Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Tutor Report, Assignment 4

Tutor Report Form


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

Page 1 of 4


Overall Comments

Thank you for forwarding the work for your fourth assignment, together with the preliminary work and your work for the exercises.  I still have to access your blog through the OCA site to read your learning log notes and research but this has not been a problem.  You continue to work consistently through the course work and it is clear that you are devoting the required amount of time to your course.


Feedback on assignment

I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the exercise in abstracting from form and found this a useful technique to explore abstract ideas.  Your two paintings have been successful in flattening space and it is interesting to see the contrast between abstraction into curvilinear and rectilinear shapes.   

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell The Blue Fan

 In the first, it is still possible to recognise the form of the objects, especially the blue bird and the red fabric.  Did you consider turning the painting around to view it another way, such as upside down, as a way to avoid recognition of the objects?  What do you think of the balance of colour throughout?  I think you would appreciate the flattened still life paintings of F C B Cadell, such as ‘The Blue Fan’.  In the rectilinear 

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell The Blue Fan

 abstracted painting, it is not clear why you would want the three black marks to be read as people when you are trying to abstract the image. 


The brief for abstracting near and far asked you to ensure that there is no illusory space, but your painterly treatment of the landscape, and especially the perspective of the rows in the field, gives a real sense of depth to your painting.  Perhaps if you had used the same colour palette for the near objects as you used for the area outside, this may have made it easier to combine the forms of the still life with the view from the window?  What do you think? You have resolved this more in the second painting in watercolour and ink, where the echoing of the circular shapes creates a link between the different areas of the painting to flatten the space.  What influenced your choice of colour palette in the horizontal bands of colour?

Page 2 of 4

The abstraction of your grandson’s head has been successful in losing the form and you have been able to move away from recognisable features.  The problem with a photograph is that the colours are not nearly so strong and bright in the actual painting as they are in your blog.  This changes the balance of the composition, especially the arc of turquoise green marks at the upper left, which can barely be seen in the actual painting.  


Your seascape influenced by Patrick Heron and Terry Frost is painterly rather than simplified into basic shapes, which produces a recognisable image but I like the way in which you have created such a vertiginous feeling of looking over a cliff.


Your A3 hard-edge painting is rather derivative of the work of Malevich and it is clear that you carried out a lot of research into his work.  Did you experiment with colour as suggested to investigate the interaction of colours, such as juxtaposing complementaries or using adjacent colours to create harmony?  Look at the series of paintings by Josef Albers in his Homage to the Square, such as ‘On an Early Sky’ to see how the paintings are transformed by the juxtaposition of colours.  You have been very successful in achieving a flat surface, avoiding the visibility of brush strokes, and although you say you had difficulty with the masking tape on the paper, your attempt at this technique of painting is good. 


In your painting of hard-edge abstract expressionism, I am not convinced that the yellow was a strong enough colour for the ground as the colour in the actual painting is not nearly as saturated as in the photograph in your blog.  Although you felt that this particular image worked best without the addition of any marks in oil pastel, I would like you to try this experiment to explore what can be achieved.  The painting by Richard Liley in the course book exploits the addition of this media to add energy and movement into the work, making it more expressive than it would have been without the addition of these marks. 


In your preliminary work for the ‘Winter’ painting, the exercise in working from a photograph has been very good in capturing the rain, due to the directional marks in pastel and your use of the grey paper as a ground helped to convey mood and atmosphere.  I like your idea of simplifying the shapes of raindrops on glass, but the background in the photograph is blue and in reality this is untouched white paper.  Can you see how this changes the mood of the painting and why it is difficult for a tutor to judge work and offer effective feedback from photographs alone?  Look at ‘Gamma Epsilon’ by Morris Louis to see his approach to using hard-edge colour shapes on a white support.


Page 3 of 4

Your watercolour study of trees is also not as vividly coloured in reality as in the blog photographs, which means that the trees do not stand out as much against the background.  The white oil pastel on the tree trunks has been a good addition, as this adds the suggestion of the texture of snow blown against the trees.  In your series of studies for this exercise, the study of the field running towards the trees in the distance is the most expressive.  As soon as you add the building, you are tempted to add detail and move away from abstraction.


You listened to Vivaldi’s winter music and you did well in such a short time to use marks and colour effectively to convey the season.  You are correct in observing that one of the most important lessons to learn in abstraction is when to stop, and I agree that you made the correct decision on this painting.


In the ‘Winter’ painting for your seasons series, it is good to see you follow your concept through to this season.  It was very good timing that you reached this following on the section on abstraction, which enabled you to take what you had learned into the final painting.  I am glad that you acknowledged the problem of trying to combine hard-edge flat painting with a more painterly approach in the same image, as this is very difficult to get right and I found that this created a sense of space in your painting, dividing it into an abstract interior and a more representational view through a frosted window.  Your notes help to explain your thinking about the symbolic meaning of the colours you used, but although you imitated the red used by Malevich it is not clear why you chose this particular colour.  Although you say that you wanted to use a warm colour, did you consider using orange as the complementary of the blue you used in the exterior space? 


I am glad that you were able to experiment with different styles and techniques in each of your seasonal paintings, and you will have learned a great deal about different painting styles from this process.  It does not matter if the four paintings cannot be seen as a polyptych, as it is expected that each student should take their own individual approach to this extended project.



The photographs of your sketchbook work in your blog are enough to confirm that you continue to develop this element of your work and there is no need to send the actual book to me with the assignment work.


Learning logs/critical essays

The folders in your blog are rather confusing, as I expected all the work for Assignment 4 to be in the folder marked ‘Assignment 4’, but this only included your comments on the first two exercises.  I had to search for the other notes on your work and traced all of it to the folder marked ‘Abstraction’.  I’m sure you must have carried out the research into Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Ben Nicholson because you are always thorough, but I can’t find this flagged up anywhere in your blog.  For assessment, you should make the contents list very clear and avoid a situation where the assessors have to search around for the relevant notes.   

Page 4 of 4

Suggested reading/viewing

For the next assignment dealing with abstract expressionism, I hope that you will take the opportunity to experiment as boldly as possible in mixed media.  Be prepared to look wider than the artists named in the course book for your research, such as the work of Lee Krasner in examples like ‘Towards One’. Please let me know about any particular artists in whom you are interested, to enable me to suggest other similar artists for your research.


Pointers for the next assignment

Please do not use shredded paper as packing material as this creates quite a mess when unpacked and you should certainly not do this when sending your work for assessment.  You must remember to put your name and student number on the back of each piece of work.  I try to avoid opening more than one student assignment at a time, but this will not be the case during the assessment process and you should not risk the misplacement of any of your work.  For the fifth and final assignment you should send me the two paintings completed for ‘Your Own Work’, together with the best four exercises from the experimenting section and the remainder of the work can be uploaded to your blog with your comments.   I will suggest a target date of 31st August for Assignment 5, which should help you to meet the submission dates for the November assessment, but if you have any difficulty with this suggested timetable, please let me know. 


Tutor name:
Jane Mitchell
29th May 2012
Next assignment due
31st August 2012

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