D1 A3 Feedback

Here is the feedback from my tutor on assignment 3 with my reflections @@@inline

Summary of my reflections and Tutor’s pointers

  • continue to experiment and use different media and techniques out of my comfort zone.
  • enjoy the process as much as (perhaps more than) the end result
  • build on research and develop through the exercises to the final assignment
  • think about how to convey mood, atmosphere, and spatial qualities
  • Set myself some focused and simple aims for your projects and assignment beyond what the course asks. 
  • It may be timely to think about what qualities my ‘personal voice’ might contain or be interested in conveying?
  • See more work in galleries
  • Explore graphic novel and narrative illustration.
  • experiment with composition. Also don’t just focus on the central image ‘forgetting’ to consider the space around the ‘object’ / ‘subject’, the foreground and background. Explore what different possibilities there are in switching between portrait and landscape orientation. 
  • Explore chromatic blacks

Overall Tutor Comments

I offer an overview, with specific comments under the individual headings.  At the end of the feedback under: Reading / Pointers I recommend aspects for you to consider and respond to. Do take your time to reflect on commentary that confirms and positively frames your development, as well as comments on areas for further improvement.

Reflect, act on and record these on your blog and where appropriate set simple aims for yourself.  The constructively critical comments and recommendations are focussed to benefit your thinking, critical analysis, research and drawing skills.

It is clear that you have worked hard to develop your technical and process skills to expand upon your visual language and consider how you might convey mood, atmosphere and spatial qualities.  This exploration has been developed through the use of a broad and diverse range of wet and dry media.

Good to see that you are reflecting on the projects and exercises to actively learn from these and take ideas forward.  You are progressing in confidence and this is facilitating a more experimental and playful approach to manipulation and combination of media, process and technique.

This sense of material and visual development is in synergy with your critical analysis and research.  A relationship between research, drawing skills and conveying visual ideas is now developing.  Continue to pursue and deepen these connections as you progress.

Set yourself some focussed and simple aims for your projects and assignment beyond what the course asks.  It may be timely to think about what qualities your ‘personal voice’ might contain or be interested in conveying?

This sense of material and visual development is in synergy with your critical analysis and research.  A relationship between research, drawing skills and conveying visual ideas is now developing.  Continue to pursue and deepen these connections as you progress.

Set yourself some focussed and simple aims for your projects and assignment beyond what the course asks.  It may be timely to think about what qualities your ‘personal voice’ might contain or be interested in conveying?

Assignment 3 Assessment potential

“I understand your aim is to go for the 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.”

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Good to see you set yourself some simple aims for the coastal scene.  You describe the composition as ‘unbalanced’, while I would say compositionally balanced yet tonally contrasting.  The composition is similar, (in balance) to a yin-yang image.  Thereby creating a flow across the drawing between the left-hand darker side and right-hand lighter.

@@@ I like the analogy to yin-yang – I had not seen this. I had intended there to be a flow from left to right and so its nice to hear this was successful in some way.

You undertook some preparatory drawings which helped you to explore qualities in your tonal values and mark-making potential.  It will be helpful to explore these qualities in visual language in future prep work.  Continue to utilise this stage of the drawing process to problem-solve and explore your developing visual language.  You are gaining confidence in your visual thinking and a range of subtle and bold approaches to handling media.  (see Pointers)

@@@ agree. The temptation is to launch into the final piece – partly because of the calendar ticking by towards the deadline and partly because I’m still focussing a bit too much on the final piece rather than the process. I’ll keep an eye on this for A4!

The assignment composition offers an interesting contrast in tone, juxtaposing the dark (left) with the light (right), this creates a satisfying effect.  It would be an interesting and useful challenge for you to push your experimentation of composition in future project and assignment work.  (see Pointers)

@@@ I have enjoyed thinking at length about composition and the problem solving you have to do to execute an idea.

You reflect well and critically on both the process of making the drawing, the decisions you made, why you make them: problem-solving and your initial intentions for the assignment.  This is good progress and purposefully analytical (less negatively critical approach than your previous binary: ‘triumph’ or ‘disaster’.

@@@ agree – though still some work to do here.

Your research is more genuinely and purposefully feeding into your assignment.  The use of reflection aka Vermeer, dramatic and atmospheric skies aka Turner to name two influences on your decision and revisions.

@@@ the penny dropped for me in this assignment that the exercises can be used to test out some ideas that feed into the final assignment. That seems so obvious to say after the fact but for the first 2 assignments, I really had my head down doing the exercises one by one.

You reflected critically and on balance regarding what you felt doesn’t work so well and tested out your thoughts by digitally overlaying the sea with a darker blue tint.  I concur that the cottage is too large and the reflected lights from the windows would be much higher up.  Placing a small touch of blue in the black of the window frame may help that yellow to zing.

@@@ Great tip – thanks. I have now added a touch of complementary blue. it does make a difference locally but overall the lightness of the water is still knocking back the lights.

This assignment seems to have offered you lots of opportunities to explore and experiment, which you have committed to and learned from.  You shifted your approach in relation to how you critically analyse your work developing a more balanced (therefore useful) perspective.  This approach is from a problem-solving perspective.  A good point to be at as you progress to assignment 4.
Sketchbooks (Including comments on Projects / exercises)

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Interesting experimentation of mark-making, textural and surface qualities across pencil and charcoal.  There are examples of utilising a range of mark-making qualities through different pressures of touch conveying form and movement; P1 Ex 1.  There is a sense here that you are appreciating the process of experimentation and applying it purposefully.

Good exploration of mark-making using varied media and eraser as a drawing tool.

@@@ I m enjoying experimenting. This has been helped by deliberately choosing a media out of my comfort zone. That forces me to play with it and to accept that the end result will not be “perfect”. I’ll carry on with this approach through A4.

P1, Ex 3: the composition and varied mark-making offer an interesting composition.  The night sky though centrally composed is well-framed by the curve of the trees, in silhouette.  This device you have used well in several drawings, including the assignment. There is a sense that the almost fish-eye view of the scene provides a ‘big-sky’ perspective and a mirroring of the

@@@ so interesting you picked up on the night sky picture. It was by far the simplest and quickest sketch. It goes to show that playing and experimenting can often yield more interesting results.

There are some lovely small drawings, where you are exploring a broad scope of tonal values.  These values range from the slight, subtle and barely visible cloud forms to dense and velvety qualities playing with forms as silhouette in the foreground: P2 Ex 1

You have explored some compositions, yet there is a tendency to focus on a central image, sometimes ‘forgetting’ to consider the space around the ‘object’ / ‘subject’, the foreground and background  For example in P3 Ex 1 & Ex 2 the compositional structure is actually the same in each of the drawings.  You shift from landscape to portrait format, yet haven’t explored a variety of composition possibilities.   This is an element to explore in future project work and assignments  (Pointers)

@@@ Good point – I’ll try to focus on this in A4


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Visual research into Turner has informed some of your small studies.  A bold and interesting interpretation of a Turner study in ‘After Turner’.  A combination of subtle and bold dynamic brushwork, utilising thin, tinted wash, dry and opaque paint qualities. Try and use either a paynes grey rather than black or mix chromatic blacks / greys.  This will result in much richer black and grey spectrum.


For example I mix a black using Alizarin Crimson and Phthalo Green, a grey using Violet and Naples Yellow.   The best approach is to start with mixing two primaries (you may add Titanium White to make a grey), then experiment with mixing. (Pointers)

@@@ will try this and agree using a pure black is too flat and lacks depth.

A range of historical and some contemporary research.  All research for this assignment was based on secondary sources.  

Elements of retrospectively reflecting on previous research to inform the assignment work.   If possible do some primary research for assignment 4.  For example a visit to the National before October 22nd:

https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/encounter/exhibition/  it might be fun to combine this visit with a ‘Late Encounter’ music / DJ /talk event.

@@@ Based on this recommendation I went to see the Van Dyke – Pre-raphaelites exhibition. More on this is a later blog.

Regarding research on landscape:

  • John Virtue
  • David Bomberg  (landscapes & interiors)
  • Barbara Rae
  • Cezanne

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Using your blog well to archive your progress.  This works well in relation to the making of drawings, with reflection and analysis which is benefitting and informing your development.

There is a sense of you leaning towards narrative in some of your drawings.  Ask yourself how interested you are in this and if so how could you develop this as part of your emerging ‘personal voice’?  For example might you be interested in illustration within a graphic novel tradition.  There are lots of really interesting contemporary illustrators dealing with complex philosophical and political notions. Joe Sacco, Chris Ware ….


@@@ I think I am interested in the narrative aspect of art so this is great advice. Sadly I’ve missed comicon London but will look out for similar. A4 gives a great opportunity to bring in some ideas with a human story element to them.

You are using the blog space as site to explore problem-solving and make decisions to change and adapt your ways of working.  This is then informng what you do or how you set your intentions.

It would be beneficial for you to try and see at least one exhibition as a primary resource.  To then reflect on in your blog and take this analysis to feed into your concepts or the drawings themselves.  (see Research)

@@@ Always happy to go to a gallery!

Suggested reading/viewing


  • John Virtue
  • David Bomberg  (landscapes & interiors)
  • Barbara Rae


(see Pointers).

https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/encounter/exhibition/ see work in the flesh if at all possible.

https://www.southamptoncityartgallery.com/whats-on/mile-end-mayfair/  and Bomberg’s ‘Cyprus’ in the permanent collection….check it is on display prior to your visit.


Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Explore a greater range of compositions at the Project stage and in preparation for the final assignment work.  Try to explore a broad range of diverse options and use your research to help you analyse and then test-out potential ideas.
  • Reflect upon your emerging ‘personal voice’ and what this might entail: visual language and vocabulary, a sense of drama, a particular narrative, colour palette…?
  • Research and experiment with some mixing of black and chromatic greys.  See Research.


Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.



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