Personal development – looking forward

Along with feedback for the previous assignment my tutor posed a few questions. These are my responses.

Which artists are you drawn to?

The artists I have been most drawn to over the years are:

and, more recently, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Sylvia Wishart and Sam Cartman.

It is hard to generalise about the aspects of their work that I like the most but some features include:

  • The confidence of line and ability to capture an expression or mood with minimal marks
  • Fast, instinctive working of paint
  • A sense of quietness and spirituality
  • The use of texture

Holidays in Orkney over the past few years have introduced me to the work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Sylvia Wishart, both artists I would like to study in more depth.

Where do you see yourself?

At the moment I see myself at the beginning of a steep learning curve – and I don’t mind at all. If you had asked me at the beginning of the course if I would feel like that at the end I think I would have been disappointed. I would have wanted to feel that I had gained a lot of ground and a lot of new knowledge.

In truth, I have indeed but I’m also now more aware of how much I don’t know and how much more there is to learn.  About halfway through the course this awareness was dispiriting but as I progressed beyond that point I became more comfortable with finding out areas that I was weak in. Now I know what I need to work on including:

  • Working more intuitively – being bigger, bolder
  • My drawing skills – a common error has been problems with the initial drawing
  • More experimentation with paint application
  • Trying out different mediums
  • Portrait and figure

This is far from a comprehensive list but it gives me something to start working towards.

Where would you like to be?

I’m hoping to work towards a degree in Creative Arts focused on painting and creative writing. My plan for the next course is to switch to creative writing and then back to a painting course.

Ideally I want to keep the momentum going with the painting based on the areas that I feel I need to work on. I’ve already made a start with this and have been attending a figure drawing class and, over the coming months, I would like to try my hand at oil painting and maintain a regular discipline of drawing.

Hopefully, working on the creative writing course will feed in to the next painting course that I do – I would like to see one area influencing the other.

Ultimately, my main aim is to ensure that, regardless of whatever else I’m doing, there is time devoted to creative practice on a regular basis.

If you could wave a wand and paint like anyone who would it be?

This isn’t an easy question to answer but if it’s a choice of one person then I think it would be Gwen John. I love the quiet spirituality that seems to pervade her work and her ability to conjure up a scene with a few lines or washes of paint.


The Tate – for examples of Gwen John’s work – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

The Scottish Gallery – for examples of Joan Eardley’s work – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

Victoria Crowe – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

The Portland Gallery – for examples of Anne Redpath’s work – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

Barns-grahamtrust – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

Royal Scottish Academy – for examples of Sylvia Wishart’s work – [Accessed 04/08/2014]

Sam Cartman – [Accessed 04/08/2014]







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