Part 5 Essay – Revised

Following feedback from my Tutor, I have revised my essay as follows:

part-5-essay-of-the-medium-of-oil-paint REVISED

[some of the links don’t appear to work, still trying to work out why], so –

To download a .docx file, click on the link below and save it to your desktop:

part-5-essay-of-the-medium-of-oil-paint REVISED

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
18 July 2017

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Tutor feedback

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Tutor feedback                      

Understanding Painting Media

Part 5 – The paper museum

Summary of Tutor feedback

Learning points from tutor feedback:

  • Good technical potential shown in some of the preparatory work, e.g. Exercise 5.1 – looser painting and conceptually good (an outcome from Part 4).
  • However, my work for Part 5 overall was perhaps overly influenced by my research and reading – all becoming a bit ‘concept heavy’ in places (e.g. Exercise 5.2 and the Assignment) and evidence again of reverting back to tightening up, becoming too descriptive and detailed – overly literal in what I am seeing in front of me.
  • But some potential in developing a walking narrative as seen through a few of the 5.2 pieces, particularly in use of ink and watercolour.
  • 5.3 submission positive, although perhaps again the painting is over thought.
  • 5.4 – use of recycled supports is useful, but integration of text with painting needs further thought.
  • Recommended to review Assignment 5 and perhaps build on one of the exercise themes and redo or expand the assignment.
  • Assignment 5, as submitted, is lacking cohesion in terms of technical and compositionally disparate studies – more like media experiments than a sound exploration on theme (‘palm tree’ series, conceptually garden as imagined place).
  • I need to drop the ‘tight descriptive painting’ and work on a much larger body of work with testing a new support. Also evidence of dropping back into silhouetted and flat graphic handling of the painting surface – the exact opposite of what I am hoping to achieve by handling paint fluidly and intuitively.
  • The found collage approach has mileage to develop further (portrait within image)
  • Positive directions can be found in further experiments in working plein air and the idea of a walk exploring narrative, time and places.
  • Need to revise Part 5 essay, removing some of the images and expanding a bit on how working plein air can capture a sense of place through painting.
  • Wider context research is fairly sound. However, need to watch that I allow my practice to catch up with the theory and best advice is to spend time consolidating my painting practice as a primary goal.

Last thoughts

I think in hindsight, and being hard on myself, I was becoming tired and lazy in my painting practice for this part of the course – lesson learned.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
18 July 2017

Part 5 Essay


Before you go any further in Part Five, give some thought to the piece of written work that you’ll submit as part of Assignment Five. This will be a research project into the historical and contemporary use of a specific painting medium. You should write around 500 words and illustrate your essay appropriately. For this written project, choose a painting medium that you enjoy and have used during this course and look at one historical and one contemporary artist who uses the same medium.

For example, if you were to choose watercolour, you might look at J.M.W. Turner and Emma Talbot and investigate the different ways they use watercolour and why you find these appealing and effective. Reflect on the influences these artists have had on your work and ways in which you might continue to use the medium in your work.

part-5-essay-of-the-medium-of-oil-paint [.pdf file]

To download a .docx file, click on the link below and save it to your desktop:

Part 5 Essay of the medium of oil paint

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
28 June 2017

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment


For your final assignment on this course, you’ll produce a group of paintings, drawings or other images that describe aspects of your environment. The number of images will differ from student to student, depending on the nature of your work: discuss this with your tutor.

Your final work might include a combination of any of the media and materials you’ve already used. Here are some ideas:
• using pieces of pottery or things you find in your garden
• pin rubbish out onto a piece of cardboard or paper so that it lies as flat as possible and looks a little like a Victorian etymological display
• ink tonal sketches of the town, village, city, countryside where you live
• a ‘journey’ around your room.
• your pets or the animals in your neighbourhood (look at David Hockney, Elizabeth Blackadder and Stella Vine)
• painting something from the TV (e.g. Natalie Dowse).

You could start by making a quick photo/drawing/painting of:
• faded bits of wallpaper or patches where the sun has faded the surface
• under your bed
• writing in steam on the bathroom window
• shadows/light photos
• houses in your neighbourhood lit up at night (e.g. Barry Sykes)
• a photo of you each day as soon as you wake up
• a fly on the windowsill (can you paint the sound?)
• the view from your window
• the food you eat
• a streetlamp going on or off
• changing light or the way light hits a wall/ornament inside or outside your house
• found images in your house: photographs, the paintings or pictures on your wall, etc.
• rubbings of the textures around your environment. (You could then make paintings of the rubbings. This is one of the techniques that Hayley Field uses, along with documenting the changes in light of her studio.)

Even if you don’t use images from these quick drawings/paintings in your final collection they may affect the way you work and you may return to these methods in other projects. The broader the range of materials you use, the greater the choice you have for selecting the perfect combination of media to communicate your ideas in the most articulate and self-aware way possible.

Here are some ways in which you might choose to depict your subject matter:
• any painting media already used on this course – or a new one
• photographs
• drawings
• monotype
• layering paintings into drawings
• film on your phone
• coloured pencils
• silverpoint drawing
• rubbings
• monoprint.

Use one of the range of surfaces listed in earlier exercises and assignments. Or use envelopes that come through your letterbox or paper/newspaper/packaging you have in your house. You’ll need to edit and curate your work to produce your final assignment collection. Think about:
• How do the images work together? Do they tell a story?
• Does one look out of place? Why? What, if anything, should go in its place?
• How do you want the collection of images to look – harmonious, barely there, striking, overwhelming, subtle, discordant, child-like, complex, tonally similar?

Pretend you haven’t created the objects but have been told to ‘curate’ them, i.e. give them some sort of coherent context. You might want to try this a few times to see how works in a collection can gain very different meanings when presented in different ways. Photograph each presentation and make some brief notes in your learning log. You might want to try a few locations for presenting your final selection. Try to steer clear of using props or anything too ‘twee’. Maybe find a wall or walls in your house where you can group your paintings – your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, sitting room or loo.

Assignment inspiration

The reading, thinking and the work produced during the course of Part 5 has, for me, come to some kind of distillation in the assignment. Wandering and wondering has inspired me to attempt to grasp what I feel now about my own local environment and express that feeling as a single simple motif – what is it, a plant, a weed, a tree, an imagined non-place?

My ‘garden’ desert island is not remote, nor is it populated – it is instead an imagined place, a dream-like condensing of images and ideas. It is, as Peter Davidson proposes in his 2005 The idea of North, “… the idea that place is composed both of physical geography and of essence or idea.” (p.30).

I have attempted to lay hold of what ‘my place’ means to me – a retreat, a safe place, even an idea of paradise.

So, my motif, both image and idea, relies on a generic representation of nature based on the many shapes and forms of the plants, trees and weeds that have populated my work in the exercises, gelled with an idea or essence of what ‘my place’ means to me.

I have used a variety of found objects – packaging, pottery and wood – and techniques – monotype, rubbing – and thinned oil paint to create the pieces.

Finished paintings

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [wood block ink study & coloured ink on index card]
I made a wood-block cut of the image on a found piece of wooden decking (see below) and before painting it with oils I tried out a ink block print (see above). But, surprise, the only image transferred to paper was the black lines of the raised sections of the decking – not really what I was after. You can still see the black ink lines though in the piece completed with coloured inks.

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [carved wood block – oil on offset of decking board]
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment – hand-made press for monotype prints

I made this from an old found screw press that was used for squeezing fruit in a metal container. I adapted the screw mechanism to fit on a frame using pieces of scrap MDF board and a length of copper pipe – reasonably successful, but probably rubbing over the paper on the glass plate is just as, if not more, productive. I used the press for my ink block print and for the two monotypes below.

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [monotype print 1 – oil on A4 250gsm Bristol Board]
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [monotype print 2 – oil on A4 250gsm Bristol Board]
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [Amazon packaging 1 – oil on 20 x 19cm packaging offcut]
This fantasy image includes a small interpretation from one of my sketch ideas – the TV image seen as a reflection through a window – thinking about my garden ‘desert island’.

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [Amazon packaging 2 – oil on 26 x 15.5cm packaging offcut]
‘Rate this packaging’ – how has it come to this? I’m in my place, my space – leave me alone.

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [rubbing – graphite powder on Bristol Board, sealed in clear plastic and trimmed to shape]
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [Garden pottery – oil on piece of broken jardiniere]
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” [found 30 x 22cm oval wooden plaque – oil on wood with beads, shells and stones]
The found oval plaque was hidden in a tree in the garden, forgotten about. It originally had inlays of different kinds of wood within the design, but year’s of weathering has seen most of this fall away. I used the found plaque to make the rubbing with graphite powder, used it as template for all the other pieces in this ‘garden’ collection, and finally brought new life back to the neglected plaque by dressing it up in the image above.

Curated collection

Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” – curated collection 1
Part 5: Assignment 5 – Depicting your environment “My garden ‘desert island'” – curated collection 2

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
27 June 2017

Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – Study of packaging or rubbish


Make a study of packaging or rubbish from something you’ve bought or rubbish that you’ve found near your house. … Make three oil or acrylic studies of some packaging or rubbish. It would be tonally interesting to choose something of fairly neutral colour like Alex Hanna’s pill packets and bubble wrap or Giorgio Morandi’s bottles and ceramics. Place the packaging or rubbish onto a piece of white paper in strong light. An anglepoise-type lamp is good for this but you could use strong natural light too.

Before you start, make three quick tonal studies with a soft pencil: 2B, 3B or softer would be good. Remember to squint when you look at the tones to work out which is lightest and darkest. Try to identify at least ten different tones. Next, using a fairly limited palette, make three paintings of at least A5 size. Consider your surface. You’ll need something quite sturdy for this like board, canvas, card or metal. You could prime the surface first with emulsion, gesso or primer. Alternatively, you could paint the surface with a coloured background that you then paint out. Paint this coloured background with acrylic paint if you’re painting on top with acrylic paint or with oil paint if you’re painting on top with oil paint. Remember, you may need to wait a while for oil paint to dry. The under-painting can give the finished painting a glow, especially if the under-painting is in a warm colour. Try not to draw the image out on the surface first, but start painting straight away. This will give the painting a fresher, more fluid look and, because acrylics and oil paints can be impasto, you can paint any mistakes out.


During a day in my studio I drink a lot of bottled water, so I didn’t have far to go to find subject material for this exercise.


Part 5: Exercise 5.4 Three quick tonal studies – study 1 “single spring water bottle in packaging from a pack of six” [6B pencil and finger]
Part 5: Exercise 5.4 Three quick tonal studies – study 2 “crumpled packaging from a pack of six spring water bottles” [6B pencil and finger]
Part 5: Exercise 5.4 Three quick tonal studies – study 3 “crumpled spring water bottle” [6B pencil and finger]


Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – Three quick tonal studies – ground 1, oil on A4 clear PVC sheet]
Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – Three quick tonal studies – ground 2, oil on 20.5 x 19.5cm sheet metal]
Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – Three quick tonal studies – ground 3, oil on 40 x 29.5cm American MDF placemat]

Finished paintings

Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – “Spring water bottle in packaging” [oil on A4 clear PVC]
I lightened the ground before drawing in paint with a size 8 filbert brush. Capturing the crumpled-ness of the packaging and with the bottle showing through was quite a challenge. However, I believe I have managed to capture the essence of what I saw before me.

Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – “Crumpled water bottle packaging” [oil on 20.5 x 19.5cm sheet metal]
An even more difficult challenge this time with the packaging really crumpled up and beginning to spring apart again.

Part 5: Exercise 5.4 – “Crumpled spring water bottle” [oil on 40 x 29.5cm American MDF placemat]
I scraped off some of the ground oil covering to let bits of lettering and design of the placemat peek through – “Hot Diggity Dog!” – and I again lightened the foreground before using a size 8 brush to capture the squashed up empty bottle. I am pleased with the result and the image sits well below the HDD heading.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
27 June 2017

Part 5: Exercise 5.3 – Corner study


Make a study of a corner of your room. Choose a corner where the light changes a lot throughout the day. Using watercolour on A5 watercolour paper, make a study from life in the morning, at midday and during the evening.

Having awakened, and refreshed with a cup of tea, being a lazy kind of fellow I lay down on my bed in the early morning and looked out over the covers to the window/wardrobe corner of the room, returning at midday and again in the evening before turning in for the night.

Part 5: Exercise 5.3 – bedroom corner study 1 “early morning”

Outside morning light through the green window blind cast a greenish tinge across the room.

Part 5: Exercise 5.3 – bedroom corner study 2 “midday”

Window blind up to fully let the light shine in, brightening the room considerably, although still with some upward greenish tints.

Part 5: Exercise 5.3 – bedroom corner study 3 “evening”

Evening drawing to a close and the light is dimming outside, bringing some unexpected brownish colouring to the room.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
27 June 2017