REFLECTION: Tutor’s report – Part 5


In the post for April 3rd, ‘REFLECTION: Assignment 5 and the course as a whole’, I wrote about my sense of achievement in the point that I feel to have reached at the conclusion of Drawing 2. This is not to be confused with any feelings of complacency! I know the personal struggle there has been to grapple with new ways of working and the level of thinking and determination which has been needed. I also know that this is only one more ‘rung of the ladder’ and that there are many, many more…endless, I’d imagine!

This tutor report for Part 5 feels to me to be an endorsement of the comments I made in that post. Perhaps the most important element of the report for me is the fact that quality time has been given by the tutor to examining the work and making the connections. In the distance learning setup, communication assumes a greater importance perhaps than in face to face tuition. So a lot relies on the student spending time carefully documenting every step of the creative process but also the tutor taking the time to make the links. I appreciate that this probably isn’t always easy but it is essential. However, just as important as all the words, is the ability of the images to reflect the thinking process – to say what the student wants it to say or thinks it says! This element seems to have been a continual struggle for me throughout the course and it has been continually said that the final work does not reflect the thinking process. So I’m very pleased to find that in this last section of the course that all of the parts have come together and that there is clarity and connections which are easily seen and acknowledged. The resolution of an idea can be a long time in coming and I wonder if in the past I have stopped before the completion of the idea. But not in this case!

I’m also pleased with the acknowledgement of the experimentation which I’ve shown in the work. Searching for a new language in the exploration of ‘abstraction’ has been the driving force behind that experimentation. In this search, you are not only learning a new language but you are also having to create that language for yourself. I understand that one’s personal language is ever evolving. It was interesting to observe in my recent visit to ‘Absent Friends’ at the NPG, that renowned abstract artists like Howard Hodgkin develop their own personal vocabulary of marks and one sees these marks repeated over and over in the images. Finding fresh marks has needed pushing through boundaries. Just as in writing one finds oneself using the same vocabulary, so I’ve found myself growing bored with my own marks and I’ve used many different mechanisms to break through this. It’s a fascinating quest.

I’m grateful that all the work I’ve done with ‘line’ as a new vocabulary has been noticed. This has been a major part of my work for this section.

The report highlights the difference between abstract artists and artists who abstract and this insight has given me such a fresh and exciting perspective on my work. I realise that much of my research has been on the formal elements of abstraction as recommended by my previous tutor. This report has shown me that my work shows a fluidity in contrast with ‘pure abstraction’ and I’m grateful to have had this pointed out. I hadn’t seen this myself. I am looking forward to exploring this idea in greater depth as I think it will give me a greater understanding of my own work. Even though the research has been along formal lines, I’m grateful to have been encouraged to do this work as it has given me the background I needed into the development of abstraction as a movement.

I guess perhaps the most important aspect of this report for me is the encouragement it has given me to continue to develop my voice. It has honestly acknowledged where I’ve got to, it has understood where I’m trying to get to and has given me the encouragement to keep going. Thank you for this….







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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