Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Tutor Report following Assignment 3

Tutor Report Form

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

Overall Comments

Thank you for forwarding the work for your third assignment, together with the preliminary work, your work for the exercises and your sketchbook pages.  I still cannot access your blog via the link you provided in your profile, but was able to get into it through the OCA site this time to allow me to read your learning log notes and research.  

Feedback on assignment

You carried out a great deal of work for the section dealing with working outdoors.  Your first representational painting of a landscape does not have the spontaneity of the sketches and perhaps you were thinking too much rather than responding to your memories of the scene.  Do you think that your selection of media, i.e. ink line and watercolour, influenced your approach to the painting and made you concentrate on detail?  The second painting from outdoor studies is painted more freely and the palette works well.  You have captured the aerial perspective to give a real feeling of distance in the view, although your painting does not have the dark dramatic tone which makes the foreground broken tree the focal point of the charcoal study.  I think that the third painting in this series is the most successful, taking the small pencil sketch into a more developed painting.  The palette works well to create a landscape which is full of life and movement. 

Your finished painting of a different view is darker in tone than in the studies and I see from your notes that the sky was becoming overcast as you completed your outdoor session.  Did you take photographs of the darkening clouds as you were leaving or did you paint this from memory?

The separate studies you made have been combined together well to create your imaginary landscape and I am glad that you enjoyed this project more than you expected.  There is a contrast between the way in which the foreground trees have been simplified, with a drawn line around the shapes of the foliage, and the textured brushwork of the background and sky. 

This seems to separate the painting into two, apart from the area on the right of the foreground and it is important that you consider how to make the painting work as a whole.   Look at some of the later surrealist work of Paul Nash, such as ‘Event on the Downs’ to see how he achieved this. 

You have a lot of experience in using oils and acrylics together and your painting of the church in Normandy shows successful use of acrylic under painting with oils used over this in selected areas and in glazes.  In your painting on the spot, you have been able to capture the sense of mystery in looking through the mist across the water.  The charcoal sketch provided the tonal information required with a feeling of the drama.  I agree that it was a good idea to work on the foreground water from direct observation and then complete the rest of the painting back in the studio.  The reflections of the diagonal trees help to make this composition work well and I particularly like your handling of colour in the water.

In your urban landscape of the Spanish street influenced by John Piper, it was a good idea to amalgamate two photographs to set up tension between the two figures and the suggestion of the figures, without too much detail, is enough to create this.  Your painting has a good interpretation of the light, which shows that this is clearly a sunny Mediterranean scene, although the colour of the painting is more muted in reality than in your blog photograph which is why it is important for me to see the actual work.  The layering of colour, together with scratching into the surface to add different textures, is successful and can be appreciated by seeing the painting rather than the photograph and this is something to consider when selecting which work you will submit for assessment. 

For the extended landscape painting, the cropped photograph of the colour study in your blog looks quite different from the actual study, as the colour appears much brighter and you have removed the large area of brown paper around the edge of the drawing, which changes the balance of colour.  The final painting is also darker in tone than the photograph, which means that your intended lack of detail underneath the trees in the foreground is seen more clearly.  I agree that the background could have been treated in the same way and the dribble painted sky adds interest and texture without being too representational.  The oil pastels worked well over the acrylic painting and I hope that you will continue to explore this use of mixed media in your work.

In your preliminary work for autumn, I am glad that you enjoyed making the monoprints to investigate the random effects which can be found by accident and then exploited to develop an image.  It has also been worthwhile for you to experiment with sacking over hardboard as a support, although as you discovered this can create texture where you don’t want it. 

Have you considered using sacking or scrim as collage shapes to add texture in selected areas of the canvas rather than over the whole surface, as in this untitled abstract work by Sandra Blow?  I can see that your preliminary study for autumn has been influenced by John Piper to create a semi abstract work.  I think that the final painting is the most successful of your ‘Seasons’ series so far, as it tries to convey the life cycle in a more expressive way.  The relevance of the traffic lights will be more visible when all of the paintings are viewed together and you will have to give considerable thought as to how this will be represented in your abstract painting for ‘Winter’. 

I could not find any preliminary studies for this work and note that you used earlier sketches of the apple tree as a starting point.  Although you are developing ideas in a semi abstract way, it is still important to have evidence of your studies to show how your ideas came together.


The photographs of your sketchbook work on your blog are enough to let me see that this element of your work continues to develop into a good visual diary which will help to inform your paintings.

Learning logs/critical essays

Your research continues to be carried out thoroughly with plenty of evidence of study and your personal comments on the work you have researched.   You also provide plenty of notes in response to the ‘Check and Log’ questions, to show constructive analysis of your own work.

Suggested reading/viewing

For the next assignment introducing abstraction, I know that your interest in this subject means that you will carry out a great deal of research.  Please let me know about any particular artists of interest you may have, to enable me to suggest other similar artists for your research.

Pointers for the next assignment

You have reduced the weight of your parcel significantly and your work on prepared paper can be easily mounted if you wish to include these in your assessment submission.  For the next assignment you should send the final ‘Seasons’ painting of ‘Winter’, with at least one final piece from the exercises in this section. I will suggest a target date of 30th April for Assignment 4, but if you have any difficulty with this suggested timetable, please let me know. 

Tutor name:
Jane Mitchell
29th January 2012
Next assignment due
30th April 2012

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