Part 1. Assignment 1 – Tutor Feedback


Student name Angela Johnson Student number  513795
Course/Module Drawing 1 Assignment number 1

Overall Comments

Assessment potential (after Assignment 1)

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.”

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

project 1 exercise 1 lines and marks

Remember to revisit this idea and continue to push your use of different mark making during this course.

Project 2 prep work ex 1 group of objects

A very thorough set of experiments and I agree that the ink and bleach or whatever is the most successful, and that is the one you have pursued. As you use more experimental approaches, you seem more able to pick up on the visual characteristics of what you are looking at and make bolder compositional decisions (whereas the blue study is relatively bland and samey).

Final Piece

This lacks the tonal drama of the prep work, but I can see that this is intentional. You have made an intriguing fusion of the man made and the organic and seem to refer to astronomy and cartography along the way in a way which suggests to connectedness and a the connection between science and nature. This diffuse composition is reminiscent of much contemporary drawing such as Paul Noble’s invented town drawings.

Project 2 exercise 2 prep observing shadow

These are successful. I find myself wanting to see one done at a different pace, just to see what happens when you try to pick up the more subtle observational stuff. Maybe I will see that in your sketchbook.

Final Piece

The cropping is good, but as you have slowed down and gone for the subtlety I mentioned was missing in the prep I feel as if you haven’t quite got there. Its still very good, thete are just moments where edges meet that are fudged, and they seem to be where the power fo this composition lies. The back of the small ball where it occludes the larger one for example could have ben tightened up a little .

part two exercise 3 prep [shadow with lines and marks]

again the ink drawing is very good, and you have generally engaged more wit this than the earlier markmaking exercises.

Final pieces.

In two of these your base elipses go to a point where they need to round off. In other words they are leaf shaped but you always need to nick off the pointed end as if you are going round to draw behind the vessel.

The hatched piece on blue paper is the most successful for me as it starts to pull out elements of the design and composition in interesting ways and shows you being sensitive to relationships within the subject as well as to the personality of the technique of hatching. This is a composition of radial elements as much as it is a drawing of three objects and that is a good thing. It answers the question ‘why am I drawing this?’ – ‘where is the visual power of this situated’?

Project 2 exercise 4 reflected light prep

two experiments in composition and some nice dramatic drawing which still picks up a good amount of sensitive detail and accuracy.

Final piece

I like this one as it has space and a bit of calm about it. Also, you are using the space of the picture plane here more inventively and I feel you hold the power of the whole page here whereas at times previously drawings have tailed off at the edges. Something funny is happening with the black shadow under the bowl on the right hand side but that is just a technical detail. It feels a bit high.

Personal still life prep

I love the tiny print of the head, I don’t quite get the multiple one, the single seems precious and intense which suits your theme.

In part two the work seems to narrow down and become illustrative. I am starting to get concerned but I know that the final piece is in that enormous tube so I am still hopeful. This is a very complex still life and you had very high expectations of it in terms of its outcome. Maybe the concept has flattened your delivery but I feel as if you were talking of all sorts of things in your log extract and yet this is a nice but fairly straightforward still life. Ritual, ascension, method, repetition, cycles of time and genealogy. These seemed better represented by the very first drawing I saw with the cartographic abstraction.

Final Piece

Thankfully, your final piece is a complete departure from your prep, and I am pleased to see that research into contemporary artists helped here, to remind you to foreground your relationship with the objects. Looking at your questions in your log, I will use them as headings

  •  I need to research composition

Do remember that research can be done practically (action research) and don’t assume there is a book out there which will give you the answers. Composition has a history, but contemporary art is free to borrow compositional tropes from everywhere from road signs to medieval altarpieces, so you might be better researching personally according to need (i.e. research the composition of ritual imagery for a drawing about rituals and offerings or whatever). You will learn by drawing, experimenting and reflecting critically too. You have a range of compositions in this assignment, learn from your own successes here.

  • I need to learn more about my materials and how to choose paper appropriately (which I realised is also down to experience)

yes it is, but don’t get too bogged down with this, sometimes people can get too caught up in paper and tools but really it’s the energy, thoughts and visual curiosity that will win in a drawing, no matter what the materials.

  • It helps me if I define parameters or set a process at the beginning of my work

This is common to many contemporary artists, I can see that this could well be fruitful for you looking at your interests. Alison Churchill, a level 3 student, is doing just this. I have put links to her blogs below.

  • I should always try and research an artist for each piece that I do as it deepens my work immensely

Your research and your practice should be symbiotic, so do also be on the lookout for what your own work has to say to you and use that as a springboard into new research. At this level it is probably fine to research one artist per exercise as it were, but over time I would hope the influence of the research would be less direct and more diffuse, and you will be melding together lots of threads.

  • Working on preparatory sketches really helps to get to know the feel of the items on a more energetic level

Yes it does – and remember drawing is a performative act too.

  • I need to find a way of working on the floor that doesn’t mean I keep smudging what I have done.  I want to be able to retain the clarity of my lines and I don’t know a way of doing this yet.

Possible solutions:

Don’t use stuff that smudges

Use extending poles so you can work from the edge

Work on more than one at a time so you can work on one whilst one dries

Revisit whether you need to work on the floor

I work on portfolios in my home office which is too small to view this work. In future, can you please video larger work and send me the file.

This is an intriguing drawing which immediately draws the viewer’s attention to your presence and to the time it took to make. There is archaeology here, tracings of things that have happened.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

The sketchbook mouse in pastel is lovely, really open and quite fun despite its gruesome subject.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays


Working with the Mick Maslin book alongside this course is a really good idea. It is a great book and informed by a long career teaching foundation drawing.

I wonder whether you will be able to find anything on your blog as it is so long? It should be a place you lodge your research and key points that you need to remember and work with. It should be vital, it’s not a journal. You can always have a section for that but maybe have a heading for current issues or something that I can look at which cuts to the chase.

Suggested reading/viewing


“In 2005, after a long career in languages, linguistics, and language software development I enrolled in the drawing program at Seattle’s Gage Academy of Art. Gage Academy teaches classical methods and techniques, but its mission is broader: to help artists “meet the challenges of creating contemporary art with insight, skill and sound technique.” Margaret Davidson, my primary drawing instructor at Gage, guided me through realism and then on to abstraction and minimalism. I am the artist I am today because of her, and I was thrilled and honored when she included two of my drawings in her 2011 book Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques.

I have been influenced by the work of Agnes Martin, Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), Vija Celmins, Eva Hesse, and Brice Marden, and I return to those sources as I explore the many pathways between beauty, thought, and art.”

Please look up all the artists listed above in Joseph’s blog and come to your own conclusions. Have a look at their autobiographies too as a couple of them make very personal intimate work.

Book on composition

This seems interesting. You would need to read it fairly lightly and selfishly – extract phrases or ideas which you feel might be relevant to your own practice.

You can open this link and read the whole book.

Alison Churchill L3 student blogs. Alison is interested in spirituality, movement, meditation and holistic energies.

Re final piece and performative drawing on the floor and elsewhere:

PaulNoble? (not sure)

Grayson Perry’s drawings

Ana Mendieta

Pointers for the next assignment

Please do try to be more concise on your blog as I really struggled with this submission. I found myself putting off doing it as it was so unwieldy, which was stressful and resulted in delays. Perversely, despite the really huge amount of work, I feel as if I didn’t really get to the bottom of your complex and ambitious plans and I hope to get a better understanding as we progress. You have made a great job of this assignment and I am sure you will flourish in this course, but do feel free to push it and bend it to allow you to make progress with your aspirations for self expression and contemporary art research.


Tutor name: Emma Drye
Date 19/04/2015
Next assignment due 25/06/2015

One thought on “Part 1. Assignment 1 – Tutor Feedback

  1. Amazing feedback. Incredibly helpful, informative, constructive and inspiring. I feel that everything in the report pushes me forwards, helps me open my eyes to a deeper way of working. The artists research is spot on and I am feeling incredibly lucky to have this kind of feedback so early on to guide me. Totally see what I need to do with my blog – I hadn’t connected with this being my own tool of reference – suddenly see what a valuable resource it is and how I need to approach it clearly, succinctly and to the point! Thanks Emma for persevering!


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