Reflection – Part 4 – Assignment

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills


  • I have tried to extend my use of materials as I have worked through this part of the course but unfortunately found myself drifting back to those I find most comfortable.   I don’t think I have been very successful in using free flowing materials and struggle to find the composition and form rather than the more emotive possibilities of different kinds of drawing materials.
  • It would be useful to be pointed towards different kinds of drawing and I remain confused about where drawing stops and painting begins.  Is there are dividing line – I don’t think so but fail to apply this to my own work.
  • In terms of trying materials I enjoyed going out on a limb and using edible stuff and spices. However felt constrained by time limits and the push to get through the different exercises.
  • Pleased with working on heavier paper and the wet on wet technique – could use this more and with a greater variety of media


  • My technique has developed in some areas but it remains patchy.   It is still hard for me to pause and consider rather than dashing in to get marks on paper.   This is somewhat driven by the format of life class itself.
  • I did surprise myself with getting the essence of the figures in some of the quite short poses – I find that the longer I work on a pose the more it tends to deteriorate  learning to work in stages on a drawing – particularly ones of up to 2 hrs or longer is a challenge for me.  It is a bit like the experience of doing the Assignment 4 seated pose.    The studies are far more vibrant alive and energetic than the final piece.

Observational Skills & Visual Awareness

  • Again the issue is consistency – sometimes I can manage to hold my concentration. I think the skills are developing even if it is to notice more accurately what is not working. I don’t always know how to rectify this.
  • I believe I am still easily distracted by what I think is there rather than really effective looking.   It is easy to get carried away with an exercise or study and loose the essence of piece.

Design & Compositional Skills

  • Interestingly I think this has been less successful in this part because the body gets to dominate my thoughts rather than how the body or head is in the landscape/frame of a piece.
  • I have tended to draw whole bodies because that is what I think is expected although we have been encouraged to look at other artists where obvious dynamic compositional choices have been made.  I don’t think I have done this I have just centred on drawing the form of the body.

Overall although I have loved completing this part of the module I don’t think in terms of these components it has been as successful and I would have liked.   Maybe it is about identifying all the issues and hurdles initially before I can move things forward.   A body/head is so much more subtle a subject to capture and therefore needs more than I have to offer at this stage.

Quality of Outcome

I think key words for this whole part  4 are patchy/unpredictable/inconsistent.    This refers also to the quality of the outcomes.   I think my work is coherent but as commented in the previous section sometimes hits the spot and sometimes does not.

Again this is due to the way I consciously or unconsciously approach the exercises.   Sometimes I start out with conscious intentions and can sustain through the piece but this is not always true.   There is still not enough stepping back and reviewing.  It is not that I over judge my own work as being successful when it is not but have not found a way to take the lessons forward and incorporate them into the future work.

I believe that the necessary review before I make choices for Part 5 will be critical in becoming more discerning.  I will need to build in some key learning and development targets into this.

Demonstration of Creativity

Not surprisingly some of the comments related to the previous sections are also relevant to these area. There are ideas bubbling away through this section particularly those that link my interest in the dolls with Hans Bellmer and my own image (self-portraits) designing myself as a package.

Experimentation has taken place not only within the course exercises as with the food stuffs and packaging but when taking the short course about textures and surface.  These have all fed into my moving forward thoughts about areas of interest to explore further.


I have aimed to look more widely at sources and images to give greater depth to my understanding of the context surrounding the body in art. There are books etc that I wish to tackle but have found some of the writing rather opaque and don’t believe I have enough understanding of the way art historians think about artworks.

My reading has though made me more aware of the cultural, historic, economic, social, gender and identity aspects of art – particularly in relation on women’s’ artwork. Though as yet I am confused about what is being talked about with feminism and post-feminism.  My last foray into being analytical about the arts was in the 80s not at the height of the feminist era but when many of the first wave of feminist art history was emerging as well as development of philosophical thinking i.e. Griselda Pollock, Rozsika Parker etc. Some of these books are now coming out again as “classic” editions. Presently I would like to tackle this as part of the Part 5 study but need time to think about how to approach this without being sucked into too much theoretical analysis.

Seeing work like the Cathie Pilkington exhibition has encouraged me to believe that there is some good/successful/strong women’s work out there that does not pander to excessive response to male stereotypes.   I don’t precisely know what I mean by this but that is how it came out.


I have hugely enjoyed working through the part of the module and would like to have stayed longer with some aspects of my work.

I am clear that I need to:-

  • Think more before I act
  • Make more conscious decisions at different stages as I am working through a piece
  • Stand back more
  • Review more
  • Experiment more
  • Mix up the media – extend my vocabulary
  • Become more analytical about artists work – ask myself questions




Part 4 Bibliography –

Betterton, Rosemary, 1996. Intimate Distance. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Carson, Fiona, & Pajaczkowska, Claire 2000. Feminist Visual Culture. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Cumming, Laura, 2009. A Face to the Wold: on self-portraits. 1st ed. London: Harper Collins.

Hall, James, 2014. The Self-Portrait: A cultural History. 1st ed. UK: Thames & Hudson.

Kemp Martin & Wallace, Marina (2000), Spectacular Bodies, 1st ed, London, Hayward Gallery

Marion Young, Iris, 2005. On Female Body Experience. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Saunders, Gill, 1989. The Nude: a new perspective. 1st ed. London: The Herbert Press Ltd.

Sennett, Richard, 1996. Flesh & Stone. 1st ed. London: W W Norton & Company Ltd.

Simblet, Sarah, 2001. Anatomy for the Artist. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Webb, Peter, 2004. Death, Desire & The Doll. 1st ed. UK: Solar Books.

Woodall, Joanna, 2005. Self-Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary. 1st ed. London: National Portrait Gallery.

Assignment 4 – Seated Figure

Seated figure study 2

The first of 3 preliminary sketches for the assignment.   I used the working blind drawing method and then two further drawn lines over this.  Plus some overworking in areas of the face.   I particularly like the activity or energy of the drawing and the way the face has emerged from the different lines and overworking.

Could definitely have worked much slower on the blind drawing stage to establish a stronger layout for the fiture.

Seated figure study 3

Second drawing using water soluble wax crayons – again I worked in various layers overworking each colour and then used water to blur/fuse them together. Is using water drawing?  I don’t know.   This drawing also has a freshness about it but looses out a bit on the accuracy side.

Seated figure study 1

Final study and dealing with the difficulty of using purely line to create volume in the figure.   Cheated using various inks as well as the main drawing with ink and pen. Again do like the spontaneity of this image but am becoming aware of the difficulty of working these type of methods up to A1 size. The 3 studies are around A3.

Final seated line assiggnment 4

This is the A1 final version of the drawing.   Realised how much line work it takes to build up the volume – i.e. the jumper which I think is successful   The trousers are less so.   Wanted to use another version of line but but short on time.   Some inaccuracies of proportion and placing of the limbs – particular the far – left leg.   Also head not properly placed – neck too long……

He is so nearly there but minor inaccuracies escalate when working at a larger size.   Working purely with line was challenging I found.

The Head

Second week of long pose drawing.   I knew that the position I was in would not produce a good drawing of Tom’s head as it was too much in profile.

Firstly tried a more straight on view:-

Head sketch 1

head sketch 2

The first sketches where I was trying to get the proportions of his head and face.   He has a very long face with small mouth and chin. Realised that this is perhaps not the best angle and so moved to the side and back of the class.   I was struggling to see the detail of his face and its tones from the distance I was from the model.   But decided to stick with this angle as it was the best that I could find under the circumstances in the room.

Tom Head week 2

Tom head initial layer

This was the first phase of the drawing which was entirely with water soluble crayons on pastel paper.   Had applied a small amount of water but in fact it tended to make it messy and obliterated the marks of the crayons which I found most pleasing.

I had wanted to be more experimental but in a classroom situation with limited time I had to make decisions which drew me back to the crayons.

Tom head final

Final drawing after 2 hours.   Some parts of which I really like especially the mood of pensiveness.   I am sorry that this particular angle or any angle with this pose did not allow me to capture his eyes. Nostril facing too large will have to take it down and it may help the overall structure.   Looking back at his photo the face is too long but I think that the elongation has added to its expression in some ways.

The completion of the drawing to this stage has brought up more questions than answering the remit of the assignment.

Reclining Figure

2nd preparatory sketch

In this first study I was using water soluble crayons on wet 300gm paper.   I like the way the colours and tones move together.

1st preparatory sketch

Tried something similar with water soluble pencils in this next study.  Somethings about this I like – the shapes and dynamic proportions of the composition leading towards the top right corner.

graphite outline

Just a trickle of graphite powder – can be very expressive but blurs – some how I would like to find a way to capture the liveliness of these drawn lines – except that this study is supposed to be about tone.

initial colour washes

Decided to work on the wet on wet with the soluble crayons on 300gms watercolour paper. Time is a real factor when you upscale on size.   I am just getting used to this.   This definitely took more than 3 hours to the final piece below.

final version reclining

I like how the big masses of colour work as well as the tonal variants of the t-shirt and trousers.   Along the way it has lost something of the dynamism of the original composition as well as the reclining attitude – but it did take a long time. For the first time I am please ow shape is implied by the colours without having to be explicit with lines.

Research Context

I am not sure that I have particular research for this Assignment but more as the background for the whole Part 4 which has been an on-going exploration. After the last Assignment my tutor suggested I look at the work of various artists some of which I have followed up.   These include Otto Dix, John Currin, Ron Muerk, Hope Gangloff, Tracy Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood, Ana Mendieta – the suggestion was to look at them in order to become more fluid in my approach to drawing.

As you will see from my sketchbook I looked at these and a number of others, Egon Schiele, Frank Auerbach, Piete Peere, and Degas.

I am aware that I have looked at more artists whilst working through Part 4 than I have in the previous parts and am feeling rather overwhelmed by the variety and diversity of the skills.


This has been a really rewarding section of the Module.   I have always loved the figure and am even more enthusiastic about it as an artistic subject but:-

  • There has been so much to take on board in a relatively short space of time.  I have progressed in my drawing abilities and am certainly looking more carefully.   But it is transient sometimes it “works” and sometimes it doesn’t.   I know this is a lapse in concentration on my part hence the challenge of this assignment because of the size of the work and the length of time necessary to work on an individual piece.  I don’t think I have ever done this before (except in the other assignment pieces).
  • In some cases I have been limited by the poses taking place in life classes, the seated pose and the head.   This has meant that I have not been able to dictate the angles, lighting etc.   Tried with the composition of the seated pose I looked at finding a more dynamic closer view but this did not work.   Similarly with the head I was quite far away in the class. This is not to excuse my work but part of my realisation on how much I need to be able to dictate.
  • Some of the styles I wanted to try did not lend themselves to the particular settings.   I like my studies for the seated figure far more than the final piece.   I could not however work out how I could combine these and keep within the “lines” literally of the brief.
  • I continue to be challenged by working on a larger scale using some of the materials and methods I have tried during this part.   Scaling up needs a scaling up of the marks too in order to create greater impact.  I am not yet sure how to do this.
  • Still there is a tendency to go back to tired (maybe tired by tried) and tested methods of working although discovering working on the wet heavier paper was successful for the reclining figure.  Interesting footnote to this is that I wanted to take this further in a long pose class recently but it didn’t work because I did not take enough time to choose the compositional angle and there was too much literally bare flesh to deal with tonally.
  • I have slowed down somewhat but not enough to be able to be consistent in what I am producing.  I am split in this in that ideas come fleetingly and want to be followed whereas drawing is a skill that will need 10,000 or is it 100,000 hours!