Response to Tutor Feedback Assignment 1

Overall I am extremely pleased with the feedback for assignment 1. The feedback is very encouraging and constructive, which I feel will bring out the best in me as a student and progress my drawing technique.

Within the overall comments it is especially positive that the areas of work where I spent the most time (thought) and effort have been noticed such as  the Art History research I did for the assignment and juxtaposition of the drawing on the Guardian article.

I have added to my study timetable time to research Georgio Morandi, analyse his compositions in my blog and analyse the structures of Pierre Bonnard’s Interiors/ stills life’s and experiment with them in my preparatory drawings. In my blog I will also present my findings from the two suggested reading research websites (OCA personal voice and Welcome collection).

I agree that I need to think about what I am learning from the exercises and how I can introduce this into the assignment so that I can consciously apply what I am learning as I progress. Drawing is something I do subconsciously so I need to bridge this gap and demonstrate my knowledge of it as well as my technique.  I started using the Assessment criteria as headings within the reflective feedback and then changed it so I completely understand why the critical reflection jumps around this will be easily addressed for assignment 2.  The excellent suggestion of the 6 A5 preparatory drawings to practise a range of compositions and to help with negative/ positive space, mark-making and tonal values will give my next assignment more focus. The 6 A5 drawings along with the research I will do regarding presenting my still life’s (other drawings) within a context I feel will bring new life to my work. I have never addressed or given much thought to drawing objects within a context before. I have been quite narrow minded in my focus on just the objects and their positions without giving thought to the backgrounds as any important context of the piece. I think this is a representation of the need to present the objects as correctly as I see them.  I will ensure all of the suggested reading and pointers for the next assignment are demonstrated or reflected (as indicated above) within my blog for submission of assignment 2. I can see the benefits of using critical thinking rather /analysis of my work as developmental and address the comments of exploring my vocabulary (overuse of words such as like and happy) which is unfortunately a reflection of focus on the creative side of my work and the blog a secondary thought. Overall going forward bringing everything together, the course exercises and tutor feedback will give my work further dimensions, which is what I need to develop which is very exciting.


Assignment 1 Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

Thank you for your carefully prepared and selected portfolio.  The portfolio assignment 1: a sketchbook containing drawings, exercises, a number of still-lifes and two versions of the final assignment drawing.  The blog was available and up to date.

I offer a general over-view and more 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.  These I suggest you reflect, act on and record on your blog.  These comments and recommendations are focussed specifically to benefit your thinking, critical analysis and drawing skills.

Utilizing a range of dry and wet media exploring line and tonal values to convey form, qualities of light and shadow.

An interesting approach in one still-life drawing- using The Guardian as surface.  Here the drawing is juxtaposed between an article on Warhol and another on the dropping of A Level Art History, contributing to the interpretation of the drawing.

Several examples of analysis and problem-solving to develop your drawing skills.

Very focused research to support the assignment: referencing both primary and secondary sources.  Interesting that you’ve drawn upon contemporary and historical art practice, also contemporary documentary reportage.  An excellent breadth of research.

You’ve practiced a range of the exercises which seems to have given you confidence in drawing individual objects on a small scale.

Several of the drawings represent objects as if floating-in-space.  The more succesful drawings are where you’ve drawn the object(s) within a context.  There you are exploring a greater and consistent tonal range, it also offers some opportunity to explore mark-making.


As a first assignment it evidences that you’re learning through reflection, analysis, observation and trial and error.

Assignment 1 Assessment potential

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.


Feedback on assignment

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

You reflected in detail on the final assignment through an analysis of media and process.

The structure / content of the reflection jumps around a little.  It would assist you to gain clarity if you used the key headings under ‘Assessment Criteria’ to write your critical reflection. (see Pointers)

Your reflections helped you to recognize aspects of the drawing that weren’t working.  You then made the decision to complete a second drawing.

There are aspects of both drawings that work well.  Both have a central, pyramid structured composition leading the eye into the center.

In both drawings (to differing degress) the outside elements appear sparse or in a vacuum.  It would inform your assignment, were you to do some research on how artists compose and practice your own compositional drawings.  (see Reading / Pointers)


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

A fair exploration of the exercises across a range of wet and dry media.  You are beginning to experiment with line, mark-making and tone.

Keep testing out what you’re learning in the exercises and think about how you can bring this into the preparation and execution of the assignment.  For example further exploration of mark-making possibilities and looking at the broad extremes of tonal values.  (See Pointers)

Doing more experimentation and preparatory drawings i.e: composition, will  assist your development. (Pointers)

A number of small drawings focussing on individual objects where scale and surface qualities are explored.  These display a sensitivity to materials: pencil and charcoal.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You’ve made a good start in your approach to reflective thinking.

Consider exploring your written vocabulary alongside your visual language.  There are some words you over-use for example ‘happy’ and ‘like’.  Perhaps other words that are more specific and say more about what you’re analysing and also your aims. . (Pointers)

Good description and analysis of your research this clearly informs the assignment.

See specific Reading: Georgio Morandi and Pierre Bonnard.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

A good use of the blog to archive a range of drawings as exercises and still-life studies.

Sometimes there is tendency to ‘criticize’ your drawings /skills. rather than ‘critical thinking, analysis’  in a balanced and purposeful manner.  Aim to analyse what are your strengths / weaknesses. Then think about how these might be developed further. (see Pointers)

You use the blog well to record your analysis and reflection- this evidences your thought processes and underpins your problem solving.

It would be beneficial for you to consider what you’re learning from the exercises, then how you can use this in the assignment- to compose, mark-make and use tonal values to convey space, form and texture. (see Pointers)

Suggested reading/viewing


Research Georgio Morandi and analyse his compositions on your blog.  Pierre Bonnard’s interiors / still life- Analyse the structure of foreground / middle / background- then try these in your preparatory drawings.

Regarding the content of this assignment:  An interesting collection, archive and one to keep an eye on regarding the interelationship between art- science – medicine.

An article on Wearetheoca on developing a personal voice:

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Think about what you’re learning from the exercises; mark-making, tonal values.. Ask how you can introduce this into the assessment. You will then more consciously apply what you’re learning as you progress.  Reflect and comment on this on your blog.
  • Use the ‘Assessment Criteria’ headings when writing your critical reflection for the assignment.
  • Research and practice a range of compositions from your research references: 6 -A5 drawings.
  • To help with your composition, negative / positive space, mark-making and tonal values. Do preparatory drawings before commiting to the assignment (a minimum of 6 A5 drawings), work on quick, small drawings- half-close your eyes.

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio.

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

Assignment 1 Final Submission

So after writing the last blog  I decided I wasnt happy with the charcoal drawing as a final assignment submission, so I decided to go back to basics and do another submission using graphite pencil’s  with gentle charcoal highlights (for the mixed media element of the assignment). I have swapped the jar for a glass and re introduced some of the objects I preferred drawing from the first draft. The Piriton bottle has been swapped for the infant paracetamol bottle, I have added back in the EMA cream. The Kalms and Vitamin C bottles are the same. I have added a triangular bandage which was used when I initially broke my elbow, I think the bandage helps link the objects, grouping the composition better. I let go a little and didn’t measure each pill this time (I sat with a ruler on draft 2 making sure all the pills were the same length and height). Again all the objects have had a significance use by my family in the last few months. I am personally much happier with this final submission.

Assignment 1 Pencil and Charcoal on A3


Assignment 1 Reflection on my progress.

I am happy with my compositional skills and I think all the objects have been grouped together in an interesting and complementary way.  I am also feel I have made a good start  with my visual awareness and observational skills. My sketches and exercise drawings of all the objects are all in proportion, relevant to scale with good perception. I have tried to express emotion (as asked in the course materials) by making interesting marks in my drawings, adding atmosphere, its re sparked a creative streak in me by stressing the detachment from reality. As recently I have found myself attracted towards hypperrealism drawings, that look similar to high resolution pictures- I really admire the accuracy and techniques. The emotive mark making has re opened my mind and bought awareness to the pure enjoyment of marks and taken away the need for preciseness.

There have been challenges for me working on a larger scale for the first time in forever ( I prefer working in smaller sketch pads)and the availability of equipment – I am working on a budget and buying materials as I need them which has been causing delays. The only local craft store is also very badly stocked (the others have also gone out of business). I am pleased with my technical skills as a starting point. The drawings I have made for this course are the first formal (followed direction/ assignments) drawings I have made for over 16 years (apart from sketch books, doodles and face painting).

I am only about 50% happy with the quality of the outcome of my work so far.I have argued in my head over and over whether I  should re-do  my 1 st assignment or not. I don’t like it, although I stare at it for ages weirdly enjoying it, it certainly is dark and has atmosphere. I think I have overworked the shadows, although the still life set up I drew from was purposefully dark and could have added more in the mirrored reflection below.

Assignment 1 Second Draft – The original assignment 1 (As discussed in this blog)  before deciding to do another  final submission)  Willow Charcoal A2
Assignment 1 First draft- charcoal pencil/ pencil on square paper (approx A3)

I personally prefer the first  drawing (Charcoal only) I did before realizing it was on the wrong sized paper for the assignment. I like the Jar in the composition (even though it doesn’t entirely relate to the subject matter) from a technical point of view and the conceptual idea behind it and the pills look good in the jar too (reflection), however I just cant work out what it is I exactly do not like ( I don’t like the jar?). I would have preferred to have used a paper with more tooth final assignment piece (paper sourcing problems) but again I like the smoothness, it represents the smoothness of the objects drawn.  I am heavily critical of my work (always have been. I could point to every one of my drawings and tell you whats wrong with them. Maybe I just really liked the plant used in the first drawing which I decided to leave out in the final piece (I thought it looked random), even though it was a representation of natural medicines.

I have decided to submit my work as its stands and let my Tutor feedback and guide me, I am trying to think of each piece of work as developmental as opposed to being heavily critical and I am more than happy to re do an exercise or assignment at a later date. Although I am having nightmares that my tutor feedback report is going to be like the description of a really bad X-factor audition “What is Alison Dollery thinking?”

There has been the stagnating odd thought and procrastination with some of the exercises that I have done certain exercise before (not that that makes my work better) but I understand that was a long time ago and I need to show the OCA my capabilities.

Positively my work is of a coherent manner and I am pleased that I am getting lots of inspiration for idea’s (future work) and concepts in my work (Pills). I have tried to keep my blog as simple and to the point as possible. I think I have demonstrated my application of knowledge so far. I feel I have shown imagination and I have started my journey to continue to re- develop my personal voice, especially through new ideas and invention. I feel I could have done more experimentation with the initial exercises in the course, however I was so consumed with setting up this blog, my drawing and experiments became a secondary interest in the initial stage. I also need to ensure I am reading the exercises and assignments properly, a couple of times I did the work then realized I had done it with the wrong paper or material (see assignment 1 first drawing). I have also shown research of artists and subject matter (pills) and reflection in my blog.

I am a reflector in my learning style so this is just the first steps of where I need to be.

Assignment 1

For Assignment 1 I have chosen the unusual subject of medicine containers and pills.

I recently did a pencil drawing of some pebbles whilst sat on a beach trying to capture the texture of them and have been thinking about other multiple (smaller) objects grouped together and their different textures.

After visiting the British Museum on the 2nd October 2016 and seeing an Art Installation “Cradle to Grave, In Sickness and in health” by a group of artists called Pharmacopoeia I have been researching the installation for my Creative Arts Today course final assignment. I then started thinking about Medicine in art as a whole and did research of still life artwork including medicine and pills. Apart from art installations such as  Damien Hirst’s  “Schizonphrenogenesis” and illustrations there are limited (nothing significant) drawings in charcoal or pencil of a still life involving just modern medicine (mainly pills).

Schizonphrenogenesis 2014- Damien Hirst

Damien Hirsts website quotes from his website:

“Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art. They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”

“continue Hirst’s exploration of contemporary belief systems; religion, love, art and medicine”.

Image result for medicine still life

Medical Still Life by De Scott Evans (1847-1898)

Personally I have chosen the medicine containers and pills to form a still life due to personal circumstances this year with my own health (broken elbow) and my daughter stay in hospital (broken wrist, internal bleeding and torn spleen). The symbolism and representation of the containers and pills are probably the most emotive objects currently in my life and I have battled with not wanting to take painkillers (Tramadol- bad side effects) and dealing with the pain.Then my coincidence a 2 part documentary on BBC1 “The Doctor who gave up drugs” which then struck a cord and summarized my beliefs on the use of modern medicines and the over use of prescription pills, pills in general in the UK. I am particularly interested in the over prescription of anti- depressants and as a subject would like to explore this further at a later point in my art. However for now I have mainly used vitamins and paracetamol capsules.

Object Representation-

Jar- A head full of Dreams (Influenced by  Cold play’s album) A head full of pills-  A Jar full of pills, it also gives opportunity to reflect light.

Piraton liquid bottle- reflection and triggers a memory of an allergic reaction my daughter and I had to three guinea pigs.

Vitamin D prescribed rectangle box- I had a blood test that showed a deficiency of Vitamin D shortly before breaking my elbow.

Tub of vitamin C- continues the vitamin theme and  I need energy!!

Loose pills- Vitamins and paracetamol for pain relief.

A small tub of Kalms- that was out of date and smelt so bad. ( I had no idea medicines could smell). My first link to or an interpretation of antidepressants and mental health.

I am a minimalist with objects as I do not put much value on objects as a whole. I am not sure if its because I traveled a lot with work or lived abroad that often objects were stored or given to charity. I want to explore all the above in my drawings, try to find beauty and atmosphere in a a sterile perfectly formed product that is in every home in the UK.

Welcome to the your OCA Learning Log!

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This blog is now structured with the essential categories required for you to post Assignments and Projects in for your learning log entries. It is intended to just help you get started with your OCA Learning log, and you may wish to customise it to suit your particular course.

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