ART & DESIGN BTEC
Summer Assignment and Self-
Explain how and why you chose your source portraits.
I looked at eleven portraits, but I only used three (pictured) as my source portraits. The one in the top
left-hand corner turned out to be my chosen portrait;
• An Old Woman with a Rosary by Paul Cezanne.
The portrait just underneath it came from the National Portrait Gallery, called:
• The Enigma of Jasper Rose, by Saied Dai, a student who studied at Bournemouth and Poole College
of Art & Design.
• The one at the bottom is called Winding Wool, by Eugene Carriere.
I brought the brief with me when I went to these galleries and had a fairly good idea in mind about
what I wanted to use to represent myself, and I have used something from each of these three paintings;
• From the Enigma of Jasper Rose, I was inspired to use a very suitable background for my painting;
one that really added to the entire meaning I was trying to convey.
• An Old Woman with a Rosary turned out to be my chosen portrait. I thought it was the one that
formed the main inspiration for my own the painting.
• I used the ominous and nebulous nature of Winding Wool in my own painting as symbolism.
What media and materials have been used? Describe some of the
All of the paintings above use oil paints. This gives a smooth finish to
the painting, and provides a definite line so subjects appear sharp.
Describe the approach taken by the artist – how he/she interpreted their subject? What meaning or atmosphere has been created?
• Paul Cezanne’s painting interested me the most, and helped form the basis for my personal portrait. In the description given, the portrait
represents a “psychologically bleak depiction of old age” and the woman is in “absence of any worldly support” while the colour of the
background and her clothes “heighten the sense of despair” This painting is an enigma; so much is going on at once that you have to
really study the expression, the dark colours and what is being signified. The atmosphere is one of despair. This gave me plenty of ideas
as to use the background of my painting to symbolise something about both me and the situation going on. Paul Cezanne’s painting is
dark, and most importantly of all, worries everybody on account of the subject matter at hand; that we all fear mortality.
• What caught my eye about The Enigma of Jasper Rose is that this particular painting is based around something I was thinking about a
few days before; that every person in the world has their own way of living, whether it’s the particular way they organise their
belongings to suit their lifestyle or how they adjust their surroundings to give them peace of mind. This is but just one of the millions of
ways in which each person expresses themselves, a fundamental part of any art form. The colours are down-to-earth and there
specifically to send a message about the Professor; perhaps communicating a simple yet fulfilled way of life; a prosperous mind and
soul that chose knowledge over wealth? His position in the painting (being right in the centre and fully painted in great detail)
demonstrates that the artist certainly admired the Professor.
• For the final painting, Winding Wool, the main messages that were being communicated to me was how vague and out-of-focus the
subjects were; as if they were ghosts. Much like the Old Woman painting, the atmosphere here seemed to be one of despair again. But I
noticed that you couldn’t see the subjects faces – perhaps they are hiding something?
This gave me the idea of hiding my face in my painting, as it linked with the overall meaning of the painting.
EXPERIMENTs AND DECISIONS
Explain how you went about developing your individual response to source paintings and your own image. What were you
aiming for? How did your ideas evolve?
• Brainstorming became a large part of this project. Seeing the brief, I saw that the painting needed to represent myself and communicate
something about my personality. I brainstormed this concept, and came up with the thought that people normally associate me with fear,
and that has stopped them really understanding what I’m like. I then decided that my theme should be based around misunderstanding.
• Identity means a lot to me. To include a lot of mystery and uncertainty, I wanted the painting to have a fairly limited amount of light and
dark tones; ranging from bright to mere silhouettes, which also are unclear and vague in their nature, as you can’t make them out, a
technique I was inspired to use from Winding Wool.
• People fear what they don’t know. However, rather than the fear (me) being in the dark, it is the crowd who are cast in shadow, as
perhaps an incentive to think about the situation if the ‘tables had turned’. The spotlight can both represent that of a confession lamp,
and the harsh truth. I am covering my face, and especially my eyes, to symbolise that perhaps people don’t want to or are afraid to hear
my side of the story, as it is with the crowd’s eyes, which are blurred out; a world blind to discovery because fear has clouded their
Explain how you used materials and techniques to develop your ideas:
• Following Paul Cezanne’s technique, I was able to develop the contrast of light and dark where I needed it most and leave a greater
impression on my painting.
• By mixing strong acrylics together, I found that I could range my colours to get the best composition.
THE FINAL OUTCOME
What did you learn about the process of developing ideas using drawing and painting? How did you solve problems in the final outcome?
• The main problem I encountered was how to get the human form correct. My painting features an audience in the background, and
although I am very pleased with the way my form turned out, some of the subjects didn’t look how I wanted them to. I solved this by
including a darker tone throughout the painting.
• Quite often I found that my portrait featured a lot of block colour, such as black and blue, especially in the background. To break up the
colour, I included a lot of tone where I didn’t think I would.
What does the final outcome communicate and how?
I hope that the message is clear, although I don’t expect everybody to know what the theme is. I think that I have successfully achieved an
ominous aura around the painting; and it gives perhaps a feeling of being ‘fenced in’ by the crowd. There is a reason why my face is covered;
it symbolises that other people can’t see my true self.
What did you learn about media and materials? Did certain approaches/media work better than others?
• In the past, I often used a variety of media on the same piece of work, such as ink, acrylic and watercolour, but with these two paintings I
stayed with acrylic. I was always following the same technique as Cezanne, which requires a lot of going back over what has already been
• I have used canvases in the past, but in truth I’m more comfortable with drawing. Therefore, I am not that used to painting, and only have
a small, albeit fair amount of knowledge around it. At times I did refer back to Cezanne’s technique wen I found I didn’t know how to
• Mixing paints was a difficulty, but I found acrylic to be very easy to use when it came to this matter.
• The main way I went about with this project was I spent about 5 or 6 hours at a time to make progress.
Reflecting on year 1
Looking back across the year to last September, which assignments and activities were important to you as learning experiences? Why?
After reviewing my 6.1 work, I have concluded that the module I found the most enjoyable was the Tate Alphabet project. I thought that the outcome and the
work I produced was very rewarding, and enjoyed experimenting with working pages; it helped me to develop several good ideas.
How did your skills and understanding develop over the year? What have you learned about your strengths?
That it takes a lot of time and dedication to feel satisfied with a project. When researching something I am very interested in, it makes work and production a lot
smoother. As I may have mentioned, I found it best when researching individually, and finding the work that interests me. I also work best wen showing my
ideas through a development of sketches.
Looking forward – What do you think you need to work on in the second year?
• I have found that, not just in Art & Design, but over my own personal work, that I need to work on my skills at drawing the human form; such as body
composition. It is something I have always struggled with, but feel now that I will certainly need to improve it if I am to move into my chosen University
course, which involves modelling and drawing the human form.
• In the last year, I was not very organised when it came to creating models in the workshop, and was not confident with the tools. This year, I aim to create a
fully functional, well designed product, be it prototype or final outcome.
During the Pathways assignment, there came a time where work became very individual. Although I was with a group in the museum, I found that simply going
away to view the exhibits I wanted to and making observational drawings and studies was the best part. It was amazing to be able to look at something I was
interested in, and provided me with new interest for the project. Another thing I loved was that when given a brief you can follow to suit your interests, it makes
working on it much more enjoyable. I have put as one of my aims to research into different cultures, and this project allowed me to look into three interesting
cultures; Aztec, African and Native American. I should mention that I especially loved researching the Native American exhibit, which coincides with my
favourite time in history; 19th century America. Another reason why the Pathways assignment was so enjoyable was because the brief specified that I could
research into something that I knew would benefit me, which was the design element of the project.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
How have your ideas about progression developed over the year?
The 6.1 year in Art & Design course has helped me to work much quicker towards a
What is your current progression aim? Why?
My main priority at this point is to achieve a distinction on all modules. This will ensure me almost certainly a place in the
Brunel Games Design and Creative Writing course I’m looking to take when leaving college. I know that this year I will be
more able to do that. Another aim is to explore and study new cultures and art styles, and this means I’m very eager to visit
other countries to broaden my knowledge of both the world and its art. I know that this year is also more based on working
in a group to present an idea. This is also very important for me, as working together is one of the main things the Brunel
course is centred around.
What qualities, skills, experience and qualifications will you need to achieve this?
Last years research, especially in the last module (Pathways) as well as the individual research
I did on the exhibits I was interested in, has given me an idea of just how much more I will need
to broaden my research and come out with a final product. To achieve these aims, I will need to
go above and beyond the brief even further and most importantly of all, look into what I am
most interested in, as I found that when I was doing this I worked much better. Looking into all
of these new cultures will give me new ideas and help me develop concepts for my future