Here I am at the end of what initially felt like an endless journey. I remember opening the Drawing One workbook for the first time, flicking through and thinking “how on earth am I ever going to manage all this?”. Well, i did and right now I have a tremendous sense of achievement and a sense of being more informed, more confident and more capable than I was at the outset. I also know I’ve still got a lot to learn and that there are no short cuts!
Initially I thought I’d complete Drawing One in a year. In reality it took the best part of 20 months. The course became a bit of a security blanket when I lost my dear Dad and, shortly after, my beloved Aunt. It felt like something positive and rewarding to hang on to while I was dealing with my grief, organising funerals and trying to get my head around probate.
I did lose my focus once or twice. I found it difficult sometimes to switch from the pressures of work to the creativity of drawing. I used up a lot of time by going back to rework exercises I wasn’t happy with, with mixed results as the more tense I get about the outcome of my work, the less expressive and successful it tends to be. But I got there in the end and I feel energised by the process. I want to continue my learning journey … probably with Painting 1. I’ll give myself a month or two as a break before registering. Not as a break from drawing but as an opportunity to develop some of the multitude of ideas that emerged from the course and got me excited.
I’d like to thank my tutor Simon Manfield for his patience with my ever changing deadlines, and his motivational and constructive reports on my work to date. I look forward to your feedback on this last assignment Simon. I will also appreciate your help, in due course, to choose the drawings to submit for formal assessment.
SELF ASSESSMENT AGAINST CRITERIA
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness and compositional skills.
I think I can say that I’ve developed in all these areas. My quick sketches are more accurate, reflecting better observational skills and an improved ability to transfer what I see to paper. I’ve become aware of new drawing techniques and felt confident to experiment and explore and develop my own techniques. I’m becoming a better judge of composition. I tend to start out with drawings that are overly fussy and benefit from being cropped or simplified. I can see that now.
Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
When experimenting not everything is going to work so I continue to produce drawings with a mixed quality of outcome.
I’ve found the research projects, together with gallery visits and dipping into books and the internet invaluable. I’m learning that at every stage it helps to stop and look around, see what else is going on. At the start of Part 5 I found a visit to the Jerwood Drawing Prize Finalists’ Show an immensely rewarding experience – it opened up my mind to the many different approaches to making marks and got my mind buzzing with ideas.
I’ve found that if I’m stuck and feeling reluctant to put pencil to paper I can revitalise myself by looking through books, including Drawing Now and Vitamin D and others on the course reading list. I’ve now built up a quite a good reference library, and I use it. The internet is great but it is good to get away from a screen. I’ve learnt that a visit to a local gallery can be every bit as interesting as traipsing to London for one of the blockbuster shows. We have some great local artists here in Suffolk including Constance Stubbs. I enjoyed my first study visit to the Sainsbury Centre for the Reality exhibition. I’m looking, seeing and thinking in a different way and making better connections with my own work.
I believe my work is presented in a coherent way and that I’ve shown discernment in the sense of an ability to assess my own work and make better decisions about where and how to invest my time and energy. I believe I communicate my ideas reasonably well. I’m not so sure about the conceptualisation of ideas… I’m a bit of a novice in this area but one, hopefully, with some potential!
Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of personal voice.
This is all starting to come together as my confidence to do my own thing and be inventive grows. Having just finished my first module with the OCA. I’m a few steps forward on long journey but I believe I am developing rapidly and will continue to do so. I often get frustrated that the amount of work required to complete the exercises in a reasonable time frame gets in the way of independent exploration but I guess this changes as students move into Level 2. I’ve decided to have a short break before staring my next module to pursue some ideas that have developed during Drawing One before they evaporate and desert me!
Context – reflection, research, critical thinking, learning log
Maintaining an online learning log feels quite a burden at times but I now see it as a valuable tool. I’ve been back through earlier work on many occasions to seek inspiration and a way forward. Having an easily accessible, written record of my learning, discoveries and inspirations is an asset. I also enjoy sharing my blog with family, friends and followers. (I’ve already touched on the value of research above.)
I think about art and creativity a lot; its role in my life, in our society and how striving to create makes me feel frustrated at times but also driven and rewarded. The OCA has helped art to become embedded in my life. It is teaching me to evaluate my own work and shown me how to explore and engage more deeply with my subjects and ideas and, in the process, led me to better outcomes. There have of course been a few slip ups on the way!