Tutor Reccomended Research- Lucian Freud- Leigh Bowery Portraits and Rembrandt- Self Portrait

I had heard of Lucian Freud and recently viewed his portrait painting of Amy Winehouse at the National Portrait Gallery when researching Assignment 4. Firstly I was drawn to  the close up painting of  performance artist and club promoter Leigh Bowery’s head 1991. In the painting the head resting on his shoulder, (similarly to my drawing of the reclining male) this painting is exquisite and very sensual pleasing. The marks of the paint make me never want to stop look at the image. Again like John Coplans the image isn’t of an obviously beautiful body but an aging man. The representation of age again has been handled beautifully. In a sketch book I instantly wanted to draw the image. Here is a link to the image: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/freud-leigh-bowery-t06834


A5 interpretation in 4B Graphite of Lucian Freuds Leigh Bowery 1991.

Lucian Freuds drawings take on a quality of depth, tone again with exquisite pencil marks and interesting use of line which I love. Again fascinating to analyse although I prefer the painterly marks in his paintings.

Fig 1 Lucian Freud Large Head 1993 Etching on paper

Looking at drawings such as Large Head 1993 and Head of Woman 1996 I really love the really thin lines that sit side by side overlap and interconnect. Then the use of larger lines to emphasis certain parts. I really wished I had viewed these images before undertaking assignment 4 – line drawing. The Jumper on Head of Women 1996 is a beautiful representation of directional use of line.

Reading the article in the Guardian ‘Rambrandt and growing old gracefully’:  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/mar/29/rembrandt-old-age I find it facinating to look at the two artists from different time periods and how they deal with capturing age beautifully within art. This article quotes that “Rembrandt realished the effects of time” (Jones 2012) and that he “painted old age with a nobility and power that no other artist has ever approached”(Jones 2012).

“Rembandt is, above all, interested in the inner self, the mystery behind someone’s eyes, and the distractions of youthful glamour just get in the way of that pursuit” (Jones 2012) I find this particularly intresting relating this to my reclining man pose. Although I love my sketches from a developmental point of view I hadnt done enough sketches to gather information about the age of the persons skin, hair texture, although I captured a sense of the person, age and situation. This is something I would like to explore further later on as I move into Practise of Painting. Capturing the inner self.

Fig 1 Lucian Freud Large Head 1993 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/freud-large-head-p20141 (accessed 2/9/2017).

Jones J (2012) Rambrandt and growing old gracefully Guardian Online At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/mar/29/rembrandt-old-age (accessed 2/9/2017).



Assignment 5 Tutor Reccomended Reading/ Viewing- John Coplan

Researching John Coplans  “Third Age of Man” images bought results in a summary of Photographic Self Portraits and cropped close up’s of the Human Figure. Viewing these images helps me reflects further how to deal with age within my drawings.  The images of an older male is an interesting subject as society as a whole is generally derogative towards self-image as we age. Reflecting on viewing the images I find them beautiful, innocent and an unassuming representation of  human form in an everyday or aging sense. Even though the images are cropped, I still visualise the rest of the human figure that I suspect is purposeful or to provide a narrative. The images remind me of hyper realistic or charcoal drawing.

From research there are a couple of points that have given further reflection “Coplans deliberately avoids any kind of pose or gesture which may communicate a familiar message.” (Tate, 2017). “focuses on more ambiguous physical properties” (Tate 2017).      In relation to my reclining man piece drawing , and other human drawings I have completed have always been purposefully posed. Drawing from Life class especially, although I have thought about the pose in an aesthetic sense, I hadn’t thought about in from a body language or communicative sense. It is interesting thought the message the pose of the figure can send about the image, or drawing. The article discusses a universal language of how the human body communicates subconsciously. Elements of Primitivism.  Finally John Coplan in these works never photographs the face.

Fig 1 John Coplan Self Portrait Freize No 2 Four Panels 1994 Photograph, Black and white paper Silver Gelatin Print.

I have chosen the above image as it stands out to me as the photograph has captured the aging body, dark wire hairs and skin that is sagging and is wrinkling in place. I like how the sections of each photograph are juxtaposed slightly wonky and what this implies. He has made the aging body a fascinating subject.

Fig 1 John Coplan Self Portrait Freize No 2 Four Panels 1994 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/coplans-self-portrait-frieze-no-2-four-panels-p78534 (Accessed 2/9/2017).

Tate 2017 John Coplan 1985 Self Portrait (Hand Spread on knees) http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/coplans-self-portrait-torso-front-p11672 (Accessed 2/9/2017).


Tate 2017 John Coplan 1984 Self Portrait (Torso Front) http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/coplans-self-portrait-torso-front-p11672(Accessed 2/9/2017).






Assignment 5 Response to Tutor Feedback.

Response to Tutor feedback Assignment 5

Overall Comments

Thank you for my feedback and for the many positive comments. I am pleased that it highlights and shows that I have shown “good” further development and continued progress in experimentation, creative strategies, clear aims, structure and overall ways of working. There is also continued development of the observation of the human figure capturing weight, environment, interesting drawing qualities (line, gestural) through well observed drawings and exploration of composition as commented.

I have also noticed from this feedback  and with further reflection I have an increased strength in my own judgements/ critic/ self-evaluation and drawing observations. I think it shows a clearer alignment with what I am seeing and others see in my work (without being detrimentally self-critical). What I am seeing as “good” (word being used subjectively) is “good”.

From the feedback I received from previous assignments I wanted to be diligent in ensuring I had actioned all pointers and reflected/ taken on board all previous feedback. Thank you noting this has been done.

I have definitely gained a vast amount of knowledge through this assignment focusing on traditional drawing and incorporation of digital media. I have really enjoyed working with/ combining both areas.

Through this assignment I have unearthed stronger ways of working that has benefitted my analysis, visual language and narrative, this is a focus to continue to develop throughout the degree pathway.

Time and money (materials) have been the main constraint during Drawing Skills. I have continually battled between trying to demonstrated exceptional skills, being able to fully explore a subject whilst I ensure I work within the time perimeters I set to progress within the degree within a reasonable time frame. Especially as I have a view to use this degree to go into teaching. I think time constraints are reflected in this last assignment. Especially regarding the Reclining Man collage and to explore further narratives and contexts that I hinted at as I worked throughout this project. If I had more time this would have come to further fruition. Although I believe I did action the aim I set from the outset, it is positive that there are further resources here. I will of course as suggested continue to develop everything learnt into my next course, throughout the degree pathway and in personal work.

This was the first time I have worked without the boundaries of the exercises and I think it is extremely positive that it was noted that I “created a structure and some useful creative strategies within this assignment” that can be drawn on in the future.

After finishing Creative Arts today the confidence of receiving a 68% at assessment (March 2017) further reflected onto confidence within my research within Drawing 1. I can see how reflection of learning from Drawing Skills will reflect into my next course Understanding Painting Media.

Feedback on Assignment

I was diligent (as discussed from previous feedback) to set clear a clear aim as a starting point to explore a range of range of “visual language; line, colour and surface, combining both digital and drawing processes through devised creative strategies”.

I find it interesting how recent images viewed of Bonnard’s work from assignment 2 are now appearing in my work subconsciously.

I do not think that the final assignment pieces are my strongest part of this project (points mentioned in tutor feedback) comparatively to my sketch book work. I will revisit the images suggested as assignment strengths in line with my assignment set aim with a view to further reflect; mount them for the final assessment. However I think the path I set and I was working within was really strong and a valuable tool that as I progress onto my second practical course will continue to evolve.

Another key learning point as I develop my observational skills was the original collection of sketches/ images from Ibiza. I was aware from the outset it was a small body of work that could become a challenge to work from hopefully using photographs as a fall back. I will be conscious of this in the future as I develop my sketch books and observational skills that the initial research (sketches) needs to be more extensive going forward. Although I believe the drawings are beautiful sketches in their own right and were originally done to continue drawing practise whilst on holiday for pure pleasure. It was later on when reflecting at home I decided to use them for assignment 5 as I saw the potential for further development.

Thank you for the suggestions around my sketchbook experimentation being mounted and will further reflect on this when mounting for assessment. The work in my sketch book around the juxtaposition of images is stronger and with reflection can see how size/scale plays an important role with this. I think as previous assignments and some exercise all stipulated working to a larger scale I followed on from this. With hindsight for this assignment I could have given scale more thought as the drawings/collages worked better at a smaller scale.

I was aware that I had done a beautiful sketch of this Spanish man (who later I realised worked in a local restaurant) and was the initial inspiration for the project. When sketching I am naturally drawn to drawing things exactly as I see them in this case an older man. However this then caused procrastination through the challenge of how do I develop these?  As you commented “lovely soft fluid line across his flaccid stomach” and as you commented there’s something almost exquisite about this” seamed a struggle of how to connect the drawing and infuse the collage to the series of work that related to a series that I had already produced. On reflection the reclining man was possibly was a standalone piece that could have been developed exploring the context of man’s mortality further. I will look at John Copan’s self-portraits to help develop this character and context. Time did eventually become an issue here and again a valuable lesson on just experimenting and trying as opposed to procrastination to provide a more fluid creative journey that often achieves better results.

I think it is evident that when I am working with a life model the work is proportionally better (I work intuitively and observationally) over scaling up from drawings or photographs of how this reflects as proportions. Again I will be very conscious of this going forward (possible more research on scaling up). This reflects again in the stronger observational sketches.

Thank you for the comments under “Research/ Learning Logs”. I used a similar structure that I had received positive comments on previously which worked well. I also feel confident in the use of my learning log, sketch book to “archive your thought processes, analyse creative strategies and thoughts on how to apply your learning”. “Good to see that you are utilising diagrams to make connections between what you have learned, to reinforce learning and plan how you might apply these notions”.

I will reflect the pointers, recommended reading in my leaning log and sketch book in time for November assessment.

Assignment 5 Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments 

Thank you for the care taken in preparing and organising your portfolio.  The portfolio contained; An A3 sketchbook two-thirds complete, three A4 black & white digital prints, three A2 colour and one monochrome assignment outcomes.  The submission was supported by a link to the learning log.

I will comment upon specific aspects under each of the headings.  In relation to you reflecting on and responding to feedback from the previous assignment: there is evidence of you reflecting and applying this to your assignment 5 experimentation, invention and progression of visual ideas in the sketchbook.

You have gained knowledge and experience across drawing processes incorporating digital and traditional drawing and collage.  This has been a developing interest more recently driven by focused research into contemporary graphic and fine art collage.  There is a playful and enthusiastic batting of visual ideas across small-scale imagery.  This is a strength to build on in future work.

As a result of combining digital layering, manipulation and more traditional drawing media, you are exploring some rich and diverse surface qualities and effects.

The sketchbooks are evolving into a site of making, thinking and analysis.  This approach is to be encouraged and further developed as you progress onto UPM.  There are many surface and painterly qualities that could be explored through both drawing and painting.

You are researching a broad range of historical and contemporary artists, though it is benefitting your analysis and development to spend more time analysing a select number, at a deeper level.  This you are beginning to do in terms of their visual language and narrative, specifically in relation to composition, qualities of line and mark-making.  As you progress a deeper analysis and awareness of conveying content and context would also be of benefit.  This would better feed into your own consideration for the narrative or developing content; asking what else might you hope to explore and convey in your own work?   There were other potential narratives and a wider context at which you hinted, than you had time to explore in this assignment.  Something to consider, research and explore as you progress.

You created a structure and some useful creative strategies within this assignment, these you can draw on in the future.  Where you draw from observation and life you are beginning to perceive and convey the human form when using qualities of line and tone.  It is more difficult when relying on memory and  limited through photography only.  Continue to explore and develop these qualities of looking, perceiving and how you translate this experience through line and mark.

Assignment 5 Assessment potential

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

assessment (see Conditions of Enrolment, Section 2 a). Contact the OCA Course Advisors to discuss this further.

Feedback on assignment

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

The assignment initially focused on a clear and simple set of intentions; relating to a family Ibiza beach holiday, atmosphere, energy and climate.  This was developed by exploring a range of visual language; line, colour and surface, combining both digital and drawing processes through devised creative strategies.

The sketchbook developments from the drawings of the child and reclining woman, were taken through several stages of layering, permutation and development.  Transposing digital layering and editing techniques with more traditional notions of collage, line and surface qualities.

 Compositionally strong; the drawings were your foot / feet are peeping in the bottom foreground and the expanse of sand and sea fills the rectangle.  Where your right foot leads the viewer’s eye up through the picture-plane to the tiny pink figure, amidst the intensity of the blue sea. There is something in these images reminiscent of the Bonnard’s you were looking at recently.

On pages 5 & 6 (sketchbook)  there are some really interesting experiments with digital, watermarks and digital markers.  On pages 9 /10 the two top central images have a rich range of surface qualities conveying the dry, sandy heat.  The middle-left image has a richness of palette of blues and salmon pinks with calligraphy, gestural marks.  These qualities and explorations work well at A5 scale.  The intimacy of the scale intensifies the colour and surface qualities, this gets lost as you scale up to A2.  I encourage you to re-look through the sketchbook, these images could stand in their own right, if mounted together in a small series. (see Pointers)

It would have benefited your potential experimentation, exploration of composition and development of content to have had a much larger body of visual research to draw on.  It is more challenging to work with ideas from a small collection of visual documentation.  When on holiday you were recording your own visual resources to then bring home to work from, therefore this needed to be more extensive.  This is something to consider in future projects, if you start by accumulating a good body of visual resources– you will have much more source material to explore and develop.  

The reclining man seemed to be the least explored / developed of the three ‘characters’ and perhaps was a little rushed (run out of time?).  The visual language; gestural painted marks and colour seems less explored and considered than the child and reclining woman. There is a sense that this ‘character’ was underdeveloped.  There was a potential context to this character, that could have been developed further, to bring an interesting perspective to the reclining woman and young child.  The notion of the older man and the sense of mortality was an interesting possibility. Look at the John Coplans self-portraits (see  Research).

The reclining woman A2 drawings work well in the top half of the image, in terms of conveying her form.  There is a sense that you have translated the foreshortening of her bent legs and stomach.  The lower half of her figure is less well-observed with too thin arm-pits and shoulders. The process of drawing from a small A5 loose drawing and scaling-up to A2 seems to distort perception.

The sketches undertaken whilst on the beach from observation, had some well-observed and loose gestural qualities.

 The strengths of the assignment are in the range of creative strategies explored in the sketchbook images.  There are some particular pieces where you have been inventive and enthusiastically juxtaposed digital layering with staining, gestural mark-making and rich qualities of surface.  These for example; pages 5, 6, 9 and 10.  These images are strong enough to be mounted as finished pieces and are successful in terms of the set of intention,s you set yourself for the assignment.  I recommend you revisit these and if you can do so without damaging them, mount them up.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

 A varied approach to sketching and developing visual ideas.

The sketchbook archives a rich experimentation process with regards to qualities of surface, texture and use of digital collage.  There are several examples that stand out in relation to your initial intentions of exploring Ibiza as vibrant, intensity of colour, range of mark-making and surface texture.

You have some well-perceived qualities in the drawings of the young child squatting on the beach.  Here you have captured that sense of weight, low-centre of gravity and wobble that toddlers possess- well observed.

The pencil drawings you undertook in Ibiza, from life have a loose, yet well-observed quality.  In many your quality of line traces and retraces the form, reflecting how you are looking and trying to find; the angle and shape of shifting limbs.

In the reclining man you have conveyed a sense of his weight, slouched upon the sun-lounger and a lovely soft fluid line across his flaccid stomach.  There’s something almost exquisite about this.  There is a sense that this ‘character’ was underdeveloped.  There was a potential context to this character, that could have been developed further, to bring an interesting perspective to the reclining woman and young child.  Look at the John Coplans self-portraits (see  Research).


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

 A diverse and relevant range of primary and secondary sources.  These include exhibitions, student online forums, publications, online and digital technical and contextual material.  Continue to draw upon this broad range of sources as you progress onto UPM.

You are reflecting upon the visual language, composition and material qualities of your research in a concise yet analytical manner.  Now using your reflections to consider how these elements and aspects might feed into your work.

Having researched and considered recommendations from feedback on previously submitted assignment (3 not 4), you have utilised this to focus on your development of creative strategies and visual language.  This has been driven through the sketchbook in terms of DR.ME and echoes of Diebenkorn, Degas and Giacometti throughout.

It would be beneficial to take time to relook at the following aspects of how line (and mark-making en-masse), colour through line / mark-making are used to create composition, lead and direct the viewer’s gaze and attention.  How the quality of line, mark-making and colour relations help to create flow, dynamic movement and ‘frame’ the figure.  I encourage you to sit again with your research; Degas, Giacometti and Diebenkorn.  Then note what you learn and how you might apply this to your drawings.  This to build upon your developing visual acuity, being a visual learner look at how Degas uses the blue / brown pastel to lead the eye down the knee, interrupts and thins as it caresses the Bathers body. Look how the quality of ‘brown’ line / mark-making changes as it becomes a mass at the knees then softens and more densely frames the head / becomes hair.  Degas creates a dynamic drawing compositionally balanced diagonally.

Good, consistent Harvard referencing throughout.

See Research: Recommendations to feed your notion of the ‘older representation of man’;

John Coplans: photography relating to the reclining male.

Lucien Freud’s portraits of Leigh Bowery (both the paintings / drawings).

Rembrandt and his later self-portraiture: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/mar/29/rembrandt-old-age

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Good use of the log and sketchbook to archive your thought processes, analyse creative strategies and thoughts on how to apply your learning.

Good to see that you are utilising diagrams to make connections between what you have learned, to reinforce learning and plan how you might apply these notions. 

 Develop the thinking through diagrams as an exploratory and decision-making process; making these more visual could further help you to embed connections and take ideas further.  For example using collage, colour or differing qualities of line / mark.  See Tony Buzan’s Mindmapping.

Begin editing and selecting work from assignment 1 – 5 for your assessment (15th – 29th September submission for November deadline).  Look through the assessment guidelines and the criteria:


Suggested reading/viewing


John Coplans: photography relating to the third age of man / your reclining male.

Lucien Freud’s portraits of Leigh Bowery (both the paintings / drawings).

Rembrandt and his later self-portraiture: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/mar/29/rembrandt-old-age

Berger, J. (2005) Berger on Drawing (2nd edition) Cork: Occasional Press is an interesting book if you wish to continue your research into drawing, (and it is on the reading list for Drawing 1: Exploring Drawing Media).  I mention it specifically as it has an intriguing dialogue via letter between Berger and James Elkins, where they touch (in passing) on Giacometti and the use of the frame (pg. 105 – 114).

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Revisit your research on Degas, Giacometti and Diebenkorn to more closely look at and analyse the use of line, colour and mark-making and the visual dynamics of composition / ‘picture-making’. Make notes and post to your log.
  • Develop and expand on the thinking diagram to help you make connections and also make decisions and focus on which aspects to develop further. Use the visual elements that work; collage, line, mark-making.
  • Try taking out of your sketchbook the images mentioned above: pages 5, 6, 9 and 10. If you can’t remove without damaging them, try and scan then print out.  Flat mount in a group of 4 or 6 on ivory card.
  • Prior to your Hangout you will need to hone your work for the assessment submission. To choose work from across assignment 1 – 5 for your assessment (15th – 29th September submission for November deadline). Though assignment 1 isn’t taken into marked- you do need to submit it, so the assessment team can see where how far you’ve developed since the beginning of the course.  Look through the assessment guidelines, criteria and plan ahead:


Well done, I look forward to speaking with you about your assessment prep. on Friday 8th September 5.30pm.

Personal Project- Ifield Millpond.

For the past six weeks to help continued to draw on a regular basis before starting The Practise of Painting  I have been attending a local drawing group who walk around and draw local beauty spots. This time it was the Ifield Mill Pond in Crawley, which is rich in history and has been recently been renovated.

I particularly enjoyed this group as it focused on natural surroundings which is not a subject I automatically deviated towards during drawing 1. It has been so nice to just sketch, focusing on improving my pencil technique and practise observational skills. Additionally got refreshed on making a sketch book from sugar paper. The drawings which are everything from 2 or 5 minute sketches (timed) and further developed sketches will be exhibited on the 17th September at The Ifield Mill.




A Final Thought…

I recently read Wall and Piece, by Banksy I enjoy his quotes and philosophy on life as much as his art. I also love his boldness and self promoting by adding his work to the Tate or the Natural History Museum along with the many walls of the world. Spray paint is something I would like to explore at a later date. Here is my favourite quote from Wall and Piece to end Assignment 5. Something I will continue to do, learn to draw, in the many different ways possible:

“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared
to learn to draw?” (Banksy 2006).






Bansy, 2006  Wall and Piece, Century Publishing.