Assignment 4 – Tutor feedback/reflection

I feel really privileged to have the tutor I’ve got for this course, his feedback is always positive and filled with inspirational nudges in the directions he knows I will appreciate. It’s good to know that I’m on track and applying the knowledge I’m gaining from the course exercises into my work – sometimes that’s hard to see when you are right on top of it, so to speak.

Assignment 4 piece feedback:

You have demonstrated and understood quite well the benefits of avoiding a more prescriptive approach to making a painting, opting instead for an outlook which allows the painting to develop on its own terms;

The first three sketches are very accomplished works in their own right. There is a fluidity and fluency here which demonstrates a good awareness and understanding of materials. There is a unity and a harmony between your use of colour, tone, form and composition. Your use of darks and lights is also balanced and effective.

Your main assignment painting is a steady progression of these initial studies. You have clearly developed the subject matter and produced a confident and accomplished painting.

There is also a sense of ambiguity in the darker areas of the painting, particularly in the hills or mountains which are in shadow. Your treatment of lights and highlights also warrants a mention here too, you have rendered the subtle blue and red hues in the whites of the mountains in a delicate and skillful way. This a very good example of how an understated, still and relatively delicate painting avoids a stiffness. Great painting.

Working from a Photograph’. The work you have produced here mirrors some of the comments I have made above in your assignment works. There is a sensitive attention given to form and edges, keeping things lively and not being too concerned about overlapping edges or too much detail helps to keep things loose and animated. Conveying a sense of movement. Really interesting composition in this painting too. The combination of what seems to be mountains in a remote setting in the background, alongside a Doric column and white buildings in the foreground, makes for a very rich and ambiguous narrative landscape painting. Good job. Er .. the very light (almost white) area is supposed to be reflected light on the water .. I should have made that a bit clearer in the painting I guess. nevermind, he likes it!

In his comments around the Squaring up and Working from a drawing exercises, my tutor was largely positive, however he did think that I overworked some of the pieces and I totally agree with him. 

‘Squaring up’ exercise painting is relatively believable; it isn’t quite as convincing as the above painting or the paintings in the assignment. …..  the photograph which you have included in the previous painting titled ‘laying in some colour’ is far more balanced, coherent and ‘believable’ somehow.      It’s interesting that part of your research included one of Turner’s underpainting studies. I think your painting at the early stages is very reminiscent of this painting and they both have a lot in common.

Er, wow. 😊

There are some good studies in your ‘Working From a Drawing’ exercise. Particularly the tonal study of flowers in a vase in your sketchbook, good use of varied marks and economy of materials in this study. Your line and tonal drawing studies of an interior are equally effective. I also like your Tuymans-like tonal ‘drippy paint’ painting in the second photograph included. Perhaps there wasn’t much more to be done to this painting at this stage? Although the final painting is ‘believable’ and relatively well done, perhaps it’s a little overworked. 

Painting a Landscape Outside’ exercise. Considering you were out of your comfort zone and your usual familiar environment and surroundings, the work made in this exercise is good.


It’s interesting, for me, to absorb the comments about the preparatory work for two of these exercies where my tutor felt that these were strong enough and I should have perhaps left it right there. The ‘Window’ – drippy ‘Luc Tuymans’ underpainting example:

and the Turner-esque preparatory underpainting for the Criccieth Castle study).

It is so hard to do that! When your mind is set on producing a finished piece. But I am getting this concept more and more, the ‘leave stuff out, make it more ambiguous’ aspect. In hindsight, I know that I wasn’t happy with the choice of subject or approach for the ‘Squaring up’ exercise, my heart wasn’t in it from the outset and it shows! You can’t pretend. ‘The truth will out’ as it were. The art you produce will reflect all of this, whether you want it to or not. I think that’s something I’ve never really thought about before.

I have also begun to think that this method – showing a painting in its loose early stages – could be a great concept for my part 5 assignment pieces- i.e. each stage having some merit of its own as a stand alone painting. That’s a concept I need to think about a bit more.


I have not copied out all of my tutor’s report, as I’d come across as crowing because it’s really positive and I’m well pleased.     He has given me some interesting further research/books and video links to look at, which I’m going to get stuck into as soon as possible.

Pointers for part 5 assignment.

  1. Consider experimenting further with local and subtle ‘alternative’ colour as way to explore ambiguity.
  • As an exercise, try limiting your colour palette and materials to explore their full potential.
  • Try R&F Pigment Sticks as an alternative to paint or soft pastels as way to meet in the middle.
  • Continue to explore relevant artists and research to enrich your practice.

2 thoughts on “Assignment 4 – Tutor feedback/reflection

  1. You’ll like the pigment sticks. Well if you are a drawer at heart. Very detailed feedback. Good luck with your studies


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