Assignment 6 – Submission, Feedback and Response


My tutor wants me to do two more paintings in more or less the same gestural style as my last one, Nineveh a historic moment in time – August 2014, which was not only about pin pointing time, but also about balancing technique with narrative, by contrasting CNN images as transfers to the simplicity of charcoal.

I always return the portrait – in a certain sense it is my parallel ongoing project for many years now. I feel that social media has pushed the postmodern idea of what a portrait is, beyond presenting the unpresentable to a longing for deciphering, interpreting clues and perhaps a return to nostalgia. Taking social media as my reference point, I searched Facebook, to find that portrait…

… posted by a friend, of a friend, of a friend and having lost track of who the photographer is. It reminds me of Robert Doisneau’s work, a return to narrative and romanticism.

Facebook photo

Facebook photo

Below, I try to understand the composition and were surprised by the ring on table.

Significant form 1

Abstract forms

The light always attracts me which I see here as a thin layer of encaustics or cold wax.

Young Woman, 68 x 48 cm, oil and cold wax on paper

Young Woman, 68 x 48 cm, oil and cold wax on paper

The cold wax worked well. But, looking at the result, I feel that I have painted myself into a corner and actually prefer my simple abstract drawing. Other than the textured layers, I don’t like it very much. I therefore decide to take the abstract composition further.

Here are some pages from my sketchbook, where I looked at different possibilities – from the Lacemaker, by Vermeer to the colours used by the blind artist, Sargy Mann.

From Vermeer to Sargy Mann

From Vermeer to Sargy Mann

I also looked at some Classics – ‘Jupiter and lo’ by Correggio 1533 and ‘The ecstacy of St Thereza’ by Bernini.

Sketches based on Correggio and Bernini

Sketches based on Correggio and Bernini

I then combined all of the above.

Young Girl, 57 x 77cm, oil on paper

Young Girl, 57 x 77cm, oil on paper

It is a naïve painting based on geometrical angles, gestural painting and a bit of realism mixed with abstraction and letting go of fixing up mistakes. I definitely have this feeling that I am only at the beginning of this course and not at its end, because I am starting out, all over again.


Course/Module Exploring concepts Assignment number 6

Overall Comments

This was a brave and ambitious final project. You have been in the driving seat throughout this course and I think it is to your credit that you have seen a need to pursue this way of working and gone for it, even if you might have rested on your laurels. The project was well researched and I believe may well prove fruitful later on, as it finds a way to fit in to the bigger picture.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity 

Significant form 1

Significant form 1

This is a great drawing; I think the most powerful of the series. This is what you know you can do, and I wouldn’t be in a rush to dismiss that. It is very well composed and extremely sophisticated and subtle but retaining the rawness and physicality of its construction.


Young Girl, 57 x 77cm, oil on paper

Young Girl, 57 x 77cm, oil on paper

Your research, both practical and contextual has led you to this point. I wish I could see this in the flesh, as I am really keen to see the surface in detail. The naivety of the figure and pose and the relative simplicity of the composition and colours is quite a shock after all the loveliness of the studies, but I can completely see why you wanted to do this and applaud the reasoning and the ambition behind it.


There is a Hodgkinesque colour play here, which is why I am interested in surface.

I am intrigued by the way the elbow works with the box thing. It seems not to be sitting right, but I don’t mind that – for me that shows that this is a painting and the minimalism of the composition gives me enough space to have time to spend contemplating that moment of awkwardness.

My worry would be the features, but I can’t see enough detail to be sure how that went and to be honest you seem to understand Marlene Dumas and have shown ample sensitivity to this in the past so I have confidence in yoru decision making. In other words, even if the features are over defined, I am ready to read that as a conscious decision to up the ante on the awkward naivety.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Your sketchbooks are some of the most embedded into practice of any student I have. You think through making and that is great to see. There are so many leads in your sketchbooks that it is tempting to ask ‘why didn’t she do this bigger’ but I don’t feel that this indicates a ‘lack of discernment’ or inability on your part to spot the best route – it is more a matter of time to follow all the leads up.

Do return to your sketchbooks and use them as resources for later projects.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays


You write well and clearly and demonstrate personal engagement in your contextual studies and ambition for your own practice.

Suggested reading/viewing


Howard Hodgkin, for colour relationships

Chromaphobia – David Batchelor

Ponte photodocumentation project – Ponte City | Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse

Phillip Guston

Geraldine Swayne


My mindset was to paint like a blind painter and accept the way the paint wanted to go. I contemplated painting no facial features vs. the classical studies and decided to pursue not so much the features but rather some sort of disconnection or disruption. This was done by scraping the face and ending up with a look, which I could not really make sense of, but I left it and accepted the flow of the paint. Perhaps I should have pursued the abstract sketch further at that point.



About Charleen Brunke

Ceramic Artist
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One Response to Assignment 6 – Submission, Feedback and Response

  1. Pingback: Paintings Submitted for July 2015 assessment | Charleen Brunke's Exploring Concepts log

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