Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this whole part of the course and the exercises involved.
I did find it frustrating at times with the colour mixing as trying to match colours to a fabric or actual object is not as easy as it seems but is also well worth persevering with and experience will pay off. It was wonderful to try using different media to colour mix and this has resulted in the investment of better quality paints, pastels and silk paints (the latter is on order) as well as ordering Markal Paintsticks. It was fascinating to see just how many colours could be mixed with a limited palette of paints and also the variations in opacity between watercolours, gouache and acrylic and therefore the different effects that could be produced. At this point I also realised the importance even more of the varying qualities of papers.
One thing I was happy to finally sort was working with collage as a media – interesting to do, highly frustrating to get the effect I wanted but well worth cracking and achieving.
The stitching samples with colour were both fascinating to do and though provoking too and unexpectedly my favourite was the French knots sample – the one I did as a small picture I am doing a second version to frame. I dreaded doing the French knots but loved the detail involved and will also now look to try a version using purely seed beads in time – it will take a while to gather the necessary colours and I am thinking of something that has echoes of other cultures but very much using the lessons in this section regarding colour.
The most difficult section for me was the design part and the understanding of contrasts and harmony within a composition and how this works. I appreciate the phenomenal stress I was under personally had a bearing particularly on misreading or misunderstanding Stage 3 but I also wanted to persevere with the tasks – I feel I achieved my final larger sample but albeit by veering somewhat ‘off brief’ with the printing and painting stage. I am photocopying the design pages and keeping them pinned up for easy reference so that I can do further work specifically based on these exercises.
I am very much aware as I have said in other reflections on this part I am aware of my need to do more sketchbook work and I have listed books below that are in my reading and studying at the moment – the most important being the Creating Sketchbooks one.
I am also aware of my need to study other artists more too – I have interest in writing up some short profiles and studies over the coming days and next couple of weeks on Georges Seurat, Alberto Pisa (an artist I am a big fan of), Rennie Macintosh and also a ceramic artist called Jennifer McCurdy. The latter artist is of interest to me for my proposed theme on corals – I had started work on one theme book but a recent David Attenborough documentary has peaked my interest. I also want to add a silk painter by the name of Nela Horat who I have discovered on social media. These artists are just the ones that are at this moment in the course of great interest to me and relevant to the work done so far. I am very much aware of the coming assignment and there are quilt artists already lined up for that one happily.
I wanted to purposefully state my intention on these artists because of lack of action on further study but as explained the last few months have been detrimental to concentration and this is now resolved and recognised. I have also sorted out a white board to break down tasks and list all that is needed to be done so that in future I do not misinterpret or misunderstand and I fully interpret the brief in the course material.
So looking at the assessment criteria mentioned in the course material I ask myself whether I meet the requirements:
Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills
This is in regards to materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. A large part of this section is based on observational skills as you try to colour match to objects and fabric and also with regards drawing skills and this I do feel I achieved. My visual awareness and technical skills are improving and I worked hard to follow the course instructions to do so. My design and compositional skills I feel I still need to do further work on and this will involve going over some of the exercises again in order to get to grips with what the exercises and stages require.
Quality of Outcome
This in regards content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts and communication of ideas. I do feel I have achieved most of these outcomes as I have tried to show my application of knowledge and also considered carefully my presentation of work – I have reorganised how I work and present my samples and sketches so that my thought processes can be seen as well and in doing so I am trying to communicate my ideas. I am trying different methods of sketchbook work to see which works best for me and am now realising that the notes I write are just as important as the sketches. My knowledge is improving all the time and am learning how to conceptualise my thoughts into a piece of work and demonstrate the processes involved – this I felt I achieved in the larger sample and I enclosed my sketchbook with work done on the Memorial previously to show that this has developed from photographs taken on site.
Demonstration of Creativity
This outcome is in regards imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice. My imagination has never been limited but has been stunted and it is very freeing to realise that is ok to imagine, experiment and invent and this I feel has been shown in this section of the course through the printed and painted samples. I can see my personal style is development and I have two styles emerging – one of the love of sunsets and sunrises and soft landscapes and the other of strong shapes, colours and textures and it will be interesting to see if these merge or diverge further.
So in regards reflection, research and critical thinking (learning log) this is where I am very much on a learning curve. Reflecting and critically analysing my work is not proving easy and I am worried that I am not doing so yet in a cohesive manner. I debated on whether to put the point on stress which affected my concentration so much but also realised that it was important to my studies and future work of the impact that it had so that I can develop strategies to reduce the aforesaid impact. This stress would come under ‘extenuating circumstances’ and also impacted on my ability to research and concentrate in the manner I would normally have done so and hence I purposefully state the artists I am interested in writing up blogs on – the research has been there but not the concentration to write clearly and concisely and now it is a matter of doing so. Critical thinking is also something I am very much learning and in the list of books below is one purchased with a view to improving how I do this.
If I look at the assessment criteria again it also makes mention of making a note of my perceived strengths and weaknesses. Ok so reiterating a point above I feel my main weakness was letting an external strength impact to an extent I did not understand a brief with clarity – not reading instructions clearly is also something I have been prone to in the past (thinking back to O’levels included!). If this is my weakness it is now time to turn it into a strength by putting into place those strategies that will prevent me making the same mistakes. Other weakness is wanted to dash ahead and get on with a final project when I have ideas running at 100 miles per hour through my head – I am going to have to force myself to slow down, sketch the ideas and make notes so that the process can be seen and logged thoroughly. Going onto strengths – a love of colour and working with shapes is my prime one for this part of the course. I adore playing with shapes and colours and trying them in different combinations including those that would not seem ‘normal’ i.e. having a blue leaf and green sun or changing colours around including those with negative shapes. One of my strengths is enthusiasm but this can also be a weakness if I try to rush something. Finally a strength that can also be my weakness is attention to detail – I have a love of the smaller detail which can cloud the bigger picture and I am learning to look at the bigger picture and break it down into smaller details (the section which separated colour, texture and shapes is particularly useful for this).
As I stated at the very beginning of this post I thorough enjoyed this whole section of the course despite all the frustrations and I have come to understood where I feel I went wrong but also where I have done it right – I think I will always love working with French knots now!
Cottrell, S. 2005. Critical Thinking Skills – Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. Second Edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Dolan, W. 2015. Layer, Paint and Stitch. Tunbridge Wells: Search Press
Greenlees, K. 2005. Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists. London: Batsford
Hedley, G. 2010. Drawn to Stitch. London: Batsford
Hornung, D. 2015. Colour A workshop for artists and designers. Second Edition. London: Lawrence King Publishing
Issett, R. 1998. Colour on Paper and Fabric. London: Batsford
Parrott, H. 2013. Mark-making in Textile Art. London: Batsford