P3- Major Project Assignment 4

Requirements for assignment 4-

  • A significant body of work in line with your course plan
  • Evidence of engagement in critical re-view (forum, online crit, student group or other critical process).
  • Your revised artist statement and course plan (as appropriate).

As I have approached this assignment I have started to think of it like a mock exam. I wanted to try and present it as I might expect to do for my final assignment, though that will hopefully include further works.

I think I would start with some notes for the assessors that would outline my blog to make sure they can easily find relevant material-

  • Assignment page on top bar will reveal page for each assignment summary.
  • Tutor Reports page on top bar will reveal page for each Tutor report.
  • A tab for ‘Reflections on tutor feedback’ can be found on the side bar under categories.
  • A tab for ‘Evidence of peer engagement’ can be found in the tag cloud in the side bar.

I would also like to make clear to the assessors that I am on the BA(Hons) Creative Arts Pathway

And would like to make clear the circumstances regarding the loss of Jake, some of the things I have had to be dealing with in parallel with doing the course, like the court visits and difficult anniversaries, and the resulting negotiating of art and life.

In addition to a revised artist statement, I have also made a self assessment against the final assessment criteria, as I recognise that it is at this assignment that you will decide whether or not my work would be expected to make degree level.

I will then add various works for you to consider.


Artist statement.

being with willow

In a world where we are facing increasing environmental challenges I want an art practice that sustains me and is sustainable.

My art practice has evolved around the willow tree.

It has grown into a collaboration with nature.

I have planted willow, caring and nurturing it with the intuitive eye of a gardener.

As our relationship has flourished, the willow has made gifts of materials.

I have experimented with those materials with the curiosity of a scientist, exploring its qualities and making my own artist materials.

My garden is my studio, the greenhouse my laboratory.

I observe, document and accumulate aspects of willow to cultivate a broad knowledge of it.

Through working with a willow I have had to become more sensitive to the cycles of nature and have had to develop an adaptive response to change.

I have come to recognise there are different phases to my practice.

The time of presence- the sap is raising, the year’s growth begins; it is a time of nurturing, feeding and watering.

The time of absence- the sap is going down, a time of collecting and preparing materials.

My practice weaves it way in and out of media as I negotiate these phases, growing and making works that hint towards the hybrid nature of the willow in all their diversity.

Being with willow has created a space to have a kind of dialogue and to re- think the future in the face of the uncertainties and challenges facing us, both on a personal level and in a wider context.


Self assessment with regard to the assessment criteria as I approach Assignment 4 Painting 3-Major Project.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials, techniques, observation skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (30%)

I think I have used a broad range of materials and techniques in my investigations around willow, and am open to trying new things, and happy to research how to use them. I think I have good observational skills, but tend towards wanting to record everything which means I do tend to use my camera a lot in my practice. My camera helps me to look very quickly at lots of different perspectives of a subject and this in turn helps me develop my visual awareness of a subject. I think I have quite good design and compositional skills, although I do also like working in a way where I relinquish control.

Quality of outcome

Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)

I have worked hard to present my work and communicate ideas in a coherent manner through my blog, adding links to inspirations and various sources, and trying to make it user friendly and easy to navigate. The nature of my work has strayed from what might traditionally expected and in consequence the quality of outcome might be more challenging to decide upon, inparticular with respect to my living sculptures- though I have received positive feedback from others about these. I think also that the way my work has weaved its way across media, though always in a way connected to willow, may not provide evidence of a ‘style’ as such or a ‘look’- this is something I have thought a lot about throughout the course, often pulling my self back to the paint, only to find myself moving away again. There are elements like working in both 2 and 3 dimensions, working with impermanent materials or materials subject to on-going change and working across media that have cropped in my discussions and reflections, but I do feel as though I have followed these uncertainties up through looking at the work of other artists and am satisfied in the way my practice is unfolding. I am, however, aware that some might consider that this show evidence of some lack of discernment.

Demonstration of creativity.

Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice. (30%)

Curiosity and experimentation are at the heart of my practice, and have led me on a path towards developing my own personal voice. I like the challenge involved in following my ‘wonderings’, and the problem solving and activity required to working towards making those things a reality.


Reflection, research, critical thinking (learning logs and critical reviews and essays) (20%)

I feel as though I have worked really hard on working towards the contextualisation of my work, and it has proved a challenge as my work has moved out of what might be considered ‘traditional’ territory. I have read very widely, visiting suggested reading by tutors and through following up other threads I have discovered. Through my research I have increasingly come across artists who are concerned about the environmental challenges we face, and are working towards creating space to re-think the future and change the world collectively, with increasingly collaborative practices. I saw this happening in Plymouth recently with soil scientists and artists who work with soil coming together for an exhibition and a series of related events. I have included my thoughts and observations in my blog, as I have done with other exhibition visits and events, and will I hope add to the larger context around my work. I definitely feel my practice is just coming together, in some ways just beginning, but get a strong feeling there is path forwards.


Work completed since my report for assignment 3-


So, as I think about the work to present, I have started to think about them in terms of ‘presence’ works and ‘absence’ works along the line of the phases I describe in my artist statement.

The ‘presence’ work very much focused on the growing phase- so the living willow sculptures in particular.

The ‘absence’ works focusing on the time when the sap has gone down, when materials have been gathered. Here I am thinking specifically of the charcoal, for its transformation from willow through an absence. Making the charcoal, charcoal forms and the subsequent ‘trace’ drawings.

There are works that don’t fit easily into these, and I have started to think of these as ‘transitional’ works, like the ‘Hedge of Circles’. There is a movement in and out of absence and presence. There is a duality.

As a willow sculpture drops its leaves in autumn, it takes on air of absence.

As I make a painting in charcoal of a shadow, there is a sense that absence comes into a form of presence.

Perhaps over time they are all transitional works? Moving in and out of absence and presence, like the ebb and flow of the tide.

As I think of ‘transitional’ work I start to think all the work I have made over the last year has been a transitional work. My body of work is everything I have documented. The willow has been the consistent presence in my life, in all its forms, that has helped to carry me through the most dreadful absence. This is very hard.

Presence works.

 Group of 8 Living willow sculptures

 Drowned world- a living willow sculpture

 Plantation- the next generation.

Absence works.

 Video- the serious art of recording the charcoal making process.

 Video- Charcoal dust drawing –Void

 Video-The making of Sequel II

 Planning towards a series of works

As I think about these, and all my work, much of it has been documented on video or in photographs, I am tempted to think about the idea of using these to create perhaps 2 books as a form of documenting them- one called presence, the other absence.

There is another project that I have worked on, not charcoal, but felt potently connected to the idea of absence- ‘It started with a comment from a friend…..’

I was hoping to have set things out more in line with what I would hope to do for final assessment, which I haven’t quite achieved, but hopefully I have communicated my thoughts about my work.


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