Review of ‘Close to Home’

Having just sent away Assignment 2 I have been having a look through my notes reviewing what I have learned on this part of the course.

At the start of Part 2 I found it difficult to get into a set routine and was really working in fits and starts. During that time, as much as the exercises, my main aim was to establish a more structured approach to my creative practice.

Inspired by a friend who is fast becoming a blogging guru, and is a big fan of lists, I have come up with a distilled version of what I have learned…so far.

  • I have a much more structured approach to creative practice and if an exercise isn’t working I don’t wait for divine inspiration but work on other tasks such as drafting blog posts, prepping images or doing some research.
  • I try not to dive in to the exercises too soon but take the time to read through and think about my approach.
  • If I’m really stuck I check out the OCA forums and usually find something that will help or inspire.
  • With the course exercises I try, now, to do lots of quick sketches to begin with and not tie down the composition too soon – thinking more about the sketches helps me to highlight any potential problems at this early stage.
  • I’m more careful with the initial drawing and check and double-check it for accuracy.
  • In the past I’ve tended to lose sight of the background – literally not registering it while I work on the main objects.
  • It helps to consider the textures of objects and the ability to convey them – e.g. glass or wood – I’m trying to pre-empt any potential issues/lack of skill by finding out how to approach anything that may seem problematical.
  • Shadows – they look so simple but oh, no. I’ve become a shadow stalker and now constantly look for examples of how other artists have tackled their murky depths.
  • I find it easier to set up a still life if I feel that there’s a sense of story or humour or something quirky about the arrangement.
  • When working on a colour study I’m more likely to think through the range of tones and create examples of the tonal values to refer to.
  • I’m also more likely, now, to think of the impact of colour. Am I aiming for colour accuracy, a particular mood or a subdued palette?
  • I’m trying to work in a looser style and will try to achieve this by using larger brushes/no brushes/other mediums.
  • After each session I try and make notes otherwise stray thoughts or penetrating insights (such as they are) just disappear.

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