Category Archives: Reflection

Overall course analysis. Pop

Ramsgate Carnival 2017.

This was an event that was entered by the Ramsgate Arts Group and was an opportunity for me to get involved in a sociable art project. Since March we have been dedicated to attending 2 hour workshops every Thursday and creating props for the Ramsgate Carnival and the Ramsgate Arts festival, both very busy summer events for the local community.

I have mentioned this before in a post called Art Residential project. The reason I’m revisiting this experience is of something that I noticed when writing my written statement and overall evaluation for submission. I questioned the reason why I had started using other material in my work, other than the sources gain from visiting exhibitions such as

  • Robert Rauschenberg,
  • Phyllida Barlow,
  • Michael Armitage
  • the amazing; Entangled  (Threads and Making).

The process of creating props for the festival was a progression or a way of escaping from the course work I was committed to as an art student. Working with Willow and paper pulp, all environmentally friendly products was so different from working with paint and charcoal. The same elements applied with regards to planning the outcome and pre thinking any challenges I would have to deal with along the way and pre-empting how to overcome these restrictions such as lack of materials, prop being movable, weight of prop and storage space. Working as a collaborator was very beneficial and I was lucky to learn with others and gain information from very experienced Rio Carnival organizers.

At the time I saw the activity as a way out/to get away from my studies, but on reflection I now understand that this work encourage development within my own work. The props I worked on were built up over time, they became characterful and we ended up giving them names. My favourite Prop or puppet is a willow entwined, ribbon covered fish. The theme was ’dream marine’ so a floaty colourful fish with foam lips and Christmas bulbuls was appropriate I felt. When the day came to take the props, (or our creations) out to be paraded, showing it off to thousands of people that lined the procession, while dancing to a cacophony of music, I was a fantastically rewarded by realising how committed I am to my work.

This free social work shop called ‘Carnival club’ has had a tremendous impact on the development of my work and will encourage me to understand my work as becoming more anthropomorphic, especially the time consuming techniques I have implemented recently. I am not a believer in ‘working smarter not harder’ mostly due to the way I learn to deal with how my brain works. I don’t learn subjects like most people, some like to call Dyslexia a learning disability but I consider this negative labelling and I don’t have a disability; I just perceive and work differently to most. I do have to work harder, reflection is extremely important and allowing the time for ideas to be nurtured is a luxury that I have at the moment. Karl Marx is considered one of the greatest thinkers and he wrote  that workers need ‘to see themselves in the objects they have created’. This relationship with ourselves and our work is hardly comprehensible today and was one of the issues discussed at the above mentioned workshop; being paid to be creative can cause resentment towards the practice of work. Years of capitalism has had a detrimentally effect on the environment, has breed a culture of ‘always wanting more’ which has caused contempt and distrust towards each other and ourselves. My work is a self-healing process of turning my back on capitalism (by leaving work to become a student) and by learning to analysis my work via learning from other sources, I have been able to connect links with the development of my practice and now notice myself in the works I am creating.


Great Thinkers by The School of Life and Published by the School of Life in London 2016.

Ramsgate Arts-

Evaluation of Assignment 5 works

Write an evaluation of your series of paintings and of the progress that you feel you have made as a painter. Draw attention to the parts of the course that have furnished you with the most creative resources and explain why this is.


My series of paintings are of a development of a landscape which was first painted for assignment 4. The development of this landscape is how it becomes progressively more abstract. My first initial plan, was not how the work progressed; I first planed to take one  composition and focus on areas of that composition with dedicated supports. For example, the park bench that is covered in moss , graffiti and expresses intricate textures was going to have a support suggesting these textural features. What I did do was take my Tutors advice; “…think about a sense of self-discovery to investigate what paint can do.” This Part of the course ‘ The practice of painting’ is called; Personal development and I certainly feel that I have developed along side my Painting Practice. The series of works that have been sent to my tutor are nothing like what I initially planed, these works have progressed with referring to my tutors comments above and researching the Objective Abstraction group. I did work with the paint and a surface, but the plan of depicting certain subjects was deconstructed with the use of paint handling techniques. Removing myself away from the paint brush was revolutionary as exercised in the project ‘ Different ways of applying paint’. The other key factor was the project; ‘working towards abstraction’ because this delivered me to the National Geographic magazines, where most photographs are taken from a satellite  position therefore they describe an abstract world.

The National Geographic magazines are a fantastic resource for me as the paper quality is so glossy that when you wipe it with cleaning products it has the same qualities as paint brush work. Why was this important to the creative process? The connection is the glossy photographic modern machine made medium placed within the same context of my creative space. This resonates with me, as the actual wiping away modernity and then placing that deconstruction within the context of my expression. I have taken the magazine pages, stuck them where I wanted to as a means to express a sense of a landscape. I then cleaned the glossy ink away where I wanted to blur the images and then I dropped paint down onto the same surface and watched it spread out, infiltrating the areas of collage. I interfered with the spontaneous paint spreading by moving the surface, I also removed and carved into the paint by scrapping it with a comb or a pine-cone taken from the actual landscape. Finally I borrowed from the artists I had researched through out this part of the course; Anselm Kiefer (1945-) , Sam Francis (1923-1994) and Frank Stella(1936-) I have already noted why and how these artist have influenced my direction of work in this past blog; Assignment 5 work in progress 

I don’t feel this creative progress has come to an end, I am still experimenting with other works that I have not sent to my tutor. I have been recently burning holes in past painted canvases which is something I talked about doing after I received a disappointing result on another course here;Assignment 5; Final painting.. I found the marks left behind on the canvas was an image of danger and was fascinated how the paint shrivelled up in the heat. The holes that were left by the fire needed treatment, so I attached a magazine page taken from the resourceful ‘National geographic’ and stitched over it. My technique has become progressive, just like my painting practice, finally the two have made a connection.

Collage, Enamel paint, burnt canvas and embroidery thread. (some of the enamel paint has been pealed off from the drip tray and then the reversed side has been stuck onto the canvas- top left hand corner and orange sauce mark in middle)

Enamel paint on fabric with embroidery hoop then stuffed. (PS. The hoop is not framing the painting but finishing the painting, adding the final touches as the Embroidery hoop is not the frame , it is an element of the painting. The circular, puffed out fabric suggests the painting as subject)




Enamel paint with Aliphatic Resin


Melting wax crayons with taper onto cake stand that’s had filler applied.


Demonstration of Technical and visual skills-

I worked larger and with more fluidity suggesting a gestural semi Abstract illusion which demonstrates ownership of the medium ( Enamel paint), texture, and colours which are used to explain depth of perception. The layered colours suggest a sense of place under the tree; a focal point and area of engagement.

Quality of outcome-

The progression towards the final painting was a formula of trying out different ways of working with paint (4 studies) and then reflecting on the outcome before preparing to work on another painting. I had to analyse the outcome of the painting process and select what direction to take next each time. My judgement was based upon my contextual research of other artists. By understanding their work I am able to understand my own work, I am now at a stage in my learning process where I can be guided and not over influenced by my research.

Demonstration of creativity-

I have added other matter to paint from assignment 2 onwards and have painted on untraditional surfaces such as carpet and fabrics so I have gained more confidence using this as a technique to add interest to the overall image. I feel this shows invention and independent judgement. I have challenged the ideals of painting being just about paint. Is the ‘creative arts’ more creative than the ‘fine arts’? I am more intrigued with paint and other context/matter than I was at the beginning of the course.  I have taken notice of my tutors comments; to take experimental exercises from my workbook and reference these expressions in the assignment work. My research and breadth of reference have encouraged risks to be taken and I have persevered with this technique as a way to move forward and improve.


I recently asked some questions on the OCA forum about this particular subject. The responders  were very helpful and some were frustrating because they had misinterpreted the question (on hindsight the critical response was helpful in another area). I had also watched a university website video about critical analysis which correlated well with this subject. The student in the video was explaining how some students think that a critical review should not be to critical, but the student questioned this idea; If the reviewer is engaged enough to give sound critical analysis then this should be heard and responded to.

All interaction is good as long as its helps the person to move forward. I find I struggle with this, hence why I asked for help on the forum; which on its own accord was a process of discovering more. I have a tendency to take comments personally, I am emotional naive. Its  easy to ask certain people advice when you have pre-empt the anticipated positive response. I will mature as a student when I methodicaly put into motion the  process of dissociating my emotions and re-associating myself with the work.


Objective Abstraction link, Cited on 20.9.2017

Assignment 5 personnel blog posts referred to-




Review my work so far. p1-p4

Review what you have achieved so far and reflect on which projects you enjoyed the most and which ones were challenging and why. What areas do you feel require more practice?

I have laid out some of my work but as with Drawing 1 , its a lot of work that takes up much space that I don’t have. This course has been taking much longer than expected and it is hard to remember how I felt about the exercises at the beginning.

So far I feel I have a good understanding as to where I am going , what I need to focus on and have strong ideas about the development theme for part 5 of the course. I feel that like most painters you never feel like you have accomplished much even if you painted every day. That is the concept of painting, which is that you are never completely happy with the outcome because its a creative subject which keeps encouraging more creativity, you therefore feel the work has never come to its creative full stop. What I have achieved is a recognition of my style of working (emotionally lead, thoughtful but playful) and I’m starting to see a certain style in my PRACTICE OF work. My work is a style which is rumpty, wonky, colourful, bold and jolly, these characteristics just seems to appear when looking at all my work together.

The projects I enjoyed so far are the people and landscapes studies. I didn’t enjoy ‘drawing 1’ landscape part of the course but really got to grips with it using paint and pastels. I like drawing people and enjoyed using the paint to create different colour tones and atmospheric forms. The most challenging thing is to find something that interests me while carrying out the exercises, sometimes I just find them to restricting but feel like I will carry on regardless so that all the objectives are meet, sometimes affecting the outcome of the assignments. This time I will whiz through the exercises and focus more on the assignment work and the studies.

All painting requires more practice so this is an odd question to ask a student. I know my strengths and weakness and now I need to decide if I work harder on developing my weaknesses such as the technical aspects or carry on developing my strengths? I think this is where I find the course work tedious because its about techniques; perspective, shape and forms and the laws of colour theory. I prefer to work with the paint ; gestural, large and bold. This is the area I will practice more and remember to think about the technical side of things when critically reviewing my own work. work so far pop

Some of my work so far for painting 1, practice of painting 2016-2017.


Reflection on tutorial. Assignment 4.

So glad we had a video tutorial as have just changed tutors as Richard has left the Oca due to very busy work commitments such as private commissions and a one man show in London this summer. This was a moment to get acquainted quickly with my new tutor and I find the verbal communication far more truthful or easier to interpret than the writing communication in a tutors report. Diana Ali was instantly recognisable from the BBC television program ‘ The big picture’ and she is just as energetic as a tutor as she is as the mentor in the TV show. I finished the call on a high, very motivated and amazed that she understood how I felt through my small selective amount of work that I sent. Her advise was incredible and accurate, I have a strong understanding of what to focus on going forward into assignment 5. Really looking forward to our next video call as I know it will be very beneficial again.

The written report was very thorough as well, even though I was expecting more of a bullet point assessment. The points to consider are-

  • Think about a sense of self-discovery to investigate what paint can do.
  • Work with a subject matter that’s expressive as this correlates with my strengths.
  • Technical ability needs working on such as observation, perspective, geometry and a sense of depth.
  • Let yourself go as working gestural, physically is a strength so work bigger, don’t confine to a small canvas.
  •  Assignment piece; I explained that I would like to attempt it again as more of a series of works because I feel the straw didn’t work and may have to add more straw on. The next one that I’m painting now has no straw and is much more connected with Hockney after seeing his retrospective at Tate Britain at the weekend. My tutor said another go at it would be a good idea, but only If I have the time. I have reviewed the assignment piece after my discussion with my tutor and changed the background tones so more a lighter hue. Added more grey into the shadow of the tree in the foreground. Still having problems with the shapes of the branches of the tree in the foreground as very flat. In my studies I was able to create branches directing out of the trunk from all directions but have not been able to manage this in the assignment. The colour vibrancies has been toned down and is not so hot. There is now distinctions as a different colour is associated with each depth ( fore/mid/background)  Still not happy with the straw as it flattens the foreground, will think about a solution to this going forward as finding I’m getting stuck on this detail.
  • Sketchbook- shows competent sketches and planning but don’t use it as an exercise log book. Experiment more with paint in the book and explore ideas.
  • Research- explore and reference artist more with why you gravitate towards there work. (Make more connections and links between your work and there’s.) The use of other artist work when resolving a problem is good practice.
  • Blog- discourse a view of moving forward and what you might do to improve.

Suggested viewing; Anselm Kiefer, Peter Doid, Ernst Kirchner, Piet Mondrian (earlier trees), Leon Kossoff.

Have researched and posted biography referenced via the Tate on my Pinterest site.

Updated assignment painting. A1 size. Oil paint, sand, straw.

2nd attempt with more of a link to Hockney. And no straw. Oil on canvas A1 size.

Wanted to experiement with the direction of brushwork to aid conceivable shapes, forms and perspective, All technical areas of work. I rubbed off the brush work with a rag drowned in turps. Was. More selective with brushwork and shadows, and then experimented with scraping paint off.  I sat an thought about the colours I would use and the direction of paint for a long time but should have worked on this in my sketchbook first


Reflection on Part 3 and tutors report.

The beginning of this part of ‘Portrait and Figure’ was working with a model such as a life drawing class but I had already finished my classes of life drawing late last year . I did a couple of recent exercisers of  painting a figure for the project; ‘observing the human figure’, tonally and linear. The next project was ‘looking at faces’ so was able to start a large A2 painting of my daughter and many self portraits were created. I enjoyed the exercise of ‘conveying character’ and looking at celebrities in magazines because it was more impersonal and a needed rest and a different direction from concentrating on my own self portrait. The final project on ‘people in context’ was the most difficult as the composition was a struggle when more than one person/ subject becomes the focus and attention of the viewer. The relationship between the two are problematic and the tonal area of their context was subdued so not easy to depict compared to the exercise of  using candlelight in a self portrait. To help with this challenge I researched other artist and read Hockneys suggestions on dealing with a light source from a central window. The Assignment piece is a working progress and will work on this again after thinking about my tutors comments. I really enjoyed working with paint on carpet and feel the energy I gained from the ‘Entangled’ exhibition I visited was a result of the experimental process seen in assignment 3.


  • The work sent shows signs of progress, demonstration of technical skill is competent. Proportional difficulties and quality of outcome is hampered due to over working images. Competent creativity with a willingness to experiment and explore.
  • Head and Shoulders-Quite well worked as the variety of skin tone shows improvement of colour and tone. The pose is difficult and shows issues with foreshortening.
  • Creating mood and atmosphere- Competent and candlelight contrast has worked quite well, but exaggerated on left side of face so the coloured sys, noise and mouth look strange against the white of eye, cheek and chin. Think about definition of the neck to jumper as photos can decrease the amount of tonal range as seen by the eye.
  • The Assignment painting and studies are experimental and interesting but the heavy use of line and lack of tonal contrast is a lack of subtly so looks over worked.
  • Sketchbook and blog; still some of your best work is in your sketchbook. The pastel self portraits are the most successful studies as they are not over worked and show more searching and intimate. Your blog is relevant, range of research is thorough and shows better self evaluation and discernment.
  • Suggestions; Look at artists that draw with the brush are gestural and loose such as Boomberg. Also look at Kossoff, Auerbach, Michael Andrews and Maggie Hambling.


Exercise- Convey Character & Review Portraits.

Convey Character through facial expressions, most sitters tend to slump forward and the facial features relax and tend to look sad. It is not possible to keep smiling the whole time so a photo of an expression can be a useful way of capturing a moment of expression.

I chose Graham Norton as I found a great photo of him in the Culture supplement of the Times (Louis wise. 18.09.2016. Photograph by Francesco Guidicini)). The photographer was up close when he took the shot and I think you can see Graham ‘thinking’ in his eyes. I painted onto a pale blue paper because he wears a blue shirt and I think he suits this colour. The flesh tones with the blue and the grey spikes from his chin react well with this tone of blue. I worked quickly and wasn’t as careful like I was with my daughters and my self portrait as I didn’t care if I muck it up….it’s only Graham Norton, it’s not like he’s going to tell me I’m rubbish at painting. Due to this responds I think it’s why I worked more fluidly and I felt I went into automatic mode and didn’t think to much about what I was doing wrong. I felt like I was painting in areas and just letting some blue paper show . Then I pitted the paint with a dab of a sponge as Graham’s skin is textured around the forehead and cheeks. This technique is good at smoothing in the brush strokes that I tend to slap on sometimes. I didn’t want to paint the shirt as I wanted the blue paper to be noticeable and this allows the head to pull away from the paper as a form but with some of that background showing through.

I will try this coloured paper effect again as I think the foreground and the background can be far to finished , sometimes the blanks need to be visualised so the viewer can take notice of the painting.

Culture supplement from the ‘Times’ 18.09.2016

Pencil sketch of Graham Norton 02.2017 mw

Oil painting of Graham Norton 02.2017 mw

Look at all your portraits and ask…

  • Which one is best?
  • Any technical demands??
  • Was the element of portrait painting difficult?

The best one is of Graham Norton,, it’s fresh ,lively, fluid and delicate. These qualities. Make it a good exercise.
The technical demands were the depicting form , features and a likeness. The personalities of people close to you becomes a distraction so the Contextual research and the exercises to help loosen up were all needed to deal with this evaluation and I was able to think about strategies. To resolve the problem.

Painting portraits are very difficult but I find painting landscape a challenge also. Gesturing a line to depict a likeness is a skill of observation, getting the line correct is a fundamental structure when taking a drawing and then creating a painting.

Tutors feedback A2

Overall comments.

Don’t send so much. Send 2 paintings including assignment and up to 5 preparatory paintings and drawings.

I think this is a good time to cut back on the amount being sent as the tutor must have a gist of the visual language I’m communicating, what level and what voice I am expressing. I just wonder if there is any point sending hard copies and will enquire at the point of sending if I should just convert to Digital. I changed from OIL paints to Acrylics so the work would be dry for sending to the tutor but, if this isn’t necessary then I will revert back to a medium that I’m more confident with and love.

Feedback on Assignment.

Consistent with the first assignment and at a good level. Competent standard of technical and visual skills for level one.

The drawings are more fluid than the paintings.

The paintings suffer with high key colours and a lack of tonal range, PARTICULARLY MID TONES.

This is a reoccurring comment and one I had from my previous tutor. I have thought thoroughly about this and have had my eyes tested but optometrist do not check tonal perspectives. I think this may be associated with my view upon the world from the Influences of the ‘others’. I think that my tutors are correct about my lack of visualising the mid Tones within compositions or studies but I question; Why do I preferred not to concentrate on the mid tones and why am I attracted to highly contrasting scenes, Artist that use hot contrasting colours (Gogh, Mondrian, Klein) and infatuated by shadows? This is a learning Journey and I must express this learning though my Blog so That my tutors understand why I have a lack of Mid tone. My personality is very ; Black and White and I have a strong identification with the ‘self’, therefore my perception of tone is mater of fact. I need to express this and I do that in my paintings and explain my ‘self’ perception in my Blog.

The need to understand colours is something I need to do with Acrylics as they don’t mix the same as Oils and you can work the oils into a colour on the actual canvas where with acrylics, you have to keep mixing separate colours hourly due to when you change one colour is has an effect on the overall colour range. With Oils I can manage the drying out of the colour but with acrylic is feels like one step at a time (colour by numbers)  instead of a piece of work evolving into something.

My tutor has suggested I try some colour range and tonal control exercises, and to tint when using black and white.


Enter a caption

Three Primitive Colours Assumed as a Perfect System of Rudimentary Information by Charles Hayter

Sketchbook, learning log/Blog and Critical essays.

Strongest work is in sketchbook, with some competent well- observed drawings. The charcoal can become to heavy and obscure definition and detail. Learning log/blog is comprehensive with displays of research, self appraisal, response to problem solving.

Suggested points for next assignment 3-

Study the work of Watteau, Goya, Degas, Sickert, Doig, C Avery and Jenny Saville and work on Definition, Colour and tonal range, Anatomy, proportion, context, simplify composition, light direction and shadows on the skin and the tonal values.



Tutor report dated 13th January 2017.

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