Having a personal tutor from the OCA who is a practicing artist has been invaluable. I often feel isolated on the course, particularly with a practical art course, not pure academic or theory based such as art history.
My tutor has been really helpful, honest and insightful. I'm grateful to her for her advice and guidance.
Below is a summary of the feedback.
Overall Comments We talked about concentrating on your learning rather than the results - analyse what is in front of you, try to understand how the lights and darks convey the information. If you concentrate on your learning the results will follow.
True: I've been focussed on the finished outcomes rather than learning about what I'm looking at; I think changing my mental focus will help me to see differently and consequently draw/paint differently.
Don't be limited by line - open the door of tones and colour; the use of fluid mediums are possible within the drawing course - look at other students work to see that a wide range of media are being used. And this might help you get into the consideration of tonal structure.
I have often felt constricted by the idea of drawing when what I really want to do is paint - and I've not really looked at other student's work. I started to at the beginning of the course, but found myself either distracted by their work, anxious as I compared my work to theirs or irritated by some anxieties or questions students raised, that seemed obvious to me. I need a more patient approach to looking at their work. But I also find the OCA assignment instructions either confusing or strangely limiting and so feel limited myself.
How to engage/find your interest - and how an artist’s interest is evident in their work. Not always easy to find but necessary to search for it. It might be in the media, the technique, the subject, the concept etc.
Something I need to reflect on as I progress through the development work.
I think this is in part due to doing a fine art degree as a distance learning course; you're not surrounded by artists/creatives bouncing ideas around, no shared experience and place to be together. I have tried connecting with other OCA students online but somehow it doesn't quite work for me.
Working and managing the demands of middle-age
Nevertheless, having identified this as a challenge I need to find ways round it.
On a positive note: we also talked about I have become interested in portrait and particularly the gaze - good! follow on.
Research We talked about making your research more specific - better to identify something/anything
that you can learn from one image than collecting a broad range of images without really considering any in depth.
I tended to be overwhelmed with research: I tried to look at work in an historical sequence, but there's so much, it's so broad I got rather lost and didn't spend long looking at any one thing. I need to address this and spend more time with fewer works.
Learning Logs/Blogs We talked about making sure you capture your learning and your inclinations in your
reflection - e.g. your thoughts about the lovely drawing of the girl in half shadow - so that these fragments build a channel, a momentum for you.
My tutor suggested that I put all my assignments and reflections onto the blog, and relocating the blog onto a site separate from my professional website, so I intend to do this at the end of the Drawing 1 module, but think it would be confusing for tutors/assessment if I did this part way through. My plan will then be to break the blog down simply by the assignments/projects in the OCA syllabus and enter every item I create or research I do as I do it. So far, I've found it difficult to know what to put into sketchbooks, what to present as assignments and what to show in the blog.
I think the answer is do as much work as possible in a variety of sketchbooks; present the assignments as outlined in the syllabus and put everything in the blog.
Put reflections on research in the blog; spend more time reviewing the work I do and put that in the blog; notice what interests me.. and yes, put that in the blog.
Suggested reading/viewing Find specific artwork and images that interest you or that you can learn something from -
and work out what it is exactly. e.g. - you mentioned Chuck Close - be more specific what it is you find engaging about his work.
Pointers for the next assignment Reflect on our video chat in your learning log.
Here it is! Tick!
Construct a project for the next assignment that involves some exploration and learning
and will lead to an assignment where you can employ this learning. Find a way to find and engage your interest and enthusiasm.
Well done, you have accomplished and learnt a lot through the first four assignments of this course. Embrace this learning and throw yourself into the last assignment 5 - this is your chance to lead your own investigation/exploration and complete a final piece of your own choosing. I should also say - don’t be daunted - this is not your defining piece, it is just one project amongst what I hope will be many more. But make it exciting and relevant to you at this time in your journey.
There's a lot for me to think about and I still find it difficult to make time to think, look and reflect during a busy life, running a business, continuing my work as an art therapist, attending to family, managing life. But that's life, so here goes!