Assignment 2 – tutor feedback reflection

I received my tutor’s written feedback from the assignment two submission this week.   We had earlier done a video chat via Google Meet to discuss the work,  but it was great to get additional written comment   I was again pleased and encouraged by his comments and valuable tips for future work, particularly with regards the use of photographs as source material.   He has given me details of some books to look into and I am in the process of sourcing those – more on that as I get them.      My tutor has summed up the areas I need to focus on for future work:

  • Consider cropping and employing more ambiguity (with photo references)
  • Try to avoid bringing in unnecessary colour (I will look again at Luc Tuymans’ work – see note below)a
  • Extend research further as per the guidelines he gave me in the body of the report.
  • Keep a consistency in application and avoid heavy light colour at the end of a painting.

He felt my strengths in this part were:

Good composition developments; Excellent use of tonal variation; Effective and relevant research and reflection; Very good handling of paint.



My tutor made the following comment with regards my tendency to get a bit heavy-handed with the addition of stronger colour where it’s perhaps not necessary.

You have included some very sensitive renderings of subject matter, which is especially evident in the ‘interior studies’ and the ‘still life with flowers’ exercises. As you work through the process there is a sense of care, where you are finding your way and learning about the subject matter through painting it. However, as you start to add stronger colour, such as in the application of reds and greens in the ‘still life with man-made objects’ exercise, the prior sensitivity in the initial underpainting is lost a little through the desire to define certain aspects of the still life with more detail. As such, the painting loses some of the ambiguity present in the initial underpainting. Having looked at Tuymans a great deal since the last assignment, look again at his highly mediated use of colour and how he tends not to introduce strong conflicting colour to the paintings. A good example of this in your own work is evident in the ‘interior studies’ exercise.

This is the still life work he’s referring to:

and this is the Interior studies piece:

Interior study – tone

What I found so interesting and encouraging about his comments, is I can remember while I was painting this interior composition, that I was subconsciously aware of Tuyman’s treatment of colour in his work and the almost bleached-out nature of his paintings. That is what I was trying to achieve.   I kept thinking in my head, ‘how would he (Luc Tuymans) treat this scene?  How much detail would he put in or leave out?  Am I using too much colour?’  Have I toned it down too much or not enough?   I am acutely aware that this is what I want to achieve – a very distilled, pared down statement of a scene.   It’s the ‘getting there’ (with confidence) that I am working on now. 

In addition, the idea of making my work more ambiguous is a really interesting thing to think about.  My interpretation of this is that I should aim for a ‘less is more’ approach to painting – not making everything so obvious, stop fiddling about with trifling details.  Sometimes leaving stuff out gives the viewer a chance to interact and kinda ‘fill in the blanks’, the work becomes interesting and gains some inner momentum    My tutor provided a series of images that explain this technique – and I understand this approach –  hopefully I can take it forward into other work during the course.

I find that I have a much more relaxed attitude towards this course than I did with Drawing 1 and am enjoying the challenges throughout the assignments. Repetitions of ideas helps develop a theme, something I never did before.


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