Assignment 1

On my return to Hamburg, I produced my final piece, which I think follows the brief closely, and says something different about me as a person.

I have always been torn between the life of domesticity which demands time and effort and which I cannot forgo, and the other things I choose to persue, such as a career, and some expression of creativity. There have been times when I have been dedicated almost exclusively to one, to the detriment of the others and this is always a source of tension for me. I have quite fierce feminist views, which have grown from my observations of my mother’s life, as a mother of five children and a professional woman, and from my own experiences as a professional and mother. I chose to draw objects which encapsulate these conflicts, starting with a rather stiff pencil drawing which I did to get myself aquainted with the shapes, as much as anything.

Preparatory pencil drawing for assessment

As I drew I became aware of the feminised shape of the bottle of washing-up liquid, and I was outraged! It must be a deliberate marketing ploy, and feeds into alot of what I hate about the patriarchal society we live in. The charcoal drawing Kitchen SinkĀ has more objects. The egg-cup/salt pot was a piece of pottery I made when I was still in recovery from my illness. It is deliberately off-kilter, saying something about my feeling of lack of stability at the time. It also ended up being too small for eggs! Forming the back edge of the arrangement is the edge of a bread-knife, which is a literal and metaphorical expression of the bad times I’ve been through.

Egg cups

Photograph of final piece for Assignment 1.

Assignment 1 Kitchen sink

As for the porcess of the drawing, I was happy to be using charcoal, and felt quite free with it. Because I was animated by the objects, I think my marks are quite confident and I hope convey some of the energy and anger which I felt I wanted to express. The brief is to try to put something personal and to convey something of your emotional state, and I have been on a journey to try to find a way to do this through my hands and eyes. There’s plenty going on inside my head, but expressing it visually on paper is a new endeavour for me. I like to work on quite large surfaces and to uses bold strokes, and I would like to develop this further. I do not want to feel constrained or constricted/restricted. Having said that, there is also something soothing and almost mesmerising about a more detailed approach, but I suffer from the critical voice when I see my hand wavering, or I make a small mark which looks wrong. I want to be free of the need for perfection.


Reflection on Feedback from Assignment 1

I am mostly heartened by the feedback I have received, which I feel is balanced and fair, whilst also being helpful and informative.

It highlights the positives in my work. I see no real surprises here, as I am relatively able to write coherently and have developed strong reflective approaches to most things, largely through my professional training. What I am pleased to learn, is that the way I have approached thinking about the subject of drawing and the visual arts is acceptable, as this is new territory for me. I welcome the advice about researching Odilon Redon and have already taken this on board (see another blog post).

I am pleased to receive advice about developing a more versatile and lively sketchbook. I have no experience of recording my work in this manner and I will try to follow the advice with further research and exploration, starting with my niece who has just completed Art A Level, and Sonia Delauny. I am rather intimidated by the idea of setting out a sketchbook as those I have seen have an artistic flair that I feel I do not have.

It is hardly a surprise that I find I have a lot to learn about this whole subject, and particularly the practical processes aqnd techniques, as well as developing a more “artistic eye”, yet I expect to be good at it. This is probably because I prefer, and have a tendancy to work to my strengths and now I am trying to overcome what I have always considered to be a weakness.

It is very clear that I need to do a lot more drawing, and to find a way to feel less stiff and freer and to be more willing to make mistakes and experiment. In addition, I must tackle the more technical aspects, such as perspective. I have shied away from this as it seems “dry”, but I do understand that it is an essential concept and skill. If I do not make some progress with it, I will surely live to regret it!