Reflection Part 2 Assignment 2 4.Possible Side Effects

Reflection on Part and Assignment 2

As soon as I read the brief for assignment 2 I knew I wanted to continue the experimentation of mixed media that I had used in “Project 2, Exercise 3- Experiment with Mixed Media” (Please read). For Exercise 3 I had used medicine packaging juxtaposed together inspired by the cardboard effect that Andrea Bowers used  in “The Workers Maypole” 2015 (photographed at the Tate Modern June 2016).


Andrea Bower’s The Maypole 2015 (photographed at the Tate Modern June 2016).

I  wanted to continue the medicine theme I had researched from Assignment 1 looking at how beneficial it is taking medicine v’s its possible side effects (Linking back to the Dr who Doesn’t do Drugs research- Assignment 1). The final idea I had was to somehow incorporate a modern Vanitas composition linking object symbolism.

I wanted for Assignment 2 to contrast Assignment 1 and start to demonstrate a range of different mediums that I am drawing with. To follow the theme of Intimacy in Part 2 I chose the viewpoint to be zoomed in closer to the still life purposefully cutting off objects . I spent hours working on the composition, moving the objects around my house, experimenting with light, shadow and seeing what elements of different rooms reflected in the mirror  (please see At Home vs Assignment 2). Although I intended to represent place within the composition (mirror reflection) and thought to draw a fake reflection  (photographed from another part of the house) I couldn’t get the light to work harmoniously. In the end drawing from life prevailed so after finding a suitable place in my studio the mirror only reflected the plant, medicine and a blank wall.

1 Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

I think overall my technical skills are improving and I have learnt that drawing what I see and not from memory is imperative (60 % looking at the still life 40% at my drawing). I think I am consistently trying new idea’s but now want to focus on techniques and looking at how other artists are working too.

Some of the drawings I did from the Exercises worked, lots didn’t but I have learnt something at every point like diluting ink, more thumbnails sketches and accidents that lead to discovery. I have also tested my compositional skills by including backgrounds which has had positive and negative results. I will continue experimenting with different backgrounds(as per tutor feedback).

I have really pushed my experimentation with materials for the final assignment using mixed media which included:  Sharpie’s (permanent markers), PVA glue, Pastel fixative, wax crayons, white ink applied with brush, conte sticks, colored pencils, a small amount of black acrylic paint and the medicine packaging.

Quality of Outcome

Please also read At home vs Assignment 2 for process of idea’s.

This section of the course has shown me how important the preliminary experiments and sketch work is (trying to restrain my need to get stuck in). I am also discovering my method of working is a bit backwards-to draw the final composition then work out whats wrong.. subsequently wanting to re work the drawing. I still want to rework the Monochrome fish and  Exercise 1 of the driftwood despite doing thumbnail sketches before had the original A3 drawing was completely uncomfortable and overworked.

The final outcome for Assignment 2 is what it was intended to be- an experimentation of idea’s. I get a sense of nervousness using this for an assignment submission. I feel it is a risk because the drawing (final piece) as a whole is not beautified, (subjectively-  without sparking the  what is beautiful v’s what is art debate?). Its raw and uneasy, yet vibrant at the same time. What I really like is the transparency of the sharpies (giving another dimension) and different marks that pull the viewer into the composition. Although there is a sense of the simplified too,  I have tried to stay away from the illustrated look. I notice different elements every time I view it which interests me.

I could have created a beautiful pencil drawing but I have this need to push myself and find the limits of where I can work, what works and also what is encouraged by the OCA.

Demonstration of Creativity

For me this assignment (and part 2) was all about creativity and ideas. How do I translate the images and idea’s in my head onto paper (or other materials)?  Every idea I had I experimented with and could have continued to do so over the next couple of months however I am mindful of moving on within the course.

The biggest challenge with working on this assignment was the use of sharpies on non absorbent packaging. I really wanted to see if I could push this medium that naturally lacks texture to not only capture texture but use it to draw without an obvious abstracted or simplified style. Through the experimentation of marks I have captured the objects colour, tone and contrast. I spent time experimenting with different media on the packaging to discover what other media could be used to get the same transparency as the Sharpies and have so far been unsuccessful.

I hoped I have displayed a good level of creative thinking, imagination, experimentation and invention. It has been thoroughly enjoyable to create this assignment piece from effectively nothing. It was the most appropriate medium for the subject whilst experimenting with idea’s materials and methods.

From reading the OCA article explaining personal voice I think from scrolling through my blog I am starting to see familiarity within my work ( and other students) by the way of how I use tones, lines and marks- although this could just be an attachment to my work- I am unsure?


Hopefully my final assignment screams context. Assignment 2 references the research we did at the beginning of the course about Still life. Independent research I did into Vanitas, Symbolism and research recommended to me by my tutor around using background’s researching artist Giorgio Morandi.

Giorgio Morandi, 'Still Life' 1960

Giorgio Morandi- Still Life 1960

Giorgio Morandi Still life 1955

The underlying theme of this assignment piece is the benefit of medicine v’s the possible side effects that could be experienced by taking the medicine. Although I do not have strong views about the pro’s and con’s of various medicine’s I find it an interesting subject (Again this links back to Assignment 1’s research the “Dr Who Doesn’t Do Drugs”).

I have tried to tie in art symbolism and object representation in the still life; Skull (death), Apples(immortality and health), Red Wine (blood) and the Lily Plant (purity). The mirror represents self awareness and finally the medicine bottle links back to Assignment 1 and medicine in general.  The possible side effects are always listed as no.4 on the leaflet.

Using of mixed media within also questioned  the line between what is drawing and what is painting or what mediums are specific to each subject- an area I am still researching.

Within the exercises and working within my sketch book the biggest challenges I have faced is my own confidence and distraction. I have only been drawing again (with direction not just doodles) for 6 months and there is so much I want to learn and try, its exciting yet almost overwhelming. Now that I have finished The Creative arts today course that distraction is gone and can focus solely on this course. I have spent more time on the content of my blog and importantly have recognized to maximize learning I must update my blog as soon as I have finished the practical exercises. I have however overcome the apprehension with working on larger paper and I am sourcing art materials (and how to use them) easier.

I really struggled to enjoy drawing natural objects at the beginning of the course or find inspiration. Despite foraging efforts nothing sparked my imagination so stuck with the subject matter as per the course examples. Except the weird shaped fruit, which fascinated me. After working on Project 3 v’s Assignment 2 something clicked and a realization of how I can enjoy drawing anything has sparked a list of exploration that I wish I had had at the beginning of part 2. I have a visit to the Welcome Collection (recommended by my tutor) scheduled for next month which will also ignite this need to draw the less ordinary.  There seams to be a theme running that I am interested in the idea’s as much as the technical drawing (although more focus is needed aspects of technical drawing), I am eager to see how this manifests within the Landscape section of this course…..


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