Monday, 17 October 2011

Tutor Report following Assignment 2

Tutor Report Form

Student name:
Syliva Philpot
Student number:
Course/Module title:
Painting 2: Exploring Concepts
Assignment number:

Overall Comments

Thank you for forwarding the work for your second assignment, together with the preliminary work and your sketchbooks.  As you know I have had difficulty in accessing your blog, but the emailed documents were enough to let me see your learning log notes and research.   You were very fortunate to find a suitable model for the exercises and to be able to attend life drawing classes where you could find some poses to meet the requirements of the course work.  I am not clear why you have written in your blog that life drawings could not be included with this assignment, as we had an exchange of emails on this subject.  Life drawing is not a compulsory part of the course but you are able to include these where appropriate.

Feedback on assignment

Your work for the first exercises was mainly carried out at the life drawing class and I am glad to see you exploring different angles and viewpoints to observe the balance of the figure.  The seated pose work in the sketchbook shows figures sitting comfortably, although you should look carefully to check the size of the head in comparison to the body.   There is a very effective use of tone in the standing figure of the female nude.  In the exercises in looking, you have carried out a lot of good experimentation using different techniques and materials.  The stick paintings are successful and I am glad that you enjoyed this method of working.  It was an excellent idea to work on mid toned paper and the pastel drawings of the seated figures, especially the female figure, has been very well observed.  The balance of the weight of the figure is clear, as is the direction of the light source. 

You show a clear understanding of the concept of negative space, although the proportions of the body appear to be out.  Look at ‘Nude’, a pencil and crayon drawing by Georges Seurat to see how he uses this to show the form of the figure.  Your quickly painted side view in acrylic paint is well observed, using the white of the paper to show through for the highlights.  This portrait is expressive and well drawn. 

You do not need to include drawings which have been produced in the life class which have no connection to the projects in the course book, as this adds to the bulk of your parcel.  In the seated figure with pattern, the head appears rather small for the body again and this is something for you to pay attention to when working with the figure.  This painting shows good use of collage to emphasise the blocks of colour in the background, which also add texture, and I particularly like the way in which you echoed the shapes of the pattern of her top in the background.  I realise that you drew a black line around the figure to make her look like a cut out, but you do not make it clear why you decided to do this, as the figure appears to be flat rather than three dimensional.

Your sketchbook work for the extended pose is good as you explored different options and the twist in the body has been well thought through.  This painting concentrates on the model rather than the background, and I note that you used a palette knife for the background.  Why did you decide to cover this large area in thicker white paint rather than leave the white of the canvas to show through a thin wash of colour? I am glad that you allowed her foot to disappear off the edge of the painting, instead of trying to squeeze it in, but preliminary thumbnail sketches would have helped you to avoid this problem in the composition and fit the figure to the rectangle.  The upper body and head of the figure are well painted and there is enough of the pattern on the blouse indicated to make this clear without too much detail.  The palette you used for the skin tone is good; although I think that the background lacks the warmth of the figure and seems to be quite separate.  I note that you spent less time than required on this painting and perhaps a little more work on the background would have helped to link the figure to her environment a little more.  What do you think?

Your self portrait at work links the figure to the background more effectively and there is a lot of information.  The light spilling into the interior from the doorway provides atmosphere and it was a very good idea to provide harmony in the painting by echoing the same colours throughout, such as the blue of your sweater repeated elsewhere in the painting. 

Your self portrait head is very successful in use of colour and in proportion and I can see that you have achieved a likeness.  The brush strokes have been used expressively and white paint has been reserved selectively for highlights on the pearl earring and spectacles.  The glasses have been painted well as they do not dominate the face.  Although you were influenced by Gianni Maimeri’s ‘Woman Seated’, the lighting conditions you have used have created a completely different tonal range in your painting.   I would like to see you experiment with a full range of tones and use less white paint, which can give the appearance of sugared almonds if used excessively.

I am glad that you decided to redo the initial ‘green’ painting and make this your Summer seasonal painting instead.  The second ‘green’ painting most definitely meets the brief and there is a good contrast in tone to show the light through the trees to give depth to the painting. 
Be careful that the brush strokes are not a similar size in the foreground and middle distance, as the marks you make will also suggest depth in the view, as seen in Van Gogh’s painting of ‘Trees and Undergrowth’.  You did not include any sketches or colour studies with the sketchbook work – did you gather information for the painting? 

I could not find any learning log notes in connection with your seasonal work which means I was unable to ready your explanation for the two still life groups entitled ‘parallel project summer’ or for the tennis drawings.  What is the purpose of the square ‘cubist’ painting based on two figures with pints of lager and traffic lights?  This seems to be linked to the spring painting but you say that the summer painting is the garden scene. 

It was a good idea to work in the garden for ease of working outdoors as any practical problems can be more easily overcome.  I would suggest that you look at the variety in size of your mark making to show differences of texture of the foliage, lawn and building.  The impression of the figures provides enough information and you were correct to avoid too much detail in these.  Always check the consistency of shadow direction as the sun seems to be overhead of the figures on the patio, but long shadows are cast across the lawn.  Was the sky really so dark in tone on such as sunny day?  In her watercolour painting of ‘Silver Birches’, Lucy Willis has used the direction of the shadows as an important part of the composition. 


You do not need to send the actual sketchbooks in future, as emailed photographs will be enough to let me see your preparatory work and this will also save on the weight of your parcel.  Your sketchbook work is good and these books are developing into a valuable resource to inform your paintings.

Learning logs/critical essays

You have sent enough evidence to let me see that you are continuing to devote the required amount of time on this element of the course work.  Hopefully the problem in accessing your blog is a temporary one.

Suggested reading/viewing

For the next assignment dealing with the landscape, follow up all of the references to the artists suggested in the course book and try to find contemporary exhibitions of landscape work.  Please let me know about any particular interest you may have in landscape, to enable me to suggest other artists for your research.

Pointers for the next assignment

You must learn to be more selective about what you send for assignments as guidance from OCA asks that these should not weigh more than 2kg and this parcel was over 8kg.  You were required to send the seasonal work and at least one final piece from this section, rather than every single piece you completed as well as some extra work not required, and you should carefully consider what to send in future.  This is especially important as you are working on board, which is not required for the initial exercises, and you should remember that submission for assessment asks you to restrict your final portfolio to a maximum of 15kg.  

For the next assignment you will be working in the landscape, exploring studio paintings, working outdoors and using sketches and photographs to inform your painting. You will also be working on the ‘Autumn’ seasonal painting and I will suggest a target date of 31st December for Assignment 3, but if you have any difficulty with this suggested timetable, please let me know. 

Tutor name:
Jane Mitchell
12th October 2011

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