erased or covered over so forces me to really consider how I chose to approach the subject.
One particular exercise was noted for its sensitivity and excitement – that of my recollection of my late neighbour and the old shed that is such a vital part of my garden. I have started to really be able to tell the story behind the piece without the use of words and also am experimenting with different materials to print with … I am starting to be able to feel that I can express myself without any inhibitions and that has been felt in one of my stitched samples.
Going forward I have been advised to make my photographs larger and clearer on my blog so that they can be seen and have now altered my blogs accordingly. There are also artists who have been suggested to look at researching including Suzie Freeman and Jennifer Collier – I have made a note of these with regards to my work at assignment 4 and 5 due to their work with recycling and crossing boundaries.
The summary of the feedback includes a point to include the bulk of my research from contemporary and emerging artists – this aspect I am finding really exciting because I do understand that these are the people of my generation whose work will influence my own. However I am still very much interested with the artists of the past – the work of Paul Klee or Wassily Kandinsky really intrigues me through the use of colour and line as does the work of the Impressionists … again for the use of colour. I feel now as I reflect back on this assignment that it is time I set up a separate blog for self-study with regards to art history in order to satisfy my passion that my previous course ignited and also so that I can almost dissect what appeals to me or may be an influence on my own work from a particular work of art from any period – by doing this I can concentrate with no distractions on the contemporary and emerging artists in my course work whilst having the influence of the past also coming through which is ultimately where I want my own practice to go.
My tutor is encouraging the use of more expressive language to describe what I see whether in works of art or just as I sketch or photograph a particular scene – this will take a little time to get used to having spent two years training myself to use academic terms for the art history course! However I like the fact that I can be more expressive and if something makes me go ‘wow’ then I can state it whether it is in regards to flower or colour or just the use of line or texture.
I did not apply the use of larger images to my blog so this has now been corrected for assignment 3 and I have subsequently gone back and correct this for assignment 1 and 2.
I note that I do need to slow down in order to sensitively treat the materials and techniques as pointed out by my tutor – sometimes I just want to get an exercise finished and I am aware I loose sight of being sensitive to either my fabrics, yarns or media so perhaps my mantra should be ‘slow down and smell the roses’ as a reminder not to rush but to really take my time.
The final point in the feedback I clearly remember discussing with my tutor – thinking about placement and composition of my sketches. I have a habit of using either a central or linear composition and filling my page evenly and my tutor has suggested starting say from a corner or different place on the page such as in the doodles relating to music – the exercises do not need to have the linear appearance that was my result but could be say circular or freely over the page going in different directions and with different pressures of the pen or brush applied. I also need to consider space – reading general art articles since this feedback has reminded me the negative space in a piece of art can be just as important as the painted or drawn areas as it is that blank area or muted area that can really make the image pop. As I reflect now upon this particular feedback I feel it is something that I can start to apply to my general sketchbook work as well as my responses to future exercises – I need to think about the media I am using and how I can mark expressively to create the impression of either the object or scene or just the musical exercise and how I can use the space on the paper or my placement to create a piece of work that is pleasing aesthetically.
I decided to revisit Exercise 2.5 and do 3 new drawings whilst listening to music and allowing myself the freedom of using multiple or singular colours in different media.
The first drawing was done to an excerpt of The Great Fugue, Opus 133 by Ludwig Beethoven. I used coloured crayons with a series of primarily straight marks differing in length and how swiftly they were executed – the marks corresponded to the scores of the violins and other string instruments. I wanted to use different colours which overlaid each other to also represent both the different layers of the music and also the aforementioned different string instruments. The composition was also worked from 3 differing directions or heights which also represented the various layers of the piece but also the differences in intensity from the soft low notes to the louder stronger notes or the deep low tones of the double base ranging through to the more shrill heights of the violin. I am not entirely happy with the drawing and feel I could have created a more defined and refined piece by using a wider variety of marks with some separation with only marginal overlaid areas – by pulling back and working with a less is more approach the composition would be more refined but at the same time this piece is quite complex and dynamic which I do feel the drawing demonstrates.
The second drawing was worked to an except from a Gala Concert in honour of John Williams – I did not catch the exact name of this particular piece of music.
I used a similar technique to the first drawing but tried to keep some separation of the colours – the layering is not as intense and although the marks give an impression of the dynamics of the music or the various sections of the orchestra I feel there is a more refined feel to this piece. I worked from different directions with the Sharpie pens in order to create something that is full of energy and also depth – the layers again represent the orchestral instruments, tones and intensity but also the atmosphere or emotion I felt when listening to this particular piece of music.
The third piece of music was sung by Andrea Bocelli and is a personal favourite – Maria from West Side Story. I decided to use a dark charcoal pencil for this drawing representing some of the dark narrative aspects of the musical whilst the circular marks, which started from the top left, indicate the musical phrases with variations in tone used to represent the different tones and intensity of Andrea Bocelli’s voice. The composition and overall feeling of this drawing is very much how I perceive and heard the song. I did not have my hearing aids in for any of the pieces of music I worked from as I revisited this exercise and perhaps I can the effect more in this drawing as I feel now there is not the variation in tones of the charcoal that I feel I would have done if I had used my aids – my hearing loss is such I am missing frequencies and so do not hear many of the nuances of musical pieces and this is reflected in this drawing.
The final drawing I feel is the least successful – this was worked to Andrea Bocelli singing Moon River (I was listening to a concert on TV). I wanted to work this piece as a continuous line drawing using a soft blue pencil. The softly looping or sensuous lines and circles overlay each other due to the restraints imposed by the A3 size of paper and I feel now that I would have liked to have had both the size and space to work on a much larger drawing that would have enabled me to use my whole arm or even body to create more separated but still soft and sensuously lilting shapes and lines. I realise that to work on this size paper I should have adjusted the scale of my lines accordingly and this would have avoided the consistent overlaying that creates a chaotic and muddled impression rather than the harmonious and romantic emotional feeling that the song dictates.
Overall I am really happy I have revisited the exercise – I am still not entirely happy with my compositions and they could do with more work and refinement but I do understand now what my tutor said in her feedback.
My tutor has suggested a book to read by Myra Kane which is on order and also some websites and YouTube videos which I am both researching and watching.
This is the assignment which I have fully admitted that I was not entirely happy about and felt I struggled with but my tutor felt, much to my surprise, that there were a good number of samples that were adventurous and investigative.
As I had noted there were areas in which I had not read the course material sufficiently and had therefore misunderstood the instructions. This included the use of colour chips for the colour palette for the photographs of my garden and I am in the process of rectifying this in my sketchbook.
I have also had to re-think my theme boards in order to come up with two distinctive themes – at the point of writing this has been done and I will be adding these to my blog. I have included roughly 10 photographs for each board with a selection of yarn and fabric samples and on one board a small textile sample – this sample created a further idea which was developed further as I also added a further 5 samples based on either of my selected themes. For further theme boards I now understand and will intentionally add from the start textile samples as an integral vital part of the board – this still felt more of an afterthought even with the re-working of the boards in the early part of this past week but now I feel that these textile samples should have more importance in future work as I now understand how they can significantly tell the story of the theme I am narrating through the board.
An important note was my tutors point on my reflections on how exercises and samples or work has turned out as opposed to just whether I enjoyed the process or the result – yes I enjoy it but I need to consider the qualities of the pieces such as the textural aspects or how the colours have developed as examples. I also need to look further at the work of my contemporaries and as noted in particular those with similar themes to me – the one that comes to mind is the work of Martina Celerin whose woven pieces often reflect garden or outdoor themes.
There are suggestions for the websites of universities where I can find the work of fellow textile students and graduates and my tutor has suggested researching the final degree shows.
Overall this assignment has not been the disaster in truth I expected and my feedback has really given me a boost of confidence that I felt was needed. In the past week or so I have felt my work has begun to free up further and I have started to enjoy an experimental process in a way that I have not before – it is helped by the fact I am doing some very conventional or traditional projects of my own (I have started to love crocheting shawls or working on a crazy quilt) that is meaning that in my studies I feel free to go off tangent and explore and play with the qualities of fabric and thread in unconventional and experimental ways.