Assignment 3 – review against assessment criteria

I do find it very difficult to know how to assess my assignments against the assessment criteria. I found it helpful reading the definition of what is expected at Level 4 namely “Level 4 is about laying the foundations. The emphasis is on the acquisition of skills and good working habits, such as the keeping of sketchbooks and learning logs. It’s about students informing themselves about others’ work by reading and viewing exhibitions etc. At this level they are not expected to have developed a great deal of autonomy or have found a strong personal (visual) language – if they have already done so, this is a bonus. Feedback at Level 4 should focus on their success in acquiring the necessary skills and working habits, at the same time encouraging the student to push their limits.”

I found that to be a very helpful definition. Looking down the list of the assessment criteria below it is all too easy for me to think I meet those so badly, some of them I am not even 100% sure what they mean. But I need to remember to take into account where I am on my artistic journey and to remember that I am a student on my first module, so as lacking as I feel in many of the areas, it is more helpful to also keep in mind that my purpose as a level 4 student is to develop these skills, I won’t necessarily have all of them right now. So now for the assessment criteria, trying to keep in mind what I could reasonably expect from myself at my stage.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

Materials: I chose soft pastels for the final drawing, I have very limited experience using them so thought they would be a good challenge, and I thought that they would be a good media for tackling the view I was attempting, allowing broad as well as descriptive strokes. I am happy with the decision and feel that they were a good choice. Technique: The assignment has enabled me to learn more about how to use the media that I tried and I feel that those discoveries have enabled me to use the pastels with a reasonable range of techniques, at this stage, in the final drawing, including using a wide range of marks to describe textures, as well as layering and blocking in, and trying to avoid ‘muddy’ mixes. Observational skills: I think that I have shown good observational skills throughout the assignment, bringing in all of the aspects that I have learnt throughout this section of the course, and previously in the course. I think that the drawings, on the whole, are quite accurate, but to be able to do that I have to be able to observe very carefully, meaning I am very slow when I draw, it certainly does not come naturally or flow at the moment, I can do accuracy, or I can do speed, I just can’t manage both at the same time. As already written in my previous post, I do find that the thoughts of a bumper sticker makes me smile and helps me to keep it in perspective, mine would probably read, I am slow but I used to be slower, and that perhaps is the important bit, I might feel that I haven’t made as much progress with this aspect as I feel would be reasonable to expect by now, but I am making progress and I am working to improve ability to combine more speed with accuracy. I did find it difficult to see the perspective of the scene accurately and the angle of the struts on the shed roof totally flummoxed me so I will need to continue to work on perspective and seeing angles accurately as the assignment highlighted that I am still in need a lot of practice in this area. Visual awareness: I think that I am borderline or below with this criteria. My visual awareness is still quite poor at the moment. I understand visual awareness to mean that I can translate tone, shape, colour etc, and I still find that a struggle and I feel that it shows in the final piece and is one of the reasons it is overworked. I hadn’t really appreciated just how difficult I found it to translate a landscape into colour until attempting the assignment, it made me realise that most of my landscape drawings during this section of the course have been in monochrome or using a limited palette. Using colour for it proved to be a whole new ball game, and one again, that I have learnt a tremendous amount about during this drawing. I had looked at lots of artist’s landscapes, studied their use of colour etc, yet it was only when I came to draw this that I realised just how limited my knowledge of colour was, and that I did not know how to translate those colours, with the added problem of a lot of mid-toned greens, in a drawing this size, into a successful tonal balance. Re-studying colour, seeing shapes, and tone helped me to then be able to tackle the scene, but I did find that it took me a lot of time, thinking and trying out solutions, to problem solve it, which was one of the reasons that I went over time. I do feel that the final drawing, on the whole, shows a lack of this criteria. The good thing is that I can build on what I have learnt during this assignment and hopefully I can then work to be able to bring my visual awareness more up to the level that perhaps I should be at by this stage of the course. Design and Compositional skills: This is another criteria that I feel I am below the level that could be reasonably expected by now. The work during the assignment highlights that I am very poor at these, at present, and my final drawing shows neither of these skills. I seem to be unable to come up with either an imaginative design or a well thought out composition at present. I literally do not see them and that perhaps links in with my current lack of visual awareness. I tend to find that I have to work so hard just to try and draw what I see that I am often then too literal in my approach and this is an area that I will need to continue to work on and try to improve on. I drew what I could see out of the window. I found it pretty impossible, however, to imagine it another way. The best I managed was changing the height and width of some of the trees and taking some things out, like a tree, because I could see that it did not add anything to the composition. I found that I couldn’t imagine fences or houses, etc in different positions, which might well have improved the composition. Without being able to visualise them, I couldn’t draw them. It is difficult to explain in words. Unfortunately I am very good with the instruction draw what you see, I am not so good with improving what I see with design and compositional skills and I do not feel that these would pass the assessment criteria at present. So, lots more work needed here.

Quality of Outcome Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas

Content: I feel that the final drawing is a reasonable effort for where I am at present but with lots of room for improvement. Application of knowledge: I feel that I have used what I have learnt throughout the course and during the assignment well and have applied that to the drawing, some aspects more successfully than others, but always with a conscious attempt to apply what I have learnt, such as colour, tone, perspective, how to deal with foliage etc. Presentation of work in a coherent manner: I feel that I have presented all stages of the assignment in a logical progression and clear way, recording as I went along. Discernment: I think that I showed good judgement on choice of materials and hopefully reasonable judgement on the multiple decisions made while completing the drawing, allowing me to complete it to a reasonable level. Conceptualisation of thoughts: I am not very sure how to answer this one and perhaps together with Communication of ideas the difficulty in knowing how to answer these two shows that I have not met the criteria for these. We were asked to draw a view from a door or window and that is what I did, trying to ensure that it had as many of the elements that we were asked to include, included. Perhaps in time I will be able to find my way with this, at the moment I just feel extremely lacking in this area and am possibly too literal at this point to even come close to meeting these two criteria.

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice

I do not think that I have done anything during this assignment that would fulfil any of these criteria. I have about as much creativity as a door stop so lots of work needed here. I have got a lot better at being able to draw what I see but I still have not managed to take that further step and be able to develop any of these criteria yet. I feel that some of the work that I have done for the exercises during this part of the course has gone a little way towards making a start to some of these criteria, particularly some of the later drawings of statues, which felt at the time, and still do, a real step forward but I have not been able to bring that to the assignment.

Context: Reflection, research, critical thinking (learning log)

I have tried to reflect throughout the assignment and have researched well and used that research to help me. My learning log is somewhat long-winded, but reasonably clear. I find writing difficult and summarizing even harder.

Despite, as I have gone through these criteria, feeling worse the further I worked my way down them I feel that there are many positives. I am pleased that I have managed to fulfil many of my personal aims for this assignment (already listed in previous post). I am also very pleased to have been able to complete it in good time, as that is a huge improvement on last time. It is the most complicated landscape I have ever attempted and I am happy that I have done the very best that I can do with it, at present. Though I may feel that I am still not up to standard for many of these criteria, I do feel that I am continuing to make progress on the course and with every part that I do, I learn and gain a tremendous amount. During the next part of the course I can work on the areas that are lacking in the above criteria and see how much I can improve on them. I also feel that I am measuring reasonably well against what is described for level 4 in the first paragraph in this post and therefore everything else I can work on.

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