Tutor Report Part 3

Student name Patricia Farrar Student number 422951
Course/Module Investigating Drawing Assignment number 3

Dear Patricia,

Many thanks for your third Assignment work.

Overall Comments

You have responded to the physicality and gesture projects in a very thorough and thoughtful way. I think you have also risen to the challenge of responding to the three points I raised for you in advance of this project. This response has been more successful in terms of the right choice of media and variation of touch and tone. However your conception of the importance of space and spatial balance is still a difficulty.

I also felt that the Assignment three choice of music was interesting but needed further consideration in terms of some research into Messiaen and what his music represents and whether gestural mark making reflects what is essentially a very idiosyncratic form of music related to bird song and ancient Greek music but also a form of music that relates more to minimalism and serialism than abstract or figurative emotional expression. It is no accident that his pupils, Stockhausen and Boulez went on to develop electronic music.

It is important to understand that the use of the Ondes Martinot, (which preempted the development of electronic music (through the Moog synthesizer), as well as being an instrument that creates sound and tone sequences essentially sustains sound. This suspension of sound could have been reflected in your mark making, which is essentially linear and consists of overlaid lines rather than marks that could be wide and expansive or create coverage.

Feedback on assignment

In terms of the Assessment criteria the work you have produced for this Assignment demonstrates competent technical and visual skills. I still think however that you need to step back and consider aspects of design and construction in your work and in relation to your difficulty with conception of space, balance and wider conceptions of how an artwork can develop. How for instance do you tackle the concept of drawing in actual space (I only mention this because this is a concept that forms a part of my own work as an artist)?

You have also demonstrated a competent realization of ideas, presented well showing consistency in judgement (Quality of Outcome). You are also taking risks with imaginative and successful outcomes (creativity)

Firstly, I will answer your question in your blog in the section relating to comments on progress from Tutors points in part 2:

‘I really like this drawing in fact I like it better than the finished one and it emphasizes the subject of the image which is all about abandonment, loneliness etc. However I am feeling that I can’t leave a drawing like this and must always put something or marks in the space. Could you please comment on this aspect of leaving empty space.’

As we are looking at an assignment that largely relates to responding to music or auditory stimulus it is important to establish that the basic definition of music is sound through time. Time in an auditory abstract sense represents ‘space’ and in this sense space has the same connotations for artists. Space therefore is a controlling factor in everything we do on a surface or within an environment (for performance art or for installation or indeed for architecture). Your question about leaving empty space is therefore a very important one. It is the basic impulse of every student to cover the whole surface of a drawing or painting without really thinking about the importance of space – and in this interpretation it is rather like playing the piano with the loud pedal held down – no phrasing –no time to breathe etc. Space in drawing and painting is therefore a fundamental factor to consider in terms of framing, design, phrasing, context, dynamics and planar dynamics, cognitive recognition of form etc. etc.

Many artists use space as a driving force behind their work and empty space is vital in all approaches to visual art be it figurative, minimalist conceptual or multi disciplinary. Can you for example say that Cezanne’s watercolours or his paintings such as La Route Tournante are not complete because they employ empty space? – Equally the serial drawings of Robert Mangold (I would suggest that you research this artist if you do not know his work)? Equally you could consider the concept of trapped space as displayed in the illusory, hard-edged abstraction of Al Held (again research if you don’t know).

I have spent too much time on answering this question so I shall swiftly move on to commenting about your response to the projects and assignment.

Part of the difficulty here is that like many of the projects in this part of the course, the emphasis is on process rather than product. This reflects the trends in post modern and conceptual art so that the recording and description of the act of doing becomes very important and the product less so. You have produced an assignment that has archived this process within your blog through your descriptions of the experience, processes and media used, videos and self-evaluation. I therefore put more credence on your blog description of the experience of these projects than the final outcomes and I was therefore not worried that you did not send me the outcomes from these experiences.

Clement Greenberg says ‘ Music is an ‘abstract art a ‘pure form’ it was such because it was incapable, objectively of communicating anything else other than sensation. An imitative painting can be described in terms of non-visual identities, a piece of music cannot, whether it attempts to imitate or not. The effects of music are the effects, essentially, of pure form; those of painting or poetry are too often accidental to the formal nature s of these arts. Only by accepting the example of music and defining each of the other arts solely in terms of sense or faculty which perceived the effect and by excluding from each art whatever is intelligible in the terms of any other sense or faculty would the non-musical arts attain the ‘purity’ and self-sufficiency which they desired’

The outcomes from the Assignment work however are as a result of your desire to express yourself through mark making, gesture, technique and emotion. You have clearly described the conflict that arises when you try to combine the senses and realized that the content or subject of the drawing must take a back stage to the act of drawing. I would however ask one question related to the importance of subject – and this relates to drawing number 2 ‘Jug, bowl and red roses’

Why is the subject of this drawing pushed over to the left side of the frame?

…..And another question:

If you had researched aspects of music in relation to art in advance – I wonder if your approach and experience would have been different?

I am therefore going to urge you to do more advanced research for the next assignment.

Summary of points arising from this assignment:

I would also suggest you do some research in retrospect of this Assignment and look up references to music in Art in Theory 1900 -2000 an Anthology of changing ideas edited by Harrison and Wood (Blackwell Publishing).

I would also suggest that you read the chapter on space in Art and Visual Perception by Rudolph Arnheim published by Faber.

Learning Logs and Sketchbooks

 I have already said that your learning log is thorough and self –critical. The reading and research and exhibition visits are all relevant and are helping you to progress. I think you should also be prepared to research other disciplines such as music, philosophy and environment if it relates to exploration or aspects that your practice as an artist may cover.

 Suggested reading/viewing

I have already given you a number of suggestions for reading and artists to look at. I would also do some research into land art, environmental intervention and I would look at the work of Tacita Dean, Richard Long, Mark Wallinger, James Turrell, Christian Marclay (music).

Please also read Place by Tacita Dean and Jeremy Millar Thames & Hudson and Space, Place and gender by Doreen Massey Polity Press.

Tutor name: Richard Liley
Date 6/08/16
Next assignment due 6/11/16

Assessment Criteria


Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
Quality of Outcome Content, application of knowledge, presentation of working in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
Demonstration of Creativity Imagination, experimentation, intention, development of a personal voice.


Reflection, research, critical thinking





About pbfarrar

I am an Australian living permanently in England. I have recently retired from the position of Principal of an independent school and have taken up the study of Fine Art with the OCA.
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