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Reflection on Term i Feedback

I wanted to go over the feedback I received from last term’s work, in more detail, to understand how to move forward within my studio practice.

But before I go into that I wanted to briefly summarise and comment on last term’s practice from my own perspective; this will also help me establish better and more effective working habits that will contribute to the development as well as improvement of my artistic practice.

I wasn’t satisfied with either the quality or quantity of the work produced. I think the main cause for this was a lack of consistency in my work ethic throughout the term, which I then tried to catch up on towards the end of term. And therefore, my idea for the new term will be to develop a more consistent approach to working and balancing all my responsibilities; this, I hope, will also give me a better perspective on time, which is something that also set me back. One way for doing so is keeping a timetable of the week, updating it regularly and sticking to it! The timetable will consider meetings and the minimum amount of hours I need to be spending on each of my subjects as well as other responsibilities. Another method for keeping consistently on track will be to set myself short-term goals to complete – so for example having blog post publishing deadlines througout the week.

I also want to comment on the fact I did not experiment enough with compositional balancing and mark-making techniques. I found myself in quite an artist block when it came to transfering ideas from my head onto paper. The incapability to recall memories was also something very unexpected and had a significant impact on the way I thought about my work. Although in hindsight I should have perhaps re-directed my work for the time being to trying to represent the struggles of recall and memory loss, instead of being so fixated on the idea I had in my head. Perhaps it would have not only helped me understand and get through that state, which I didn’t even consider as important in the first place, but it could have also led me in a new direction. This experience has certainly educated me and confirmed me in my belief about the significance of memories in the context of one’s own self-image. What I didn’t realise before is how dependant we are on memory to shape our sense of self, and that forgetting was as much of an important process as remembering.

In fact, I’m not quite sure why I’ve been so focused on remembering and recreating images of the past, without addressing the issue of forgetting that is also an essential element of the processes of memory.

However, on a more positive note I got really involved in and excited about the research I began doing, and I’ve found that my work ethic towards research, has definitely improved. I was able to identify relevant articles and books that I truely connected with, and in theory they really motivated me to pursue my practice. What I feel like I should do next is to perhaps start reading in the studio, so that when an idea comes to my head from reading I can then immedietely transfer that out into the world through some form of creative activity or technique. Or perhaps keep a notebook with me at all times (which I already started practicing and using it is slowly becoming a habit of mine) and record any ideas that come to mind (as soon as they pop into my mind!), making sure that they are the first things I try out when I get back to the studio. In that way I can make sure that I am applying the research I am doing directly in my practice, reflecting on the work and research of other people at the same time. This is something I want to become a habit, something I see as an inseperatable part of my studio practice, rather than a ‘research project’ which tends to seem like a chore to me, most of the time. I think that will distinguish my current practice from my earlier ones; the current one being more mature, mindful and intentional than ever before.

And now onto some of the feedback comments I’ve received:

  • use sketches and notes as a ‘store house’ from which I can draw inspiration for my finished works
    • make sure I keep all this primary research (focusing on the most successful ones) in my studio – my idea would be to keep them on my wall right next to my working desk in the studio, so that I can refer to them when I am in the process of drawing – this is something I was hesitant in doing for a while because I saw it as cheating, since my work has been so pre-occupied with the process of recall – to compromise for starters I could focus on creating a wall that is filled with successful experiments and observational sketches that would directly represent the fragility and ambiguity of experience?
    • for the time being I can picture that wall having sketches of compositional experiments, including my scultpures, observations in the mirror and of plants, studies of water flow and energy, along with cyanotypes
    • this would be a mind-map or vision board of some sort that I could add to and edit, regularly evaluating its effectiveness and relevance to my practice
  • make sure that the experiments I produce will then directly be reflected in the work (if successful enough) and not just left behind as individual unfinished pieces

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  • consider pairing two opposite drawings next to each other?
    • in this case this comment considers a more finished and a visually unfinished pieces
      • having a darker background seems to be more effective for the aims I want to achieve, however I think that composition-wise the larger middle drawing I produced last term was the most successful
    • pairing the charcoal drawing on more textured paper (“the way the smoky sfumatio of the charcoal interacts with the tooth of the paper”) next to a drawing of one of the natural forms
    • a template for DIPTYCH DRAWINGS?
      • perhaps one focusing on rememberance and the other on forgetting? would that work??
  • too much time spent in notebooks
  • although I agree with the fact that I am unlikely to use many of the tested papers in the future, I do not see the experiments as unnecessary – the practice has helped me learn a lot about the quality and characteristics of different paper types; from that I was able to identify the types of papers that suit my project and its aims the most, as well as conclude how different papers behave when exposed to different materials – each paper seemed to behave independently and it was a valuable lesson which has helped me to develop more as a drawing artist
  • “The practice of drawing every day, of returning again and again to attempt a better, deeper more significant understanding of the face and head is itself many years work.”
    • “in the context of memory and yearning for family, country and culture could be immensely rich.”
  • improve the DIALOGUE between the portrait and the plant study
    • allow an organic and natural interaction and dialogue between the two matters – which would be guided through associations emerging through time – the associations also being a strong indicator of the concept of time in the work
  • decide on a scale of the drawings
    • I have become pretty certain now that the scale on which I want to create will be large, to improve the immersive effect and impact on people who encounter the work, as well as on myself during the process of creation where the work will have the power to absorb and transform me in theory

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