Drawing one – part 5 – personal project and written element – evaluation- assessment of my work

I really cannot believe that I am almost at the end of drawing one. It has for me been an amazing and inspirational experience and I have learnt a lot as I have progressed though the exercises and assignments.

this is my personal assessment of my work:

part one and assignment one – part one is about mark making , using different drawing techniques to capture tone , Light and shadows. I found the very beginning of the course a real challenge and I can see now looking back that I Did not completely engage with some aspects of the course. I had never up to this point formerly studied  drawing in this way including using simple marks such as hatching. I feel this lack of technical skills  shows  in my early drawings as they lack depth, confidence , creavitity and emotions. I struggled with understanding what I was supposed to achieve with the exercises and how far to go with each one , I also feel that I was too focused on producing a perfect drawing instead of treating them as a learning process. Looking at the work I feel I didn’t develope the themes fully enough and didn’t relax. I did enjoy looking at mark making to express emotions as they allowed me to be free and creative .  I really enjoyed  looking at whether art can be emotive. This really resonated with me as I do want to express and convey feeling into my art .I found myself  now when looking at art that I attempt to record my emotional responses to what I am looking at. I did use charcoal and textured paper and feel that the drawing  I produced of a shiny bowl is probably the best of the drawings that I produced at this stage of the course and I feel that this drawing is a good start with the medium. My cross hatching drawings in my sketchbook I really do not like I was exploring hatching but my efforts are too heavy handed. I needed to focus more  and take more care, and try not to rush my drawings. My final assignment for unit one  does not work  – it looks awkward and the angles look clumsy. I should have spend more time planning the drawing , I also feel the composition is too complicated which makes the drawing look confusing. I Should have spend more time experimenting  with the composition and I should have  taken more time looking at my subject and evaluating my drawing as I worked on it. My tutor suggested in his formal assessment report that  I Should ensure that I take regular breaks from drawing and that i  Should regularly  stand back to look at my work – i have been doing this and it has helped me enormously. Overall looking at D1 part one I can clearly see that my technical skills were poor – I have since worked hard to try and resolve my drawing weaknesses. I feel for the final piece I should have used my sketchbook more to plan. It is also clear that I need to do more observational drawings. I struggled at first with setting up my blog learning log and did not realise until I had written my first entries that an OCA student had devised a template for WordPress – I didn’t use the template as it would mean that I would have to  start again and I didn’t want to lose the work  I had already uploaded . I started the course unsure about approaching a critical essay but I feel I have made some progress on this.

My tutor  Doug Burton at formal assessment gave me some useful advice including using charcoal and a putty rubber to develope atmosphere in tonal drawings. He also said that I could consider pausing the course to do the drawing foundation course to develope technical skills – but  I decided to carry on with the course.


D1 – part two and assignment 2 – this explores observational interpretation of the environment indoors. On the whole I found unit 2 very  daunting as it was very long. However  I feel it was a real learning curve for me as it explored many different aspects of drawing that has helped me gain more confidence in my drawing. I also learnt plenty of new techniques. I really found looking at composition, negative spaces and  capturing texture using mark marking invaluable to my personal development. I also enjoyed introducing some colour to my work. I found some of the mediums I used very challenging particularly using marker pens and coloured pencils  and my drawings look very flat and lack any feeling of depth or dimension .I did a A3 size pastel still life drawing which is a little better – but looking at the drawing I can see that I struggled with the medium – the drawing does not look  finished as  I have not built up the tonal layers enough. I also struggled with pen and ink drawings  particularly using a nibbled pen as I am left handed – I liked pen and ink so will try using it again. My first attempt at using mixed media –  although I feel it lacks feeling  is nonetheless a good first attempt and it allowed me to explore my creativity, it is a medium that I really want to explore again. I enjoyed drawing live animals and I think my penguin sketches  work well as they are spontaneous and contain movement which is what I was hoping to achieve. I struggled with drawing around the home , I. Didn’t fully engage with the exercises and my drawings are clumsy and not very accurate I think I should have taken more time with them and I should have spend more time choosing what to draw. I am also not sure whether i fully understood what I was expected to achieve and what the outcome should have been?  During the final part of this section of the course I was ill with a chest infection and got slighly behind I then rushed assignment 2 – I should have asked for an extension instead of panicking about finishing in time I couldn’t decide on what to draw and instead of going with my first instinct to do a still life I decided to do an interior view using mixed media. The assignment was a massive mistake and I really hated it – looking at it now , I  can see that I didn’t think it though enough I needed to be clearer and follow carefully the criteria set out in the course materials .  I didn’t do enough preparatory work. I shouldn’t have used mixed media as I still do not yet process the skills or have the confidence to use such a challenging medium. On the advice of my tutor I re- did the Assignment completely- I switched to a still life. I spend time exploring my composition changing it and trying out different media including oil pastels, charcoal , graphite pencil and gouache. I experimented with textured and tinted paper. I used my sketchbook more to experiment with and look at shapes. Once I had established a composition and experimented with Colour and what fruit and vegetables to exclude and experimented with different viewpoints including  looking at negative spaces I drew the final piece using soft pastels. I took care with applying the pastels using layers to build up the the tones and colour – I kept evaluating as I worked taking my time to look at my work standing back and changing things as required. I was really pleased with the drawing and feel that this time I had forfilled the criteria and I felt confident that I had finally produced a good drawing. I really enjoyed working with pastel – I found it worked really well for me and I would definitely like to work more with them.

DRAWING ONE PART 3 – this part of the is about exploring drawing outdoors and despite starting the unit in January I really enjoyed all the exercises Particularly drawing outdoors on location in Greenwich park. I have never drawn wintry trees but really found them fascinating – I think most of my drawings seem to work although I feel I should have taken more time on them as some of the drawings are too sketchy and loose. My tutor has suggested that I keep the loose drawings in my sketchbook. I also enjoyed drawing cloud formations and experimented with different drawing mediums to capture the clouds I also recorded information such as light and weather conditions as well as the date and time. My only regret is that my sketchbook was quite small so my cloud studies as very small. I found the townscapes project challenging as I struggled with perspective- this shows in my drawings of building I need to work on my technical drawing skills. I found looking at aerial perspective useful. I really got a lot out of this unit and really enjoyed researching landscape as a genre and recording my thoughts in my learning log.


I really enjoyed working on assignment three – I did lots of preparatory sketches on location making decisions about the composition and what to include and omit from my drawing. For my final drawing I used water based ink blocks once I had established a view that I wanted to draw – I carefully drew remembering many of the techniques I had leant. I for the first time  I felt confident enough to change my drawing  and Make decisions as I worked on my drawing. On the advice of my tutor I did another drawing but this time using soft pastels. I feel this drawing worked much better as it has more a sense of atmosphere  I wanted to convey the sense of a secret place shrouded in dense greenery- i used the pastels rigorously layering the blues and greens to achieve vivid colours. I was feeling inspired after a visit to the Nikolai Astrup exhibition at the Dulwich picture gallery. This exhibition seemed to come for me at the right time for my studies. I feel that by the end of unit three I was beginning to make some progress – also my blog entries seem more confident.  The course has helped me to look at art in a different way –  I have began to reflect on art , to reflect on  artists processes and emotions , I am beginning  to address why I like something and why I do not like it, about what works and what does not work. I feel more aware about my own responses to my  work.

PART FOUR – unit 4 is concerned with drawing the human figure and the face. I enjoy life drawing and have been to several different classes including at Goldsmiths college and during the late 1980s i was lucky enough to attend a short intensive  life drawing course with the English surrealist painter Cecil Collins – who taught  how to capture movement using washes of watercolour – we used  the  colours  from the colour wheel  looking at complimentary and secondary colours to add a sense of harmony and drama to figure drawing. Even today I still remember how to mix colours. I recently enrolled onto a couple of drop in  life classes. It has been a long time since I have been been to any life drawing classes so I am pleased with my sketches from quick poses. I used mainly charcoal remembering to use a putty rubber to bring on the  hi lights and tones and to add structure to my drawings. I did a 5 minutes charcoal sketch using mainly line of a reclining figure – I really like this  drawing it is lively and fluid and the charcoal adds atmosphere , drama and dimension to my drawing  – I am pleased  my proportions seem to be okay although I run out of space on the paper so her left foot is off the page I really need to be careful to plan more to get the whole figure onto the page , I will work on this when I go back to the class. I did a longer 40 minutes charcoal drawing using the same model but this time she is is seated looking slightly to her right – again I think this is a fairly ok drawing the proportions are in scale but I have just cut  of a tiny part  of one of her feet. I did some ink drawings using a brush and washes of a nude male model  but I  do not think these drawings are as successful as the charcoal ones – they lack the fluidity and softness of my charcoal lines. Although I feel that a 5 minute sketch of the male  model hunched up almost into a ball works well and I think it has interesting movement, I particularly like the curved lines of his back .I also enjoyed drawing fabric and really found the exercise using different mediums to capture the folds and shapes of the fabric very useful. As I worked on this exercise I  began  to get a feel of the form of the fabric and almost began to draw it by following the folds with my eyes as my hands attempted to  record what I was observing. My graphite pencil drawing of a figure wrapped in a large fabric shawl also seems to work  well as I  really feel I have captured the folds, tones and shapes   within  the spaces of the shawl. But again I  run out of space so didn’t manage to draw her legs – they look clumsy and squashed onto the paper. This is an area of my work that I will work on.

i enjoyed working in my sketchbook  exploring facial features such as eyes, ears, noses and mouths. I struggled with drawing a complete face particularly  with noses and capturing the facial structure such as drawing the jawline. I feel confidence that with , hard work , patience and practise I can overcome these things.  I feel in general that I respond better to a whole face and body as it seems to help me place the emphasis on capturing an entire form as I feel the body is really just formed out of shapes. I need to slow down sometimes when drawing and remember to  analysis , change and evaluate as I am working.


for assignment 4  – I had to produce three drawings 2 figure drawings on A1 paper one tonal of a reclining figure, the other figure seated but using lines to capture form. The last drawing is a self portrait using paper of any size.

The reclining figure is the most competent  of the three drawings and I was really pleased with it. I used charcoal and a putty  rubber as well as  charcoal pencils. I carefully lit the figure with a large lamp – the effect was of light spots on the figure bouncing of her clothing often bleaching out patches of her clothing . I really enjoyed this drawing as I found it exciting, I  liked the pose and I really found using the charcoal really worked well to add the tone and mood. I enjoyed capturing an exciting adventous pose. The drawing is of my daughter and I wanted to produce a drawing that captured her personality  and my emotional bond to her. I  really feel that I did achieve this and want to explore drawing like this more.

The seated figure drawing I also enjoyed but I didn’t engage with it quite in the same way mainly as I struggle sometimes with using lines rather than tone – but having said that I thing the drawing works well – I  have captured the pose well followed the course criteria – I  do however think the facial features are too heavy handed and she looks a bit coarse . The self portrait I did  I think does not work as well as the other two drawings. I found it a complete challenge drawing myself and did not feel comfortable my tutor has advised to try not to think that I am drawing myself but rather to focus on form , structure and shapes. I used hard pastels for the final self portrait drawing and found them a very difficult medium to  control and work with – I couldn’t quite capture  the tones and this shows in the completed drawing. To me this drawing lacks feeling and appears flat and one dimensional.


  • I feel that during the course I have explored several  different aspects of drawing
  • I have explored drawing techniques
  • I have looked at mark making to convey structure, forms , shapes , texture and tonal values
  • I have explored creatively including drawing a figure from my imagination
  • I looked at developing my emotional responses to drawing both of  my own work and the work of both historical and contempory artists
  • I have analysed my work , and the work of historical and contempory artists
  • I have looked at composition , negative spaces , looked at natural and created objects, animals , buildings and the human figure
  • I have began to explore perspective , rules such as the golden section that help to create composition
  • I explored foreshortening in the human figure
  • I deleveloped a blog and learning log , and worked ideas out in a sketchbook
  • I learnt about drawing from observation – inside and outside
  • I developed methods for looking at and analysing and writing about artists
  • I attended 3 Open college of the arts study trips to the Tate gallery ,  the Newport street gallery , the Dulwich picture gallery and the British museum drawing roomimage



Open evening at Blackheath conservatoire

on Friday 15th July the Blackheath conservatoire had an open evening showcasing student work produced during the part time and evening art classes. One of my quick life drawing studies below top left  was put on show – it was exciting to see the range of interesting work   Displayed including some really impressive sculpture.



Tate modern trip 3rd July 2016

At the beginning of July I met some friends down from Scotland for lunch and a quick visit to the Tate modern.

The gallery holds a wide range of art work – these are my brief notes picking out the work that I found most interesting

BABEL (2002)- by Cildo Meireles ( b. 1943) is a large installation comprising a mixed collection of radios ( including some rare vintage models)  grouped and arranged together to form an impressive slacked circular shaped tower The piece was also partly lit adding a mysterious atmosphere to the towering pile of the radios. I liked the bold adventurous feel of the work. I also found myself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size  energy and presence of the installation. I liked the way  that Meireles has carefully assembled  the piece each radio perfectly fitting together to become one form with the yellow glow of the lighting  – I liked the luminous visual impact – I felt mesmerised by the light filtering out of the piece. I am guessing the piece is probably inspired by the  Old Testament Biblical story of the Tower of Babel which explores the origins of different languages so maybe the radios are a metaphor for communication?

UNTITLED (FOR FRANK) (1985) by Antony Gormley ( b.1950)

I am an admirer of Antony Gormley’s. I really liked this sculpture of a androgynous figure constructed out of lead , fibre and plaster. The figure is completely black in colour with no facial features or clothing as Gormley seems only to be concerned with the form and structure of the human figure. I have  recently been looking at the human figure and what I found interesting In this work  is the way Gormley is looking at the stance of the figure – the work depicts the full length figure standing with feet apart ,  both arms extended and  the head positioned slightly  tilted backwards. It’s a powerful solid piece that really works to demonstrate the powerful nature of the body. I  found the piece immensely fascinating and interesting , it has a  real  physical presence and a sense of space it seems to explore where a solid  still figure fits into the space  and environment around it and the impact of a figure placed in a neutral space –  I think the work although heavy , unmoving and solid is imbued with an intense  lively  and light energy.

NATARAJA (1993) by Bridget Riley (b.1931) . This is a very large oil on canvas concerned with exploring the juxtaposition of diagnonals and  almost geometric forms – a popular theme of Riley’s . She is also exploring the relationship and harmony of colour. I really like this work as it is so accomplished and is perfectly constructed she has clearly thought out the composition and planned the arrangement. The piece is ordered and organised  and really demonstrates Riley’s many skills. It’s a piece that is easy on the eyes and makes me feel happy looking at it – I particularly like the way she has used the colour to emphaise the areas within the geometric shapes that make up the composition.I recently saw one of Riley’s drawings – a small sketch exploring shapes, form and colour at a recent  study trip to the British museum drawing room so I was interested to see one of her finished paintings after leaning about some of her working processes.

CHESSBOARD, LARGE VERSION ( 1959) by Germaine Richier ( 1902-1959) there were many fine examples of sculpture to look at but I was drawn instantly to Richier’s art piece made from plaster and metal – the artwork comprises five figures of animals that on closer inspection reveal that each animal has a curious juxtaposition of  human characteristics. To me the hybrid characters are humorous and joyful , they have a naive quality it looks like the animals have all been painted onto the plaster after the casting stage?  The ‘chessboard ‘ is a piece of art that makes  me smile and feel happy. I wondered whether Richier was saying inside a human being there is an element of  latent animalistic behaviour?    Do we share common traits with wildlife?

Or do animals have feelings like humans? It is an interesting piece  that makes me think – I enjoy art that does make me think and makes me want to explore questions around it- it was made at the end of the artist’s life she died in her late 50’s  I will definitely want to  find out more about Richier. As I feel intrigued about her work.

COFFEE ( 1915) by Pierre Bonnard ( 1867-1947)

I have always loved Bonnard’s  series of paintings exploring interior domestic scenes particularly the paintings  with the checked red table cloths  that often include  a woman figure leisurely sipping coffee, I did a painting aged 15 of two children sitting at a table covered with a red checked tablecloth inspired by  Bonnard an old colleague liked the picture so much  that it  has been hanging framed  over her fire place for over  30 years!  I really like the composition of ‘coffee ‘ and the way Bonnard has captured the languid  relaxed stance of the female figure. It is a peaceful relaxed and harmonious piece of work that reminds me of sunny mornings at the breakfast table. image


I also like the way Bonnard captures form, textures and patterns using simple brush strokes to suggest what he is seeing.  hanging Next to ‘coffee’ there is a  framed preparatory sketch in graphite of the painting. He has loosely sketched in the composition exploring and experimenting before making final decisions and we can see where he has made changes on the final painting.  The drawing only has one figure. It is always fascinating and very insightful to see how an artist works as often we only see part of the process. I also like the way Bonnard uses an almost keyhole perspective as if the viewer is looking in at the scene adding an intimate feel to the work.