Category Archives: Reflections on Assignments

Part 4 – response to tutor feedback

At the moment the following is subject to a video tutorial to take place later.

I will send a selection of my tondos with my Part 5 submission, or sooner, as it was difficult to judge the works’ quality from the blog.  I can also send my Part 3 Family Album artist book at the same time.

Response to general points

  1. The blog complements the work submitted, which is valuable for assessment; that is useful to know.  As a point of interest, a friend who bought one of my POP paintings found that reading my blog notes on the development of the painting enriched her appreciation of the work itself; maybe there could sometimes be a case for this ‘journal’ of the work’s development becoming part of the work.
  2. Using a viewfinder helped me find good subject matter, although I found a huge difference between what my eyes and brain saw and what the camera snapped.  Photos help too. but are dull on their own – mundane subject matter needs to be transformed by the eye and the brain working together (observation and imagination) to express feeling.
  3. Harvard referencing – recommendation noted and I will do for Part 5. I couldn’t find Pierre Bonnard’s tondo online either (my source was the course-recommended book The Artist and the Camera), and I’ve added a photo of it to my blog here
  4. Will continue to integrate contextual research into development of / reflection on my own work

Project work –

Need to discuss tutor’s comments on Teabags to understand fully lessons to be drawn from Matisse et al and Lisa Milroy (Geisha series?)

I feel my Scissors tondo was one of my best  because its composition, texture effects,  palette, augmentation with other media, all make it quite a rich painting – perhaps we can touch on this is our video tutorial.

The Drummer – I looked at Alexander Cozen’s blot technique in the link (, a liberating method of suspending critical judgement in order to paint an imaginative vision.  First and most importantly the subject must be clearly visualized in the mind.  I like the idea of then crumpling and flattening the surface of a large sheet of paper, and painting the major forms quickly with liquid medium.  The resulting image is then copied onto watercolour paper as a basic outline of a painting.

Also took a look at decalcomania, or pressing paint between two surfaces, for example paper and plastic wrap.  Both these techniques could contribute to my Part 5 work.

Coloured pencil tondi – I agree the brushes alone would make a stronger painting, I think I’d almost picked up on that in my blog by saying I’d make the paints recede more if I did it again – they distract and should either not be there or be pushed firmly into the background.

I’ve just found some fine coloured pencil tondi by Fernand Khnopff in The Artist and the Camera, page 146-8.  They show how coloured pencils and pastels can be used in a subtle & suggestive way, which I plan to try to adopt in some of my work for Part 5.


To be discussed (what work is best and has moved me on most)


I like the suggestion to transform the research on artists I look at to reflect my own themes.  Also for the mini-essay – focus on a contextual theme that supports my thoughts on media research – need to discuss further.


Assignment 3 – review


Family Album – an exercise in Not Knowing.

Early on in the project I knew I wanted to make a book and that it would contain paintings of my childhood family.  I was hoping to discover new things about myself and my feelings, at the same time as discovering new ways of painting and making.  But further than that I really didn’t know what I was doing or what I was going to do, and it was at this point I had to find a balance between planning and intuition.

What this work, my Family Album, will mean to others clearly will not be the same as it means to me – others can read into it their own interpretations, but when I step back from it and try to see what I’ve made, I can see quite a difference between what I intended at the outset and what the work eventually became.  Gary Hume says in discussing paintings of his mum which he recently made, that he made an unexpected discovery:   “I thought I was making paintings of my mum, but it turned out quite quickly that it’s all about me.  I haven’t really given her her own identity. It is absolutely my mum from my eyes, from my emotional standpoint.” (

I’ve made a book of paintings about my family that’s also about myself, a book with many layers both physical and of meaning and time.  The book is to be handled, the pages turned, the textures felt, to capture the relationship between sight and touch.

Here is the book I made.

I did a certain amount of planning; making a mock-up of a book, planning the supports and subject matter of each page, trying out staining and printing on various supports.  I had an idea I would layer paintings and incorporate script in a deliberate way.

I looked at other artists books.   Paul Gauguin made a journal incorporating his handwriting, watercolours (often using monotype processes) and woodblock.  I felt the watercolour medium was both bold and colourful and very delicately used in these paintings from his Noa Noa journal. Often his subjects were lightly drawn with line before adding colour wash.  I liked the way he incorporated script, sometimes surrounding, at other times topping and tailing his subject, or layered underneath.

I knew I’d been surprised in the earlier exercises as I worked with my materials and unexpected things happened, and this sense of surprise cropped up again and again as I worked on.  These things threw me and altered my course, into unforeseen directions. I layered paintings in unexpected ways – gluing and stitching supports, layering time – combining portraits and other materials from different eras. I incorporated stitch and collage; I linked portraits with a golden thread; script became unclear, present but confused and faded.  I thought of using papers which have a history.  Sian Bowen uses fragments cut from old wallpapers, letters and documents; I wanted to incorporate old household accounts, humdrum business printouts, poems and letters, but without  altering or destroying the originals.

My materials, processes and the book-form threw many challenges at me, giving rise to difficulties and doubts.  I was encountering the unknown.  Monotype printing and painting on silk, canvas, thin semi-transparent fabric-like papers, and highly absorbent surpports, all was unpredictable despite many sketchbook tryouts.  Processes were equally challenging.  Whether burnishing printed script onto fabrics and thin papers, or staining liquid pigment onto raw textiles, the results were never quite what I’d been aiming for.  The form of my project, a book, (size 25cm high and 17.5cm wide), presented criteria and limitations that I had to work with, each page being one half of a support, the reverse of which was as important as the front.

Selecting subject matter was another area of not knowing.  I had a plethora of material, and had to focus on those things that best expressed my memories and feelings. I also had to allow myself to be led by my materials; it was no good trying to paint a detailed portrait on raw textiles for instance.  Each day I left more sketches, tryouts, photos and old papers lying around in my studio to come back to, and continued working with them in sight.

I became engrossed in the process of printing, drawing and painting these portraits, handling, stitching, embellishing and layering the pages of my growing book, while becoming more deeply immersed in memories, imagination and feeling.  I was reluctant to bring the project to a close, knowing there wouldn’t be a final resolution.  As I advanced towards the final pages I found lost memories, forgotten dreams and new meanings, and a new awareness of the me I became ; and my paintings became less literal and more expressive.


I’ll now go on to explain some of the sketchbook work I did to support this project, how I developed my ideas, and how I painted the portraits



On Not Knowing, by Rebecca Fortnum, 2009

Assignment 2 and reflection


Here is my final painting for this assignment


Pentaptych – Acrylic on aluminium, 50 x 130 cm

The individual panels of aluminium can be viewed in finer detail by clicking on the individual images in the gallery below

Some close-up details showing brushwork and texture can be seen by clicking on individual circles below.


Reflection on the outcome

How successful is it and why? If you were to develop this work, how would you do it? Which artists have influenced you and how? Reflect on the ways you’d like to develop your work and the essence of what you hope to communicate.


I’ve achieved some aspects of my original vision (fragmentation of my objects, abstract composition, zooming in and out, glowing colours).  There is some great brushwork and involvement in the medium and in colour.  I feel I did sacrifice some imagination and creativity in the execution for more ‘accomplished’ rendering, forgetting slightly about the panache, magic and imagination of Klee and Gorky (and of some of the work that I made in the exercises) that I’d intended to impart.  This may have happened as I concentrated on the new experience of painting on metal, on five separate but connected panels, and the technical novelties and challenges of this.

If I were to develop this work I might do it by zooming in even further, relying more on imagination and a little less on ‘realistic’ representation, using my sketchbook to find new compositions based on the shapes of the subject, and playing more with mark-making.  The fifth and last panel may point the way here.  The contour of the spout is repeated by brush marks (reminding me of Munch’s Madonna variations, the outline of her head and shoulders repeated in a similar way), and other interesting marks start to populate my background.

The format was experimental, influenced by my part one work with grid arrangements, also by Gary Hume’s Bird Point, and by some research I did in response to my tutor’s feedback into the installations of Craig Donald and Juliette Blightman, who both hang works of varying sizes together. I think it successfully draws the viewer in, as, reading the five panels from left to right we zoom further and further in, until we feel we are there in the picture.  As I am in fact…you may spot a self portrait of my head and shoulders in the teaspoon, and of my red-trousered legs in the teapot!

I’d like to develop my use of metal as a support, in particular with oils and enamels as media.  I’m thinking I may have the opportunity to do this with monoprinting in part 3 – though I don’t know how or whether that might be done yet.  In general, I want to express my personal response to the subjects I paint – the ‘spirit’ I see in them, whether animate or inanimate – and the connections between them.


I love painting subjects that have a personal meaning for me, and paint better if inspired by them.  Also I draw and paint with more character and expression from observation than purely from photos.

My subject for this assignment is a collection of small silver objects.  I’ve taken them for granted up till now, but they are part of our intimate family life, having been on display in every home we’ve had, lovingly cleaned and polished (by my husband!) over the years, and reflecting the warmth of home and passing years

I experimented with setting and backdrop, and finally set them on the dark-green, rough canvas apron I use when painting, with a fine, dark, gorgeously-patterned scarf as backdrop, in a black box with an open front, with two angled lamps through the left side to create dramatic lighting, then took several photos.  The scarf is a beautiful silk one given to me by my husband as a gift from a trip to Edinburgh some thirty years ago.


Contextual studies:

The paintings of Arshile Gorky have been a recurrent theme in my contextual research in part 2, and particularly influenced my large scale line painting and my scissors piece in the Painting on a Painted Surface exercise. Gorky’s pieces such as Garden In Sachi Motif and Dark Green Painting also came to mind when considering this assignment.  Firstly they are on dark backgrounds, which is how we are asked to arrange our collection; secondly,  they seem to me to be composed of a collection of (heavily disguised) objects, presented to the viewer in Gorky’s own special language.

The works of Paul Klee also seemed to point me in a certain direction.  His paintings on very dark backgrounds, Bird Garden and Fish Magic shine like jewels;  there is little chiaroscuro in the forms, they glow like randomly arranged treasures, and they have a beautifully imaginary presence for me.

I am strongly drawn to all three works;  the Klee has the charm of an imaginary world; the forms and composition of the Gorky pieces are heavy with meaning and attachment.  The palette in all of them, dark green, black and bright reds and yellows).

I can also see (retrospectively, having recently visited Hepworth Wakefield) some similarities between my work and that of the artist Clare Woods, who paints in enamel on aluminium. Her paintings are made in a rich, sombre palette, and express her subject in abstract terms. She is said to be ‘concerned with sculpting an image in paint, and expressing the strangeness of an object’ , ‘twisting foreground and background to create nuanced and surreal imagery’ (, which were also my concerns in my assignment piece.


Choice of media and support 

To try and achieve glowing, gem-like colours against a very dark ground, I decided to make my collection painting on metal, having bought some pieces of aluminium, stainless steel and copper from an industrial metal work shop earlier in part 2.  I chose aluminium; as it is lighter than steel, so easier to post; and not so easily damaged as the copper leaf, which would need mounting on board, and therefore also be heavy to send.

My tryouts here, had shown me that watercolour, gouache and ink brush on well but lift very easily with subsequent layers.  Oils and oil based enamels take weeks to cure thoroughly, although I love the smooth, high-gloss of enamel and would like to try it at a later date.  Acrylics dry quickly, to a hard, sound coating, and aren’t lifted with subsequent wet layers.  It’s also a medium I like, so i chose acrylics for the assignment painting (addendum – i subsequently discovered acrylic enamel paints, and am ordering some to try).


Format and composition ideas

I experimented with zooming in and creating multiples.  I like the extreme zooming, leaving just the curve of a silver handle, part of an ellipse, forms and lines that identify the loved features of the objects.

I like the idea of creating a series of paintings for display together as one unit; the long vertical format appeals to me too, giving the possibility to incorporate the patterned scarf as an important part of the composition, not just background (Gary Hume’s Bird Point III, 1998, is a model for this format; it’s painted on four long vertical format panels, displayed side by side).  I experimented with piecing extracts from my images together (using iPad and Pic Jointer app) :


Photos composite

My next step was to make a sketch of my setup (from direct observation), for which I used black and green inks, and coloured pencils on paper.  I selected a composition of objects, flattening the picture plane somewhat and emphasising the shapes, forms and patterns made by the objects and the scarf.  As the objects are highly reflective, all sorts of colours can be seen in them, and they also show off the dramatic raking light well, too.  I particularly love the freshness and spontanaiety of this sketch, which was drawn in response to the objects themselves rather than photos of the objects.  It’s expressed in the angularity of the ellipses, the slight distortion and asymmetry of some of the objects;  they seem to be leaning in, having a conversation with the teapot!

Sketch on paper

I can see ways in which my sketch can be zoomed into and broken down into vertical elements: the one below has equal sized components:

Sketch composite 1

The next one’s individual elements reduce in width from right to left.

Sketch composite 2 


Sketches on aluminium

Now I wanted to try my hand at a quick painting in acrylics on aluminium to see how it felt and looked in practice, what technical issues arose, and whether and if so how and where I could capitalise on the gleaming metal support in the finished painting, so I prepared two small (15x24cm) pieces of sheet aluminium.  I washed them with alcohol before sanding (recommended by Ray Smith in The Artist’s Handbook).  Ray Smith also recommends priming the panel before painting.  I want the metal surface to shine through my painting, so after etching (with vinegar solution) I left one sheet raw and, for comparison, primed the other with thinned pva, followed by a coat of thinned acrylic medium.

The main difference between the two sheets is that the raw aluminium changes appearance much more than the primed sheet, with changes in the light and viewpoint.  The primed sheet with its reduced reflective quality is much more fixed in appearance (in the photos below the raw sheet is on the right; the first photo is in full sun, the second in shadow).  So an unprimed sheet might be good if I want the changing appearance of the metal to be part of my painting – as long as the paint is secure.


First I pencilled in a simple composition on the raw sheet.  As I painted I noticed how much longer the acrylics remained workable, it felt like painting wet on wet in oils.  I had to be very gentle, using the flat of the brush, applying colour on top of wet paint, so as not to lift the first layer completely.  It felt quite lovely, and very different, painting on such a smooth, rigid surface.

As regards the outcome of the sketch as preparatory work for my larger painting, one particular concern jumps out at me; the red pattern on the background scarf needs toning down and the edges softening, to ease it back – right now it looks as if the red fruits are tumbling down in front of the silver objects.  To address this, from now on I’ll tone them down by painting the scarf patterns on top of the dark background, rather than painting the background around them.


Small sketch on aluminium

My next small sketch was made on the primed aluminium.  The new approach to painting the scarf pattern on top of dark paint worked well to tone it down and keep it in the background.

It’s a simpler design, and when I place the two side by side I begin to see what a multiple set might look like.  For the assignment piece, it would be a good idea to work on all the components of the set at the same time, keeping each at roughly the same stage, just as I would if I were painting one large image; this strategy should help with cohesion and a good overall composition.  I also realised that the panels should vary in complexity – be careful not to make them all busy or all minimal in design.  The palette will be common to all; but overall tone will darken from the light source on the left towards the panel furthest from the light.

Small sketch on aluminium diptych

Choosing the composition

I want to zoom in further than I did for these two sketches on aluminium (above), so played around digitally again with my photos and sketches until I had a set I liked (below), which is actually a combination of abstracts from all my sketches, with varying scales and levels of complexity.  As a whole, I like the repeating colours and shapes from panel to panel, and the rhythm they set up; the combination of abstract backdrop and figurative foreground; the negative shapes, the tonal contrasts.  The progression through the panels from left to right as the images zoom in further, width reduces, the contrast becomes greater, the tone becomes darker, the forms simpler and more abstract, hopefully draw the viewer in closer.  There is a cohesion to the whole, though the individual panels don’t ‘join up’ seamlessly.

Sketch composite 3


Making the paintings

I scored and cut out the five aluminium sheets (50cm high and reduce in width from left to right from 30 cm down to 16.5 cm), sanded them with a machine, and pencilled my compositions in.  All the backgrounds were painted first, in varying dark tonal colours, the final one being pure black, with some metal showing.  I experimented with different textures, using a stiff brush and a rag to lift paint.  Then I began painting the silver objects.  I found my preparatory work has paid off; with the materials and techniques pre-tested, and the composition and general colour palette tried out, I was enjoying my exploration in paint of the objects and the process of painting.

At the end of the second day’s sessions I’d almost completed my interpretation of the objects; I’ve always been fascinated by reflected coloured light and I’d searched for the reflected light in each object, pulling out and exaggerating the colours.  On close viewing some of the colours look improbable, but standing back they coalesce into high shine metal objects.  I’m aware the background painting of the scarf patterns is going to make a huge difference to the piece, so my plan is to roughly complete the final silver object, then start adding the background patterns one by one, assessing the effect carefully on the overall composition at each stage.

Day 2 – collection painting on 5 aluminium panels

On day three I painted in the background detail, standing back to assess impact, and modifying tones to keep the pattern in the background.


The Artist’s Handbook by Ray Smith, pub Dorling Kindersley 2003

Arshile Gorky by Matthew Gale, pub Tate Publishing 2010

Assignment 1 – response to tutor feedback

Thanks to my tutor for my first UPM feedback report. I felt it was thorough, specific, constructive and encouraging.  A lot of care had been put into reading and commenting on my blog.  There is much food for thought and many pointers to follow-up research.


Exercise 1.1 – combining paintings – ‘to engineer new or additional meanings’.  Try turning paintings on their side. Look at the possibility of diptychs.

Using an iPad app, ‘Pic Jointer’ I combined these three based on palette and feel.  The app allows cropping to fit different formats.

I looked at Maria Theresa Keown’s work.  I was impressed by the richness of her paintings in terms of content and references, and also by their design and colour palettes.  One painting, Sickert/Collings/Éruption puts three paintings of  similar palette side by side, echoing my arrangement above.  In 2008 she staged an exhibition of 22 paintings, all in diptych format.  Two of these are shown in an article by Slavka Sverokova in Circa Magazine.  She pairs a copy of a photo or painting to a subtly nuanced colour field, of equal or lesser size, of a hue which matches a detail in the painting.  The figurative images are turned through 90 degrees, which initially made me anxious to twist my head so I could view the image the right way up; until (with difficulty) I forced myself to ignore the narrative and concentrate on the painted surface. Thus the diptych becomes a ‘temporary assembly ‘ (1) of the older art with abstract space.  The Fra Angelico diptych is suggested in the article to represent iconophile and iconoclast attitudes; the Constable, the concept of ‘nature and the narrative power of significant detail’ (1) ; the Hockney, a commentary on photography and the ‘end of painting’ (1) .

I had a go with my paintings from Ex 1.1.  This looks possible – a painting of a classical stone relief turned through 90 degrees and paired with an abstract painting which contains a similar gold colour.  I like the look of the assembly, which contrasts the ancient, permanent stone carving to the contemporary, transience of a painted wooden shack.

 (1) Slavka Sverokova in Circa Magazine

Big impact small paintings

This was one of those opinions received from a teacher in impressionable early days…that big paintings are a mark of the true professional!  I needed to reconsider, so first I looked at Elsheimer’s Flight into Egypt.  What an incredibly beautiful rendering of the night sky.  A copper ground has been used to marvellous effect in the depiction of the moon, the fire, reflected light and reflections of light.  It’s 30×40 cm, small, but not as little as a postcard!

Next I viewed Vermeer’s paintings.  The smallest I found (on a very informative website, were Girl With a Red Hat and Girl With a Flute, 9×7″ and 8×7″ respectively.  Both were done on a hard wood panel. Paint flows more smoothly on a hard, perfectly smooth surface, allowing ‘a calligraphic touch’ for the highest degree of detail.  The textures in both paintings are beautifully described; the sheen of satin, softness of feathers, dampness of lips in Red Hat; the fur and velvet of Flute.

Like Vermeer, Melita Denaro paints her postcard size works on wood panel.   The light in both artists’ work gives their paintings an intense, jewel-like quality.   She paints the atmosphere, weather, tides and changing light from one spot in the landscape.   Some with thunderous passages pierced with brilliance, others bright and joyful.

Clearly the paintings I’ve described all have stand-alone quality!  They are brilliant, detailed, full of texture and light. On reflection, I agree with my tutor that small can definitely be brilliant.  I still wonder whether small paintings done quickly can stand alone individually –  I guess that depends on the skill of the artist.  Quick work is most likely going to have less detailed content, my abstract small paintings being a case in point – there’s just not enough to look at in these individually.

This leads me to the Assignment pieces:

I had never looked at Paula Rego’s work before, and found the discussions here interesting, because each work is explained in terms of a possible narrative attributed to it by the viewer.  My Polka Dot Dress woman like Rego’s women is tough, strong and looks as though she could be ruthless in her passion; and there is a sinister ambiguity in the relationship between dancer and musicians which I hadn’t considered until I looked some of Rego’s ambiguous narratives; is my dancer dancing to the tune of the players; or is she playing them…are they following her lead?


Polka Dot Dress


My Portrait and Words painting: the words in the painting are, for the most part, about painful emotional relationships.  In the case of flamenco, feelings are vented through song to an unseen audience, or no audience at all, rather than beng communicated in letter-writing to the object of the emotions.  My outcome is reminiscent of Mona Hatoum’s video, Measures of Distance, both visually, and in the way several means of expression are layered; music, dance, words all contributing to the art form of flamenco.


Portrait and Words


Arrangement of the work – was done hastily in my submission, and my background was distracting.  The idea of gaps in my grid arrangement stemmed from the arrangement of the recent OCA collaborative drawing project but also from a work by Stephen Chambers, The Big Country, here, which I saw a couple of years ago.  The Big Country is a series of vignettes of pioneering days in NE America.  It’s not a narrative to be read from left to right, there’s no correct order in which to read the images; they’re arranged to look almost like a crossword grid,  with gaps showing the colour of the wall behind.

Here’s an iPad arrangement of my assignment pieces without gaps, inserting the abstract paintings at regular intervals, as a buffer between the representational ones.  I think it works well, giving a rythm to the display that hints at musical intervals.  It might be more powerful without borders between paintings.

Here’s another group, of the females only, without gaps or even borders, looking like a patchwork.  This arrangement has a vibrant, intensity of colour, bringing out the energy of the subject very well; I will do a physical wall arrangement and post an update here.


I looked up Juliette Blightman’s Come Inside bitte arrangement, and thought the contrast between many small and one very large painting, and also the view of the large painting repeated through a doorway grounded the display and added a 3D quality.  Coil in Craig Donald’s drawing installation arrangements here also inspired me to envisage a future project in which different sized paintings are hung together, some cropped, for example like the first combination in this post (above) and like this (below):

Abstract versus representational

In exercise one of part two I have made some paintings which combine elements of both.  For me, this is a good way to go.  I don’t want to lose my connection to and feeling for the ‘reality’ of my subject in my work, but at the same time I want to find new ways of expressing my feelings and responses.  At times during part one I felt I was merely copying images – although I know this was far from the case really.  My abstract paintings for the assignment 1 series were simplistic, done quickly, to clear my head, at times during the whole process when I felt bogged down, slow, too focussed on detail.  So I do agree they are well suited to providing similar punctuation points for the viewer between the representational paintings in my final arrangements.

My tutor mentioned cropping as a way of showing ‘actuality’ in a representational painting.  In my series Portrait, Dancer’s Head depicts movement quite well, through severe cropping, but also through using a pose which could not possibly be held, which essentially is movement captured in a split second


Portrait, Dancer’s Head


Another approach to depicting movement stems from Edward Muybridge’s Human And Animal Locomotion series of photographs.  Marcel Duchamp was influenced by Muybridge’s work as well as that of others in his Nude Descending a Staircase.  Idris Khan has taken this further in his Rising series by rephotographing and digitally layering images of the human figure in motion, producing ghostly images viewed as if through a sheet of ice” (”) .  Francis Bacon talks here about how he drew on Muybridge’s series, integrating some of the images to help him depict human presence in his paintings. Paralytic Child is one such; it’s a distortion rather than a ‘realistic’ representation, but it achieves a feeling of animation.

Other possibilities of synthesis I can imagine and develop:  I’ve talked about layering, distortion, freezing action (imbalance), cropping to express human presence.  Blurring and fading the edges or fast-moving parts of a painting, as in photography may be another. I will add to this as I think of others.

Prompted by a student forum discussion I looked later at the work of photographer Francesca Woodman and Robert Capa; she uses slow shutter speed together with active poses to capture subjects in motion.  So her subject can be both blurred, and captured in a pose that could not be held.  Capa’s blurred backgrounds to his subjects emphasis their motion.


Techniques of the Great Masters of Art.  Pub Chartwell Books, 1989


Ass 1 progress on Assessment Criteria

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational skills,

visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

It was quite a challenge to work on so many paintings, albeit small and supposedly quick, but I gradually got better at working more quickly by making quicker decisions, focussing more on capturing the essence rather than the detail of my subjects.
I’ve worked with all the water based media suggested in the course notes, in full colour and in limited palettes and monochrome.  Some media I’ve tried in different forms, like acrylic inks and markers and ink sticks.  I’ve added coffee to the mix in my sketchbook, and gold leaf. I’ve tried different grounds, experimenting with different combinations of media, and I’ve applied what I’ve learned in my assignment paintings.
I enjoyed creating designs and compositions from found images, playing with cropping and zooming, and using unexpected viewpoints and perspectives.  I felt my observational and visual skills, and my media techniques develop as I painted my Hands series particularly, and I think I got a good balance between realism and expressing atmosphere.  I enjoyed observing and interpreting the characters of my human subjects, their bodily gestures and facial expressions.  
•  Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a
coherent manner with discernment.
The quality of my outcomes is a bit variable, but I would expect this to go hand in hand with learning new skills and experimenting.  There are some good paintings, and a variety of interest in my three series.  I’ve explained in my blog for each series how I’ve absorbed and adopted some of the practices of other artists I’ve found out about during my research.  I’ve compared my paintings with each other in my blog, saying why I think this or that one is more or less successful.
•  Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a
personal voice.
I noted above I’ve experimented with media and grounds, and combinations of them.  I tried text and bleach, gold leaf and ink blots, and in my backgrounds spattering, dripping and dribbling paint, always with a view to creating an atmosphere.  The abstract paintings develop my assignment series into an imaginary world, they have more of an experimental, inventive content than the figurative paintings.  The latter on the whole have good sense of atmosphere and could provide useful material for developing into a more imaginary, creative interpretation of reality.
•  Context – Reflection, research (learning logs).
 I’ve tried to note down my reflections on my work and processes both as I work (which explains my decision making, but means there may be too much description of what I’m doing) and at the end of each exercise, when the distance and objectivity of a little time helps to clarify what did and didn’t work well, how I want to develop my work in the future, what I want to communicate.
I enjoyed the research I did into the many artists suggested, and gleaned a lot of influence and ideas from them to link into my own work.  I really enjoyed the sketchbook work I did in response to what I looked at…what an effective way this is of studying an artist, and finding out how I would like to adopt some of their practices.   Should I have chosen one or two to research in more depth?  It’s a question I’d like guidance on.  My knowledge of contemporary artists is very limited so I do feel the need to broaden as well as deepen it.