Assignment 4 – Reflective commentary

11 May 2017

 

Measurement against assessment criteria

I used the assessment criteria as the benchmark against which to make my critique. I also referred to the course aims and outcomes on page 5 of the notes.

 

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Before starting the assignment, I had only limited experience of mono printing and no experience of collatype. Consequently, I found project 2 more technically challenging than project 1. 

I was careful to limit the number of samples I made for this assignment, so as not to overstretch myself. This made time management easier, and when it came to writing up and analysing my results, I feel that I had achieved a good balance between practical work and analysis.

Initially, I had to overcome technical challenges of finding the right thickness of printing plate to run properly through the press and to understand how to prevent smudging with Akua liquid pigment. Through trial and error, I learnt how much ink to apply, how tacky the ink needs to be, and the correct pressure. These skills can only be acquired empirically, and as result of the exercises, I feel that I have a firm grounding on which to build knowledge and experience.

As well as techniques, the assessment criteria mentions observational skills, visual awareness, design and composition (course notes, page 11). I was pleased that I was able to begin the process of resolving quite a few of my samples, in particular, in the latter states of project 1 and in exercise 3 of project 2. I was sufficiently confident to start combining techniques and to develop multi-stage/layer prints. This proved especially fruitful, and I feel that I have a secure understanding of how to take the methods forward and use them in future in new and different ways. In the collagraph portrait and seascape prints of project 2, exercise 3, I was able to use design and compositional skills to produce balanced and visually interesting prints. 

  

Outcome

In addition to quality of visual output, outcome is also concerned with the application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, the conceptualisation of thoughts and the communication of ideas (course notes, page 11). 

More so than in any of the assignments so far, I feel that my sampling produced pieces which were either more fully resolved, or I could see the direction that they needed to be taken/developed. Sometimes I feel that my sampling produces lots of distinct, disjoint elements without obvious connection or application, but in this assignment, the read across between techniques was clear and straightforward.

My tutor raised a question about a dissonance between my use of colour to represent the samples in my Part 3 sketchbook. I am now confident that I understand the problems and the reasons why certain combinations did not work. I have explained this in a blog post and I do not believe it to be an issue, either in Part 4 or going forward.

 

Demonstration of creativity

This criterion looks for experimentation, invention and development of a personal voice (course notes, page 11).

I found it very easy to generate ideas for this assignment. Perhaps it’s because I have a natural affinity with printmaking? I feel that the loose and expressive style of mark-making fits my creative style, whilst allowing me to exploit my drawing skills.

I have been experimental, but not as much as I would have liked. I had to spend a lot of time understanding ink behaviour, so limited most of my printing to plain paper. More experimental backgrounds I tried included envelope paper, brown paper, paper bag, Japanese paper and cotton muslin. I feel that I had only scraped the tip of the iceberg in this respect and I would desperately like to expand and experiment further.

The ‘sorting’ stage was much more straightforward this time round because the direction in which I need to take/develop samples was clearer. It was also easier to pick out samples with the most potential, because techniques like back drawing, reductive mark making and stencilling are very much in tune with my creative voice/style, so I was naturally drawn to these samples. I am beginning to make mental links between the assignments of this module, especially between printmaking, and surface distortion, joining and wrapping. There are lots of exciting avenues which could be explored in my final project.
 

Context

I have continued with the format of my previous two assignments; completing a detailed piece of research into several artists relevant to the assignment in a dedicated blog post. I have taken on board my tutor’s comment from part 3 and tried to more closely relate each artist’s work to my own practice. I have particularly considered techniques, style and composition, and the emotional response prompted by the use of colour and tone. Although my style of contextual research is quite formal, it is a process which allows me to mentally rationalise and sift the information, and to present it is a format which I can easily a quickly return to and refresh my memory.

The difficulty with presenting research in a separate post (with a password, so as not to breach copyright), is that it is not presented next to the project work/samples to which it relates. I have tried to redress this by mentioning relevant work/practitioners in my write up for stages 2 (sample-making) and 3 (recording outcomes). 

When commenting on the merits of my sampling, I have been especially careful to explain exactly why I find a piece appealing (or otherwise). I have also taken on board my tutor’s comment about recording the emotional response to each piece as well as the technical merits.

 

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