Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tutor Report on Assignment 5

My (new) tutor writes:

Feedback on assignment

Section 9 Expressionism

3 Colour studies

You have interpreted the toy very inventively in study 1; The paint use is expressive giving the toy a particular presence. Whilst it is recognisable as a toy it does have a perceivable threat to it, and undercurrent of menace if you like which does become the subject matter of the painting. The colour choices are effective as is the characterization of the subject. Painting directly helps to carry this study and gives it a certain potency.

Study 2 on the dark ground has quite a different feel to it. Due to its scale the toy becomes vulnerable set in a much wider scenario. You have used the dark ground intelligently to set the atmosphere of the painting; the animation of the toy with its slightly hunched feel is effective also.

It is good to compare these 2 studies as they demonstrate how the same subject can have different content determined by paint use composition and atmosphere.

The third study is the most complete painting of the 3. It is very well executed with some inventive use of paint which activates the whole
canvas. The image has character again but this time revealed through some real understanding and use of the medium. There is scope for some further development combining open paint use with a distinct narrative.

Project 1 Associations Larger painting

This painting does not have the presence or intent that the 3 studies have. Your paint handling is very safe and indeed timid in comparison to the 3 smaller works.
By the way that you use the medium you set up the way that the viewer looks at the work; I look for conventional relationships between the objects and how they are interpreted and the painting lets me down in regards to these aspects as I explore the piece in depth.

You have not really exploited the very expressive use of paint coupled with idea that you showed with the 3 studies. You have tried to make a picture here to the detriment of expression and intent. The fact that you have signed this painting confirms this!


In contrast this painting is full of intent and very powerful associations. You have controlled the colour combinations well and utilized the odd composition to good effect. This being is believable even though it is made up of thought and imagination. The use of impasto in the ground colour is wonderful and really adds to the atmosphere of the painting as does the treatment of the figure. Have a look at Kirchner and how he uses the primitive in his figures. You have explored your subject well here and have exposed some of your inner thoughts which adds to the success. The painting has an odd composition in terms of the positioning of the figure but this adds to the content.

The drawing on the blog looks equally successful both in its effective use of the medium and in its expression.

Section 10 - Painting Outdoors

A garden or park/ a landscape/ townscape/ waterscape

You are a little dismissive of some of your efforts for this section on the blog, particularly when talking about the parkscape. Although this painting does not quite come together as a whole there are some nicely observed parts to it, particularly the building in blues to the right the steps and wall and the flower bed in the mid ground. This painting is not finished; you gave up on it as you honestly say in your log. One more session should do it; look to your greens in terms of tone, especially as they recede and look to the wall on the left and how this relates to the overall. This painting has a fresh open feel to it. Look at the work of Peter Doig.
The landscape is beautiful; fresh and open, well considered and well executed. The approach that you used here is ready for an increase in scale despite what you say on the blog. This painting recedes really successfully and it has a really believable ‘plein aire’ atmosphere to it.
The other works on the blog made on what looks like the same scale look successful also for the same reasons. Look at Ivon Hitchens work to see how he uses the landscape for expressive, abstracted paintings.

The waterscape by comparison is over fussy in places and generalized in others which does not make for a successful whole. This is not really a waterscape as you have made the water the most insignificant part of the painting. The treatment of the water is very tentative indeed, as though you have not understood how you can use paint more expressively as in the previous section. Have a look at how Manet paints water and Monet also to help you here.

You have painted a picture here again as opposed to exploring your subject through the paint. If you explore your subjects through inventive use of the medium the finished painting often looks after itself.

The townscape has a certain charm to it, if a little naïve in places. This said the treatment of the houses on the left and the cars is very inventively interpreted indeed. The foliage is a little generalized and too much ‘straight out of the tube’ in terms of the use of the greens; however it is an acceptable little version without the expression that some of your landscape work has.

Learning logs/critical essays

You learning log/blog looks fine, full of information and research. It is well presented and thorough. My only comment would be that you make too many excuses when things do not go right or to plan for example in how you talk about working outside in places. Negative decision making will always hold your work back.

Suggested reading/viewing

Look at all those artists that I have suggested and include in your log just to complete it.

Overall Comments

Overall this was a reasonable last assignment containing some good work but also some that does not reach the bench mark that you set yourself with your successes. You are a little inconsistent but that is fine for this stage.
Looking through the log in my opinion you have enough work to put in an effective submission for assessment if you choose to do so. Be selective, re reading your reports and picking out your more successful work to put forward.

Bearing this in mind I would advise going with the new criteria i.e. 12 to 15 paintings, ten studies/drawings, 3 to 6 sketch books and your learning log/blog. These criteria should accommodate your selection. 

I really appreciate this feedback. Jim seems to pick up on things I hadn't even considered as well as sore spots that I new about.
I didn't think I was being negative in my blog. I thought it would be good to point out what went wrong and think about why, but maybe it comes across as whining and excusing :oD
I think he is being too kind about my garden painting, but am relieved that he liked the landscape, because I am rather proud of that one.
He is also right about me being inconsistent. I have heard it before and have taken it as great criticism before and a knock down, but I see it slightly differently now.
As he says, for this stage it is fine to be inconsistent. The course is after all constantly encouraging us to try new things. I like throwing myself at new things and I do it whole heartedly. So much so that I forget earlier lessons in my enthusiasm.
Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I learn what doesn't work. It is all part of the process.
As I gain more experience in painting in future years, I am hopeful that the success rate will increase but that I won't stop experimenting with new things. Keeps it interesting.

Still in two minds about the assessment. At the moments I am not interested in doing a whole degree, but if I want it later it might be a good idea to get the work approved now...

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