My First OCA Assessment Piece!

As you may know, I’m doing a distance learning course in drawing with the Open College of the Arts (OCA). Most of my work is published on my online log book “The Milkman Goes To College” but yesterday I drew my first assessment piece which will be sent off to my tutor. I have to draw two pieces. The second will be a still life of man-made objects, but this first piece was of natural items.

Unfortunately, as the drawing is on a piece of Somerset paper 70 cm by 50 cm, I’ve had to photograph the drawing as it is too big for my scanner. That is why the background is uneven due to the lighting.

The items are rose hips, horse chestnuts, reeds and teasels. Most of it is drawn with a fine liner pen, with ink and watercolour washes and powdered charcoal shading. I also did a frottage border of a Yorkshire flagstone with a graphite pencil. I’m not sure that this border has worked the way I’d imagined it.

Here are some close ups of parts of the drawing:

About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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15 Responses to My First OCA Assessment Piece!

  1. Nancy Farmer says:

    lovely conkers, rose hips and teasels. I have to agree with you though, about the border, I don’t think it is doing your drawing any favours.I think the strengths are definitely in the fine details. The size may have been the brief, but I think reducing the size and the white space would create a more striking picture. Only saying this because you seem to be asking for comment – I am not trying to criticize unduly!

    • One of the last exercises was to do some frottage like Max Ernst. As I envisioned it, the L shape frame should have reflected/emphasised the L shaped format of the composition. Sadly it didn’t work as planned!

  2. mobius faith says:

    Teazle is one of my favorite plants. Wonderful renderings.

  3. seascapesaus says:

    I think it looks exquisitely sensitive John! (I don’t even know which bit is the teazel).

  4. Mags Phelan says:

    Beautiful drawing! Love the composition, the sensitive washes and delicate colours and details. Right up my street. Not sure I’d have gone for the border, personally, although it does serve to frame the main body of the composition and provides an extra texture. Consider me impressed!

  5. Very delicate. The selective use of colour works well.

  6. clinock says:

    Lovely sensitive drawing John although some of the details on my screen were a bit out of focus. I also couldn’t find the border you mentioned. As a humbly offered constructive critique I suggest that the L shaped hatching shown on the full drawing is distracting and irrelevant. Also, if I was making this drawing I would probably eliminate much of the white negative space with a wash of some kind or its equivalent using your prescribed media. The selective colouring is superb…

  7. The L shaped hatching in practice didn’t do what the theoretical frottage was meant to do. As an art teacher, how much wash (probably just a pale grey ink wash) should I apply to the top right hand quarter? I don’t want a “broad white line” around the reeds, if you know what I mean.

    • clinock says:

      I know exactly what you mean and this is why I always use a wash before I make the drawing. The wash colour depends on what colours you intend to use in the drawing but is generally always neutral and light…
      For some reason I don’t receive notification of your answers to my comments. This means I need to go to your site and search back through. This explains why, if a further comment is required, it is late or non-existent – any ideas on this?

  8. Pingback: I Want It Now! – OCA Assessment Piece 2 | notes to the milkman

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