Friday, 28 September 2012

For Monday

Florian Nicolle
 Over the weekend you need to cut your A4 gold card plate, ready to print on Monday. In addition to the previous list you should now also have completed:
  • At least 2 good monoprints (one of these should be A4 in scale).
  • Mount all your drawings/prints into your book.
  • Mount 4 - 6 of your best photos in your sketchbook (printed at A5 or A4 scale).
  • 2 pages of research into the mixed media collages of Florian Nicolle.
On Monday you will also need to bring £2 as a contribution towards some group materials we will require next week (spraycans and food dyes).

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tools To Do List

To be on track with the project you should aim to finish the following work by the end of Wednesday. Thursday and Friday this week will be dedicated to printmaking.
  • Sustained tonal pencil drawing of your tool from direct observation.
  • A range of good photos of your tool (see last post).
  • An expressive drawing over a collage base.
  • Collage base Drawing
  • An expressive drawing using stick and ink (A3 or A2 scale).
Expressive Ink Drawing

  • An expressive drawing using Charcoal (A3 or A2 in scale).
  • Two pages of research into the Tool drawings of Jim Dine - find good reproductions of his work, give a brief bit of background information about the Artist, provide some analysis and personal opinion on at least 2 specific images.
    Jim Dine

  • Have at least 4 photos printed out at A4 scale ready for printmaking on Thursday.
Make good use of your private study time and get stuck in!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sample Tool Photography

So the first tasks for the tools project are to complete at least one fantastic sustained pencil drawing from direct observation and take a set of interesting photos of your tool.
Zoom in, choose unusual angles, consider lighting, cropping and viewpoint carefully. You might make use of cast shadows or select a specific background for your shots.
Take 15 - 20 shots and print 4 - 6 of the best at A5 scale. Here are a few sample shots to give you the idea:

New Project Brief



PROJECT– Multi-Purpose Tool

This project offers the opportunity to produce evidence towards the following units:
1 -  Drawing Development
2 -  Historical & Contextual Understanding
3 -  Materials, Techniques & Processes
4 -  Ideas & Concepts
5 -  Visual Communication

TIME: 2 Weeks
MATERIALS: Mixed Media
RESOURCES: sewing machines, printing press, and photocopier.

Textile design is an ever growing and evolving area of art and design, with individuals involved in this field now implementing an impressive array of techniques and processes which not only serve to enhance and enrich their work, but when adopted by other artists and designers working in other disciplines, theirs too.
This project asks you to look at textile design from an entirely different perspective to that which you have possibly been previously accustomed.
By using a basic hand-tool as your starting point, you are required to produce a body of work, which represents your object in a number of different ways. You will, as part of the process, and by using a variety of techniques and materials, consider and tackle texture, mark-making, surface pattern, scale and form.

o   Having selected an appropriate hand-tool (– this should be an object which has a number of different working parts, textures, different materials in it’s construction, interesting negative shapes and strong structural elements); a mechanical hand whisk, hand drill or ‘lazy-fish’ corkscrew would all be good choices - you should begin by carefully examining and scrutinizing your object; looking at its basic construction and trying to understand exactly how it works and what it is used for.
o   In order to get a real feel for your object you should produce a range of studies in a sketchbook, initially in pencil, which are the product of some careful observation and strive to record the different surfaces and textures that your object might possess as effectively as possible. Try to use relevant pencil grades and mark making in this process – for example, plastic handles might be better tackled with a softer B pencil, whereas metal blades would be more realistically documented through harder F pencils. Vary your scale and vantage point continuously, this will allow you to produce a good range of outcomes and also help you to identify the best silhouettes and compositions for the technique work that comes later on. At this stage you should also look at a range of artists who are particularly well known for their use of drawing as a means of recording an object. In order to do this properly, you should include visual responses and coherent written analysis which considers their use of mark making technique, exploration of line and tone how successful these are and how you might adopt the same methods yourselves. Good people to look at include Jim Dine and Peter Randall Page.
o   Using your camera to record your object will also allow you to develop some interesting imagery which could be used within an IT capacity later on. Take long shots as well as close-ups, and consider including other things in your photographic compositions which may relate to your object as well. Printed text placed underneath or alongside your objects can also help to produce some unusual outcomes.
o   Once you are happy with your initial studies, start to introduce some more adventurous and unusual drawing implements/materials. Consider colour and some more abstract ways of recording what you see in front of you as well. Use what you see around you on the walls to inspire you. It will also be appropriate to ‘mix up’ form and texture and begin to develop patterns/surface decoration from the components seen in your object. At this stage, using techniques such as photocopying, collage and stitching may be helpful in your investigations. You will now also be introduced to a number of new processes and you should endeavour to include these in your experimental pieces. Again, record all outcomes in your sketchbooks together with examples of the work of others who use such techniques in their own work Use the same methods of documentation as previously mentioned.
o   Develop a number of printing ‘plates’ which may then be used to print and reproduce selected imagery/information from your object. Record all results in your sketchbooks. Continue to look at the work of others as part of your process.

1 x sketchbook

Use the library and the internet in order to source this information – this will help to develop your individual research skills and vary the research material obtained. Lists of appropriate individuals may be given at certain points of the project to help you.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Exciting Work!

Charlotte Howard

Sophie McCullagh

Georgina McDougall

Lucy Watson

Simone D'Rozario

Josh Notarmarco Pope

Annie Wigg

I sense that getting to grips with abstraction has been quite challenging - it is a totally new visual language. So it is very impressive to see how strong some of the painting has been over the last week. You've all shown a willingness to experiment and an intuitive understanding of the principles of composing a successful abstract image.

Friday, 21 September 2012


Please Remember to bring the following items for the new project on Monday:
  • A complex handtool, ideally with moving parts - so corkscrews, can openers, mechanical whisks, hand drills are all good options.
  • Drawing pencils and a rubber.
  • Money (£1/£2) for a softback sketchbook for the new project.
  • Camera/camera phone.

Colour Evaluation Guidance

Colour Project Evaluation
Write your evaluation as a flowing piece of text, using full sentences, but ensure you cover the following points:
·                   Identify at least two aspects of your observational painting that you consider to be successful. (These could be things such as composition, use of colour, creation of space, observation of detail or painterly technique). Justify and explain your choices.
·                   Identify an aspect of your observational painting that you could improve, explain your choice.
·                   Have you learnt anything from producing the observational painting? Did you find this straightforward or a difficult task?
·                   Overall are you satisfied with your observational painting? Give reasons.
·                   Do you think your photographic joiners were successful? Did you enjoy making them? Identify some strengths and weaknesses of the images you made, did you find this a challenging activity?
·                   Identify at least two aspects of your mixed media abstraction that you consider successful. Explain your choices.
·                   Identify an aspect of your mixed media abstraction that you could improve, explain your choice.
·                   Explain something you have learnt from producing the mixed media abstraction.
·                   Overall are you satisfied with your mixed media abstraction? Give reasons.
·                   Over the project which Artists did you research? What appealed to you about their work? Did your research help or influence any of your own work in any way? Describe how.
·                   Which of the painting methods did you enjoy the most?
·                   Which painting do you consider your most successful; why?

With the rest of your work BY 4.30PM ON MONDAY 24th SEPTEMBER.

·         A well completed A2 observational painting.
·         Fully finished A1 Mixed Media Abstraction.
·         Full page tonal pencil drawing based on the Still Life in your sketchbook.
·         2 pages research into David Hockney’s photographic joiners.
·         2 resolved photographic joiners of your own based on the still life.
·         Larger print outs of 4 – 6 of your best photos of the still life (A5 scale).
·         4 pages of research into Abstract painters.
·         Word-processed project evaluation (300-500 words).

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Abstractions are us!

A few examples of mixed media abstraction from previous students:

Rosie Corfe
Megan Reid
Mariella Hancock
Lily Livingston
George Woodger
Cam Symons
Daisy Meyer
Lucy Ellis
Flo Smith
Kaya Barber

Monday, 17 September 2012

Colour Research

You need to research and analyse at least 3 different abstract paintings by 2 different Artists (minimum of paintings in total). The work should be thoughtfully presented over at least 4 sketchbook pages. Some suggested Artists to research include:

Hans Hofmann, Howard Hodgkin, Albert Irvin, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Cy Twombly, Gillian Ayres, John Hoyland.

Jackson Pollock at work

Gerhard Richter

Albert Irvin

Hans Hofmann

Willem De Kooning


  1. Identify each Artist and include brief biographical details/background information.

  1. Find examples of artworks – get good colour copies, list dates, dimensions and media used.

  1. If you can find them, include quotations from the Artist. Try


  1. Give a detailed description of the artwork.

  1. Analyse – comment upon use of colour, composition, technique, scale etc.


  1. Give an opinion on the Artworks, but ensure you justify what you say. Avoid simple value judgements (‘I really like/dislike…’) or vague, meaningless statements (’This piece is really effective’). Comment upon how successful or unsuccessful you find the artwork, and give specific reasons why you hold this opinion (I find this painting particularly successful due to the way in which the Artist has created a balanced composition by distributing the strong red colour evenly throughout the piece).

  1. What is the relationship between this work and your own? Identify and explain connections between this artist’s work and your own.


  1. It is important to also include your own visual responses to artists’ work. This can either be a copy of an artwork (or a detail of a work) with the purpose of analysing technique; a diagram or study that investigates certain formal elements of the artwork (composition, brushwork); or a piece of your own work that clearly uses some of the techniques, methods or aspects of this artist’s work.


  1. Take pride in the overall presentation of your research, it should not be rushed. Consider each element carefully:  type, layout, titles, visual responses etc.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Work for Monday

Hi All,
         We will be having a look at sketchbooks on Monday, so make sure you have completed the following:
  • At least 2 photographic joiner collages.
  • The David Hockney Research (see below)
  • A full page tonal pencil drawing based on a photo from the still life.
  • A selection of your best photos printed out and included in your sketchbook, 4 - 6 shots at A5 scale.
Have a good weekend, see you all on Monday.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Sample Photo Joiner

Here is a sample photo joiner I assembled from my still life images, hopefully you can produce some even better ones and add them to the Blog.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Drawing from still life

For next Monday morning you should complete the Hockney research (see below) and also make a sustained full page pencil tonal drawing from your still life photos.
Select a good shot and set your composition out carefully with a B/HB pencil in line then add a range of tones using softer pencils (2B - 6B), make sure your darkest tones use the full depth of tone you can achieve.
This should be a sustained piece that shows off your drawing ability to the full, you might use a rubber to help you pick out the highlights.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Welcome to a new year of students here at Alton - This Blog is now your space, you have the access codes on your email and I would encourage you all to start posting.
Posts should be relevant to the course, but might include:
  • Links to interesting Artists/Designers/websites/blogs/images.
  • Images of your own work.
  • Thoughts and information about starting at College that you want to share (keep it clean!)
You will also find this a useful place to come for course news, to do lists, project information, practical tips, example work and  forthcoming events (trips etc.).

So here is your first project brief:


PROJECT:  Colour.
SPECIALISM:  Fine Art (painting).
BTEC: Core Unit 1 (Drawing Development).
      Core Unit 3 (Materials, Techniques & Processes).
      Core Unit 4 (Ideas & Concepts).
      Core Unit 5 (Visual Communication).

Initially working from direct observation we will be exploring different aspects of colour by creating a series of images. Our visual reference material will be a still life made up with a variety of brightly coloured hanging drapes and objects. As we move through the project our focus will shift from observation towards more intuitive and abstract uses of colour. Over the course of the project we will use paint, photography, drawing media and collage techniques. We will enrich our understanding of how Artists approach abstraction through sketchbook based research.

Week 1: Observational Painting:
We will be producing 1 or 2 observational paintings on an A2 scale. Alongside this we will be undertaking some photography and making collages and drawings.

GUIDELINES for your Observational painting:
·         Think carefully about your composition, how much of the still life arrangement should you include to achieve the most visually stimulating image?
·         Look hard at what you are painting, you should visually analyse shapes, colours and tones and observe how they relate to each other.
·         Use paint with confidence, you need to approach your piece with energy and enthusiasm. Start with your biggest brush, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
·         Be imaginative in your interpretation of colour: Look for and exaggerate hints of colour within colours (e.g. cool blues in areas of shadow).
·         Mix colours do not use colours straight from the pot. When lightening and darkening colours use other colours other than black and white to do this (you should not need black at all).
·         Use your water to alter the consistency and quality of the paint, use a range of applications from thin washes to thick impasto.
·         Look around you and learn from the approaches of other people in the group.

Week 2: Mixed Media Abstraction
In the second week of the project we will produce a sustained A1 mixed media abstraction. Initially we will work rapidly with a series of different materials (charcoal, newsprint, paint, pastels, tissue, scrim and hessian), before spending time refining and balancing our final images. We will conclude the project with a group crit and produce a written evaluation.

GUIDELINES for your Mixed Media Abstraction:
·         Be bold and experimental with the range of materials available to you, ensure you utilise the range of mark making techniques these materials allow you to achieve.
·         After using the still life as a starting point try to put all thought of representation out of your mind, and work within an entirely abstract context.
·         Be aware of the decision making processes that go into producing a successful abstract composition, good abstract work does not occur through accidental means.
·         Use colour imaginatively, to lead the viewer’s eye, to provide an illusion of depth, to create mood and atmosphere etc.
·         Work on your image from all sides. Rotate it, try working flat and at an easel for different effects.
·         Change the consistency of the paint to change the character of the marks you make.
·         Use texture carefully, large build ups of material can easily unbalance an image.
·         Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or making radical changes to your painting.
·         Taking material away (e.g. tearing layers back) can be just as effective as adding to an image constantly.
·         Continue to mix colours and avoid the obvious.

You will be marked on how effectively you:
·         Demonstrate confidence and skill in the handling of paint and mixed media.
·         Select and resolve compositions.
·         Observe and record.
·         Demonstrate understanding of techniques and concepts (such as spatial use of colour) and effectively integrate these into your practical work.

·         At least one well resolved A2 observational painting.
·         Fully finished A1 Mixed Media Abstraction.
·         A set of at least 20 photographs of the still life arrangement (print thumbnails of them all and include the best 3 or 4 shots as larger A5 printouts)
·         At least one photomontage/joiner based on the Still Life inspired by David Hockney’s work.
·         2 pages of research into David Hockney’s photographic joiners thoughtfully presented alongside your own analysis.
·         A sustained Tonal pencil drawing based on your still life photography in your sketchbook.
·         A collection of images (minimum 6) by abstract artists, thoughtfully presented in your sketchbook with analytical comments and visual responses.
·         Word-processed project evaluation (300-500 words).

For Photography: David Hockney.
Abstraction: Hans Hofmann, Howard Hodgkin, Albert Irvin, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn.

DEADLINE: Monday 24th September 4.30pm

...and here are details of your first research homework:

David Hockney Photographic Joiner Research

You need to find and print out at least 4 examples of David Hockney’s “Photographic Joiners” research this aspect of his work and analyse at least 2 of the images you have found in depth. This work should be thoughtfully presented over at least 2 sketchbook pages.

  1. Title your pages with the Artist’s name, in this case David Hockney, you might consider using fonts available online from sites such as
  2. Find good examples of Hockney’s photographic joiners – not paintings and not tiny jpegs that print out pixellated.
  3. Give a little background information on the Artist, when he was born, when he started to make his photographic collages and why.
  4. Include quotations from the David Hockney (ideally that relate to his photographic work). Try
  1. Give a detailed description of the artwork.
  2. Analyse – comment upon use of colour, composition, technique/media, scale etc.

  1. Give an opinion on the Artworks, but ensure you justify what you say. Avoid simple value judgements (‘I really like/dislike…’) or vague, meaningless statements (’This piece is really effective’). Comment upon how successful or unsuccessful you find the artwork, and give specific reasons why you hold this opinion (I find this joiner particularly interesting because of the way in which the Hockney has explored mixing up different scales and viewpoints).
  2. What is the relationship between this work and your own? Identify and explain connections between this artist’s work and your own.

  1. We will be responding to Hockney’s work by producing our own Joiners based on the still life arrangement, look at how Hockney makes his images to help you create your own.

  1. Take pride in the overall presentation of your research, it should not be rushed. Consider each element carefully:  type, layout, titles, visual responses etc.