Dear Bryan 17 08 07

Dear Bryan

It was good to speak to you yesterday following my the completion of the second part of the course, you like me, gave me the break for the tough time that I have been through, but just like you, I was a bit shocked how few drawings were in the portfolio, the sketchbooks though were full to bursting, and quantity wise were enough to save the day.

This is the second submission that has been made digitally, the next submission needs to be an analogue one so I  will avoid the use of pastels and chalks, so that this may be so and the works submitted will stand up to the rigours of the post office.

You suggested that perhaps more thumbnails would be helpful or more in progress views on the blog or even manipulating the photographs in photo shop. I think that I will need to revise my working process process to illustrate my thinking, and on reflection I did this much better in part 1. My current process is to go into deep thinking mode that may last as long as 2 weeks before putting pencil to paper in a flurry of activity to solve the problem posed. During the two weeks I do sketches that are mainly totally unrelated to the problem at hand, almost as a distraction from the problem at hand and although I am resolving the problem quite well, I am not providing the overflow around the problem, in that solving the problem is enough to do the course, but not allowing the voice to emerge and free flow around the course,

You were pleased with the final drawing in project 1 and how the mark making had developed and grown more confident and expressive over the course of the project. Whilst I was pleased with your comments, I was less than happy with the end result because it still had the sense of tightness from which I am trying to escape.

The first exercise in project 2 was inspired by Renaissance drawings which often combined pen and in the same the two media, now that you pointed it out, it would have been better not to use the pen as a shading tool.  The most important part of project 2 was that it all grew out of my sketchbook work, I have been struggling to incorporate my sketch book work, it was beginning to feel like a separate part of the course but now it is all coming together. I really liked the idea of “less is more” and your praise for the background figures in Girls at the bar 1. I am experimenting with space in particular how the lack of detail draws attention to the distance and the mark making techniques. The second part of the project with the scratching was again from the sketchbook and has retained the liveliness of the original sketches, you thought they were a good starting point for a full painting but I prefer them as they are.

We discussed at great length the subject of collaboration with reference to me and Freya the cat and me and Auburn in the parallel project and we talked about unwitting collaboration of the cat and Auburn and the pool players in the assignment piece, and how this was an avenue that I could develop and take further, and remember how, as the director of the unwitting collaborator, I am the author of the final piece. I am ,however, conscious of our own collaboration in this and was surprised to find that I referred obliquely to it in the first paragraph of my previous letter to you.

I have quite a collection of Auburns drawings now for the parallel project but I am struggling to find a theme to string them together, I will think hard about the unwitting collaboration aspect and get back to you on this.

You were quite critical of my essay on Cornelia Parker in that it could be off putting to an assessor who was a fan. For my own part I thought that the essay was a positive criticism of Cornelia’s intentions with the 2010 pieces, but I will drop the cheap Alsatian quotes from academic essays. What annoyed me more than anything was that there are several pieces with the title Poison and Antidote 2010.

The Dear Cleo thing seems to be settling down for both of us but I think this may in part be as a result of Cleo’s more witting collaboration, in that she is now an avid  follower of the blog.

I was really disappointed that through my stupidity in labelling the blog that we didn’t get to discuss in full the assignment piece, as I felt it was my sine qua non of my creativity to date, never before have I let such a raw piece out of the stable, I love the way the balls hover over the trajectory marks and the net like feeling of the whole piece.

Going forward I need to expand my refection to established contemporary artists and compare my drawings to those and I need to explore further the tension between the subject and the background.

All the best