Assignment 3 – Critical Review

The brief was to work outwith the traditional studio environment and I decided to try to expand the theme of ageing from Part 2 by working on a series of exercises based on childhood drawings.

After initial research my focus came down to:

  • Exploring different ways to create work
  • Using different mediums and materials
  • Thinking more about the physical presentation of work

My aim was to use this process to generate further ideas. From this point of view, I feel that the exercises have been successful. I recreated scenes outdoors, documented the process with photography, created basic models and used objects and toys from my childhood. In addition, I worked with pastels and acrylics to create artwork based on the drawings.

I don’t feel that any of the exercises have resulted in work that is fully resolved. The process itself, however, has made me think about how I work and, in pushing myself to work in different ways, I have been more open to experimenting with the potential options.

On the plus side a number of the exercises have got me to the stage of having ideas that can be developed further:

Ideas of the self and how we see ourselves – These exercises have been ongoing alongside clearing the family home after my mum passed away earlier this year. This is an emotional process, part of coming to terms with life without her. It has got me thinking about the possessions that we surround ourselves with, what we keep, what is, or was, meaningful to us. Without our presence the meaning is lost on those who are left behind.
This has reminded me of research into medieval art for Part 1 of the course. The depiction of individuals moved away from realistic portrayal and often different attributes or objects related to the individual were used to identify them. This has made me consider what items we would choose to identify ourselves or sum up our lives?

Inner landscape/maps – As I worked with my childhood drawings I began to see them as representing an inner childhood landscape. The sketches show the objects and activities that meant something to me at the time. Thinking about them brought back memories and I began to think of ways that I could, in some way, map this inner landscape. Research into aboriginal art highlighted the significance of not only physical landscape but an inner landscape made up of the lives of the ancestors, memory and the significance of scale in portraying this. The work of Ian Kiaer and Susannah Ramsay made me think of different ways to create and present work.

Scraps and scrapbooking – While working on one of the exercises a line from Bookends, a Simon and Garfunkel song, came to mind, ‘Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you’. Like possessions which of our memories do we hold onto and how do they define us?

The exercise inspired by the sketch of a bee, made me think of scraps that I collected as a child, particularly the ones with the cherubs on clouds. This, in turn, got me thinking about using the idea of scraps and scrapbooking as a way to explore this theme of memories, perhaps with scrap-like elements within a painting or having a composition based on a scrapbook page.

After a discussion with my tutor I worked on a number of smaller test pieces with the aim of using only white texture as a way of exploring the theme of memories. For a number of the pieces I did use some colour, finding it hard to convey what I wanted using only white. However, two of these pieces, Practical Exercise 6 – Texture – Scraps and Practical Exercise 8 – Texture – Map, offer the possibility of developing the theme of memory and the idea of less is more, in terms of colour is intriguing.

Related pages

Assignment 3 – Practical Exercises – (Accessed on 29.06.18)


Practical Exercise 6 – Texture – Scraps –

Practical Exercise 8 – Texture – Map –

Azlyrics. Bookends Theme. (Accessed on 29.06.18)

Simon, P. (1968) Bookends Theme In: Bookends. New York City: Columbia Records.