This course has been hugely beneficial, it has successfully facilitated my development as an artist and increased my confidence.
My tutor and formative feedback via Skype have been instrumental in my success. Verbal feedback has been clear with no room for misinterpretation or overly negative perception of comments as was my tendency during my first course.
I will, however, take some credit for my success, distance learning is difficult, it is sometimes lonely and frustrating. To make it work for me, I had to adjust my thinking. I took heed of the Formative Feedback, regarding it as pointers for development rather than criticism of my ability. I tried to stop fretting about the negative such as not drawing enough or not visiting galleries on a regular basis and identified my areas of weakness. I have no previous art education apart from an O-Level. I can manage an online learning log but I’m a tactile being and a child of the 60’s and 70’s – a pencil in my hand is more creative for my thinking than a keyboard.
I followed the learning logs of those on the newly developed ATV course and was envious of their skills and wanted to emulate them. So, I tried to identify some of the things that restricted my creativity, (apart from my fear of drawing), I took steps to join or attend groups and devoured books which explored practical creativity. I struggled with thinking visually and a sketchbook/workbook bursting with colour and texture was my aim. So where possible I joined local groups or workshops, some prohibitively expensive, others easily accessible. I made a note of anything of interest, nothing highbrow, just a useful method or tip. Whatever the age or make-up of the group, there is always something to be learnt.
I hover on the periphery of online forums and social media, I don’t turn to it naturally. It may look as if I don’t participate but I’m happy to share my learning log with anyone who’s interested. I’m grateful to those of my peers who share theirs, I’m inspired by them, occasionally reassured, sometimes challenged to do something different, often in awe.
With my change of attitude and immersion in the subject, I have enjoyed the Mixed Media Course to the full.
I started tentatively in Assignment 1 questioning ‘Surface Distortion’, particularly folding, never imagining I would be ‘pleating’ my prints to form an artists’ book in the final piece. Gathering momentum in Assignment 2, I felt more able to take risks, although I’m not sure I understood why I was joining or wrapping. However I became more ‘experimental’ as the course progressed. By the review at the beginning of assignment 5, I could see how each part had informed the next, I understood how drawing my samples and reflecting on my work and that of others taught me more about what I like or dislike and developed my visual language and understanding of the creative process.
I have enjoyed the less prescriptive approach far more than the style of my first course. I like to learn and explore new materials, so the course content has suited me. It has met its professed aims and outcomes, but one of the biggest benefits to me is that it has helped me to develop independent thinking. I have always been inclined to conform and follow rules, it has been liberating to find my voice and express myself, although there is plenty of room to grow.