Monday, 5 October 2009

A quick update

Today I went to a lecture on writing essays. I'm not sure if it has helped that much. Its hard to learn just by listening, if you don't know what you are doing, you can't learn until you know what you are doing wrong.

In the seminar, I just sat and listened, because I hadn't read the texts yet, and most people were talking about their essay questions. It was interesting to listen to what other peoples essays were about, but I don't know if it was of any use to me.

I've been thinking about reasons why people make self-portraits -
Capturing a moment
Showing an aspect of themselves
Tricking / deceiving the viewer with a false image
There is always a subject (yourself)
As a way of communicating feelings or emotions.
Just as a way of passing the time creatively.

Tonight I shall try to come up with some more ideas for my self-portrait.


  1. People also have protraits taken so that generations to follow will remember them ... to be immortal in some respects.

  2. Interim Review Unit 1: Anatomy 06/10/09

    Hi Ethan,

    Okay - first things first; what I'm about to say is advice about you can get the very most from your experience on Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation; you need to push yourself; you need to absorb new ways of looking at ideas. This might be hard for you - (in truth, it's hard for everyone!). What is clear is that you are at your most comfortable and confident when you are sitting at the computer using Maya to create models. This is excellent - BUT, Maya is only a small part of the total experience available to you here, and I urge you, however difficult you find it, to spread your wings a little.

    I suggest this because your blog is very 'thin' - if you take a quick glance at some of the blogs belonging to your classmates, you'll see at once how visually rich they are, and how they visualise their ideas in sketch format, or just using Photoshop, or with a camera; put simply, they make work happen, and by doing so, their ideas develop and improve and, as importantly, I am able to discuss their ideas and interact. I can 'see' their project, I don't have to guess at it.

    At this stage of a project, I expect to see lots of studies/preparatory portraits, lots of artist research, lots of images, and lots of experiments and try-outs. You obviously struggle to externalise your ideas and get them 'out' - I do appreciate this struggle, but I won't accept it. Therefore, I want to see your preparatory drawings etc uploaded to the blog asap so I can see what you're planning and how you're going about answering the brief. Even if your ideas are half-formed or hesitant, I want to see them.

    I'm sorry that you didn't find the seminar and assignment lecture very useful; all I can tell you is that Tracy's advice is very practical and designed to help, and you have a personal responsibility to get better at the things you don't like or don't feel confident in doing; that's what it means to be a degree student. You need to see 'questions' in the world and you need to drive your own research; the bad news is there is a 1,500 word assignment every five weeks - the good news, if you commit to them, they'll just get easier and easier, until 1,500 words is nothing at all!

    So, I can't offer you any constructive feedback on your portrait ideas and I can't advise you re. your essay proposals, except to say that you do list a number of 'truths' about their purpose. If you were to talk about the 'purpose' of a portrait, what purpose does a Bill Armstrong portrait have? What does it 'tell us'? Perhaps you could look at portraits that 'don't communicate' identity and examine their 'purpose'? Or as Alison suggested in her comment, perhaps you could look at portraits as images of immortality - rather like Dorian Gray? I look forward to reading your essay proposal and seeing your preparatory portraits on the blog in the next couple of days.

  3. Hi Ethan

    Hope Phil's comments have scared you too much ! :)

    I think he is right, in that I think you should try and get into the habit of using a sketchbook to get your ideas out - I know you find it easier to draw when there is something 'concrete' in front of you, like in the life drawing, but it really is the best way to start to formulate and develop ideas. Things like mind maps are good too, for leading you from one thought to another.

    As far as the essay goes, maybe we have been focussing on too wider area - Phil's suggestion of portraits that don't communicate identity, would be relevant to the artists we have been looking at (Bill Armstrong and many of Gerhard Richter's portraits). We can still use the bit you have already been working on, just 'redistribute' it among the rest of the essay!
    Anyway, looking forward to seeing tonight's sketches on the blog, with your thoughts about how it went!

    See you tomorrow at 2...with some ideas!


  4. Hahaha! Should have checked that post before I sent it - of course I meant, 'I hope Phil's comments HAVEN'T scared you too much' !! :)

  5. Hi Ethan - I hope you know I'm not trying to scare you to death!!! :-) Neither do I want to make you uncomfortable or stress you out - BUT, I do sometimes (often) have to say the awkward or difficult thing; it is never personal or an attack, but rather my enthusiasm that students should WANT to progress, should WANT to evolve and move forwards! If there are things you'd rather email me at my ucreative address, then I'll make the exception; I'm happy to discuss with you any problems, and I'm very open to suggestions as to how I can get the very best from you; that said, I will continue to push and poke and provoke, as that too is part of the experience of higher education... :-)