I received this feedback on 10th March which was a very rapid response after submission. It was clear that Hayley had looked at all of my work and she made detailed and constructive comments. I was encouraged by the feedback I received as I had been struggling with confidence. This gave me renewed vigour and enthusiasm.
The comments that Hayley made about me struggling with the negative space exercise are spot on. I really did find this very difficult.
I've included here a couple of shots that I took on my phone while in the process of doing the negative space exercise. I did approach the exercise initially in the way described in the text.
Hayley suggested looking again at the work of Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume in the context of the negative space work. There's an exhibition of their work ay Tate Britain which I'll visit during my week off in July. I'll report back.....
I found Hayley's choice of words "the lazy side of your brain is in charge when you look at object detailing" interesting in the light of the fact that I had coincidentally, in the same week been looking at 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'. The left side of my brain was in charge when I included that detailing. It's analytical voice jumped in to say 'no one will recognise what it's meant to be unless you fill in the details!' I am trying to overcome this tendency to draw what I know rather than what I see and the L-R shift advocated by Betty Edwards in her book may be part of that process!
(Incidentally, the left side of my brain is the wordy side and it is quite argumentative - It objects to being called 'lazy' as it points out that it has got me safely through quite a number of other endeavours so far in life -- It prefers the label - analytical/mathematical or scientific!!!!! The right side seems to be more laid back and hasn't objected all these years to being argued into a corner by the dominant left side)
This also put me in mind of some comments I came across recently in the context of being the anxious parent of a 12 year old who is struggling at school. The comments are from Ken Robinson who is an outspoken critic of our (British and American - but I also include Italian) educational system which, he says discourages creativity owing to the hierarchy of the subjects with maths and sciences at the top (harking back to the requirements of the industrial revolution). He says that as children get older we progressively educate them further above the waist and then slightly to one side. He also says that an education system that instills shame over mistakes or a 'fear of being wrong' will destroy creativity. That does not mean that he equates being creative with being wrong - quite the opposite.
He says: ' when they are very young, kids aren't particularly worried about being wrong. If they aren't sure what to do in a particular situation, they'll just have a go at it and see how things work out. This is not to suggest that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. Sometimes being wrong is just being wrong. What is true is that if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original'
This resonates with me. I can clearly recall the decision making process when having to choose a career. I was not a secure and self-confident individual at the age of 17. I studied A levels in art and in sciences. I chose to go down the science route because Art was 'too subjective'. In science I felt that if you studied hard enough you could always come up with the 'right answer'❊ whereas in Art there wasn't necessarily such a thing which filled me with fear! Maturity helps with this fear to a certain extent as we start to care less about other peoples' opinions of us. I am however, a product of my education and still want to get things 'right'. I already think I've made some progress in this respect by overcoming my tendency to want to keep my sketchbooks pristine and allowing myself to experiment and play and doodle in them. I'm enjoying tapping in to my own creative urges. I'm hoping that as a spin-off , this enhanced creativity might help my parenting. Rather than being disappointed and pressurising my square peg of a son into a round hole it would be better to look at the talents he has (of which there are several) and help to inspire him to develop these.
Oh dear I seem to have got side-tracked. Let's get back to the course....
❊This also turned out not to be true!