Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment 4

For this assignment I used my collective knowledge from this section to produce a soft landscape painting using a photograph that I came across. I investigated this subject using techniques uncovered earlier in tis section by completing separate sketches of line, tone and colour. I found that this really helped me achieve the best from what I was seeing. It also helped me record what I was seeing allowing me to put my own style in to the final piece. I wanted to work as suggested by my tutor, in a much brighter and lighter way. I also want to explore the colours and paint capabilities to a greater degree..

I really enjoyed this assignment, in fact out of all my paintings from this section, in my opinion this was my most successful. There were many artists whose work had previously inspired me before undertaking this section such as Corinne Natel. However, I am surprised how different a direction my work went in than originally planned. I am going to continue working on learning the way that Natel and other preferred landscape artists work, in order for me to grow in a way that I particularly favour.

I feel that there were definite more successful parts to this painting than others. One that fits in to both category’s is my brush marks. I am definitely exploring greatly and in some ways successful, how to use them to my advantage. I am experimenting greatly with their effects and enjoying the results greatly. I still really like the obvious less fuss and playful strokes that have been mentioned in earlier areas.

I have learnt one huge lesson, not to settle. Instead to keep re-working until I am happy. I was going to use an entirely different subject and painting. However, I was not happy and went back and changed everything. I am much happier.

Next time I will definitely explore a focus on a single tree and its leaves. Possible more of a contemporary emotionally expressive piece. Similar to those that I came across in my research.

I have collectively put all the theory in to practice through this painting. Especially the linear perspective.

I can definitely take what I have learnt from changes in tone and light forward with my throughout all of my OCA journey It has not only made me better at a skill but it has challenged my to enjoy a subject I had otherwise would of been quick to dismiss.

My final painting, Acrylic on A3 paper:

DSC_0254 DSC_0256 DSC_0257 DSC_0258 DSC_0259

Preliminary sketches, investigations and experimenting:

001 001

002 001


I have discovered that landscapes are very personal and what is truly beautiful to one, may not be to another. I explored view point greatly during this entire section and came across some truly beautiful paintings by well known artists. I have to admit, the more that I came across, the more that I realised I have favourable taste. I do definitely prefer contemporary approaches to landscape paintings. However, I really wanted to challenge myself though this piece to explore light and tonal range, as well as the linear perspective. This particular subject allowed me to explore this greatly and learn a lot in the process too. I found a lot of inspiration from other artists work, mainly expressive landscape painters such as Paul Nash who’s trees showed be other more expressive possibilities for my own work.


Assignment 3 re-done and reflection:

After receiving my tutors feedback, I definitely agree that I needed to re-do it. Here are some of the reasons for my choices:

  • I agree with my tutor that the background and the subject appeared to be on the same plain. I really was excited by the palette knife, however after really spending time investigating and exploring my options, as well as background as a subject, I decided to use a complementary subject. This created a brilliant depth and really complemented the portrait itself.
  • I researched skin tone and visited local art shops, discovering a brilliant colour of acrylic paint.
  • As suggested I spent more time achieving a more natural change in tone. Whilst at the same time keep maintaining bold strong contemporary effects.
  • In one of my textbooks Vitamin P, I came across an acrylic on canvas painting “Untitled (what is it about…) 2001, 120×110 cm, Marcus Muntean b.Graz 1962. This equality between the background and the subject inspired me greatly, as well as the content of the background.

Overall I am much more pleased with the results of this painting in comparison to the first. However, I still feel that I achieved a much more realistic eye through my watercolour studies, in comparison to the acrylic. I definitely prefer the background as it has brought depth and moved figure forward. I also prefer the skin tone. I have learnt a lot from this assignment and there are so many areas still to grow from greatly.

Earlier investigations working on my tutor feedback:

Assignment 2 re-done after reflecting on my tutor’s feedback

Spending time reflecting on my tutor’s feedback I agreed that the dark black background really soaked up the subject and was really over powering. After spending time experiencing several more paintings of interiors with focus on still life subjects, I wanted to re do the painting with lighter tones in the background. I chose a light brown (burnt umber and white) for the wall and a range of tones available from mixing cerulean blue and white for the curtain. This lifted the mood and overall feeling for me and brought much more of a focus on to the subject, whilst maintaining the linear perspective of the piece.

I slightly shifted the proximity to the subject as well as the fabric cloth on the table. I wasn’t happy with the original shape of how the cloth fell so I returned to original position options from sketches and chose to let the cloth drop in a more balanced way.

Another change that I made was the colour for the grapes. I agree that the original looked quite “chemical” so chose a lighter colour that worked better with the vase, etc. Using greens (sap green, light green and white) really lifted the still life too.

I tried to avoid the entire contents of the piece dissolving and bring more definition whilst maintaining what I wanted to achieve from the original.

I wanted to use different tools to apply the paint for this piece. I used palette knives to create the flowers which I really liked. I also used cotton bud sticks to create the white smaller flowers. I feel that they allowed my strengths of simplicity to flow through more naturally than with a brush.

I have noticed how much more enjoyment I am having with painting and freedom I am finding too.

One massive technical issue that I have realised that I have been having and I am now able to conquer is the level of light that I am working under. In a naturally lit room, the coverage looks even. However once in direct light the painting looks drastically patchy. Light alters the way that I see the colour too. All these things I am continuing to learn from and grow through experimentation.

One thing that I would of liked is brighter colours in the flowers, however, I wanted to maintain the original content to a certain degree. I intend to work on more flower paintings with a broader variety of brighter colours.

IMG_20150428_143330 A2 Acrylic on treated paper.

Reflecting on Part 3 as a whole

What an exciting rollercoaster this section has taken me on. It has pushed me to new levels and brought so much out of me creatively. I have discovered so much about the direction that my work is going towards and how to really feel my work. I have taken so much from this journey so far and can only imagine what I will do in the future. Exciting!

I have to admit that the simplicity of painting styles is where my strengths are. The detail of exactly what I am seeing isn’t where my passions lie. Instead expressing what I am feeling is more important to me. Modern impressionism has blown me away with beauty and I am enjoying exploring and experimenting with it through my own work. I am appreciating colour greatly and how to use it to my advantage. Experiment with the effect that colours have with each other and how we perceive it is leading to endless experimentation.

Overall a fantastic part to this course and I am so excited to continue.

Assignment 3:

For this piece I chose to take an earlier piece of coursework further, I knew that I could do better and wanted to take what I had learnt further and on a larger scale. The results were really positive.

I am so excited by the results of palette knives. For some time I have been studying the work of artists such as Charmaine Olivia, etc. Also experimenting with using flowers and their colours in the background of portraits and figure studies. I have been drawing basic colourful flowers and positioning them at the side of or around portrait drawings. The response that the human face/ figure has to the bright colours really appeals to me. I wanted to achieve their effect however, it wasn’t feeling right. I wanted expressive colours in the background, however, was unsure on how to convey this in a way that wasn’t so overpowering. Then through the fun of experimentation, I found the perfect and exciting answer, I really couldn’t be happier. The contrast between the stunning effects from palette knives, in contrast to varied obvious brush strokes within the subject.

I also spent a lot more time developing the colours that I was going to use in order to get them the way that I wanted. I wasn’t afraid to use obvious contrasts in tone in order to achieve what I wanted to. Mixing the paint with palette knives brought amazing results in terms of continuity in the paints colour.

assignment 3 sketch 001 A study of different parts of the face.

assign 3 sketch 003 A drawing of my portrait photographed.

assign 3 sketch 001

DSC_0155 An earlier piece of course work that I wanted to take further.

part 3 proj 2 ex 1 001 My favoured sketch that I worked from.

My final piece (A2 Acrylic paint on prepared paper):

DSC_0144 DSC_0146

A close up on the effects of the palette knife:


Overall I am really pleased with the results of this assignment and the process that it has taken me through. I have learnt a lot about what I enjoy and the direction that my work is going in. I have also gained an ever growing understanding of how important experimentation is as well as trialling the final piece before moving on to a final piece. Colour studies are also crucial to the process. Overall I am loving painting more than a realistic picture, instead feeling what I am painting and then expressing what I am feeling.

There were technical issues with the palette knife especially. Such as getting close to the subject with the paint, however, this has its aesthetically pleasing advantages too. I also decided to use the palette knife to bring to life the clothes too. I chose pale blue and yellow as they really complement the skin tone and each other. I wanted to achieve a positive bright emotional reflection.

Something that I am learning to appreciate is the results of feeling what I am painting instead of over analysing every brush stroke, the freer that I feel, the happier that I am with the results of my work. I have to admit that everything about this piece expressed exactly what I was feeling and what I wanted to achieve.

Assignment 2

Assignment Two

Preliminary sketches and colour studies:

ass 2 001 ass 2 c 001 ass 2 b 001 ass 2 d 001 image

My final piece:



Portrait, Acrylic on canvas, size: 14×18 inches

The process, my decisions and reflection:

For this assignment, I wanted to express collectively the learning process as a whole from part two, as well as my emotional response to the subject and what I wanted to express from it.

At first (as you can see from my initial sketches), I included a vast amount more of what I could see in my view. However, after much investigation and my colour study, I felt that moving in slightly and by cropping my view inwards, that I was able to express the subject more effectively.

After working through my previous pieces, during my coursework, I knew that I wanted to layer the paint from the background up with colour and tones. I really do enjoy bringing the subject from darkness similar to the feelings created from monochrome. I absolutely loved the results of the banana and grapes painting and wanted to take this further.

I wanted to explore the meanings behind Vanitas paintings subjects by including some of their well known content. I kept much of this painting quite muted in order to express the darkness surrounding the beauty and colour of life. I wanted to achieve a feeling of homeliness and warmth, whist contrasting with the dark reality of mortality.

After realising that I wanted to move in closer, I wanted to maintain my surroundings as much as possible, in order to take away a 2D feeling and also to bring out some of the relationship that I felt so compelling from earlier studies in my sketches. Therefore by including the shapes of the large curtain, I feel that I have brought a piece of that, without taking focus from the subject. Also this was to bring depth as I took out many of the linear perspective qualities that I had initially achieved through stepping back for my initial sketches.

The curtains hold a real relationship with the concept that I wanted to achieve, not only in a comforting homely way, however, also symbolically expressing the awaiting “final curtain call”. Curtain’s also express the human feeling of we shut them we can hide away from reality.

After completing colour studies with acrylic, as well as a simpler soft pastel colour study(as you can see above), I knew that I wanted to include a black background, similar to many of the Dutch Vanitas painters that I have been researching. I wanted bold colours that would stand firm in shape.

– In the light of the glass doors, the green was not coming through the vase so I relied on many changes in tone within the red-brown.

– I blocked out the background colours and the cloth of the table and allowed it to dry first. As well as painting the main lines with a neutral paint (as you can see from my scanned page from my sketch book.

– I attempted to contrast each of the colours with their complementary, in order to bring as much vibrancy as possible out of each part. For example: purple with yellow, yellow-green with red-purple, green with various tones of red with white.

I was concerned that the black would swallow up the colour, however, by challenging the vibrancy of life, I feel that this only enhances what I wanted it to say. I also made some investigations into the colours on top of black, they did appear much more vibrant with soft pastels, however I added a further layer of a lighter tone on to my final piece to lift it even further.

In comparison to my first assignment, and in fact part 1 as a whole, I feel that I have come a considerable way forward. I am enjoying taking risks with my work, especially with my painting. I really am enjoying pushing each colours capabilities, instead of simply looking at it’s face value.

I am pleased with this piece of work as a whole and have definitely learnt the necessity of studying the subject and experimenting with colours (especially fitting with mood), is crucial to process prior to painting. One change that I made after deliberation was to take awake a stark contrast in change in tone within the background, and instead created a subtle one. Also I added layers to the table cloth with changes in tone and texture as I felt that that the original was too overpowering and distracting once in a larger scale.

My most successful parts of my painting are in my opinion the flowers. I am surprised with my “style” of painting flowers, however I am happy with its ability to captivate them. I am least happy with my grapes which has really surprised me as I thoroughly enjoy painting grapes. I have learnt a lot from this assignment, including how patience is often key to the finished process. In my first assignment I spent less time observing the changes as the paint dried and layering tones as time passed. This is something that I am learning to appreciated within the process of painting.

Assignment one

 My still life of Calla Lilly’s. Acrylic on canvas ( 50 x 60 )



Above (the second photograph), is a more natural lighting and colour.

Some close up photographs of my painting are as follows:



Above is one of my favourate sections of this painting because of the lines and tones.


I included some visible specks of green through the transparent glass.

Notes on the process as well as the process itself are as follows:

  • My original sketches stemmed from a simple observational pen sketch (b). This inspired me to attempt a still life of a vase of flowers for my first assignment. I began by researching the type of flowers that are available during this season. I made a list of the ones that I felt would be most pleasing and interesting to paint (c).
  • I complete a colour study and plan my colours, some of which can be seen below (f) that I was going to use.
  • I then went on to experiment with composition. I began this process with many flowers, I then sketched a few and chose my favourite. This came down to three (f), which later turned in to two. Even though the third was beautiful, the two that I chose, really worked together and complimented each other well. They also created an insinuated diagonal line flowing through the painting. Their shapes, complemented the colours too, creating quite a gothic effect.
  • After researching well known artists that used dark back grounds for the base of their paintings during a previous stage of part one, I truly wanted to use this method for this assignment. I chose a mixture of cadmium red and ultramarine (inspired from working on a white background tonal study) and applied the mixure of paint with a small sponge on to canvas (to achieve a successful even background with a lovely texture). I covered the canvas completely as a base, to achieve a strong base for the coming layers of paint.
  • Following this, I then painted the table that the flowers were on, adding the tone of cloth. I have to add that through my research, I discovered that the positioning of a still life vase commonly seems to be positioned to one side of an oval table. I experimented and have to agree that this is the most aesthetically pleasing of all my choices.
  • For the vase, I used a transparent mixture of black and water. Followed by black paint directly from the tube for the stems visible through the glass.
  • I absolutely love the shapes and colours of these flowers, they were a real joy to paint. the flecks of green, white, many shades of purple through to black, etc. These were fascinating flowers to say the least.







A brief evaluation of my assignment

Overall I am really happy with the results. I am pleased that I challenged myself to work in a way that I wasn’t used to and learnt a lot of things on the way.

I really wanted to achieve solidity in the paint for the most part, and I am happy that I used a dark backround to achieve this. I did find that as much preparation work as I did to begin with, really did help me when it came down to my final piece. However, I have to admit that once my painting dried I went back and added to it spontaneously after observing it for a while.

I had choices of light and dark shades of this flower, and thanks to previous exercises in this course, I wasn’t afraid to chose the darker shades. Along with my choice of flower (the mystical and haunting shapes of the lily’s), I feel that the whole composition, including the background of my living rooms purple wall, only enhances what I wanted to express through my piece. This was the whole meaning of still life flower paintings. Facing life within its last breaths and inevitable mortality. I feel that the flower especially conveys an emotional representation of everything that I have been learning about still life’s, especially vanitas paintings. I cannot wait to take this knowledge further.
I also have to add how much more freedom I am achieving in my painting. I found myself using not on my paintbrushes, but also my hands and fingers, etc. I love this new more adventurous side to my creativity.

As I progress through both my course and as an artist, I am learning the importance of patience. Allowing for the paint to dry between stages, waiting to see what my work dries like, working on different sections gradually, etc. This all takes time and I am learning to enjoying and appreciate the process, not just the outcome.

Technical difficulties and what I did to rectify them

  • I didn’t like the even plane back ground aswell as the lighter shade in front of it, so I added another shade from the spectrum very faintly to both, to add texture to the areas. Only in some areas.
  • I went back to go over the bright white reflections that were on the vase, with a very watery mixture of the black paint wash. The contrast was too over powering and originally distracted the whole focus.
  • I wasn’t happy with how the edge of the table dried, so went back and added a further layer of a different shade on top.
  • The overall painting appeared quite dark though the camera, putting the painting in direct light when taking a full shot, chaged the colours slightly in the photograph. I took several shots and commented above.
  • In the end, I chose quite a dark flower, however, leading from artists such as Rembrandt, etc. I used a lighter shade directly behind the flowers for the most part. I deliberately let the tips of the petals flow in to the darkness.

In conclusion this has been a perfect end to part 1. I have enjoyed bringing together much of my knowledge that I have gained so far, as well as you could say, discovering a new accent to my artistic voice.