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Please note that the Sustained Investigation and the Range of Approaches sections below are from two different students’ portfolios.  

Sustained Investigation (Concentration)

  1. The central idea of my concentration is judgment and self-reflection, as all of the pieces in my concentration are self-portraits, and I focused on images of mirrors or reflections within them. Specifically, I worked to master creating a well-balanced composition and paid close attention to my use of shape and value.
  2. When I first started this concentration, I was focused on getting the proportions of the faces correct. As you can see in pieces #2 and #4, the backgrounds are very simplistic because I was still concentrating mostly on getting the proportions of the face correct and figuring out how to convey lights and shadows on the figure and the glasses. As I moved forward, I attempted to add in more reflections of myself and the background in mirrors in order to create not only a well-balanced composition, but also an element of self-reflection. For example, in piece #10, the composition is complex due to the mirrors, ultimately creating three separate faces in the image. The use of mirrors also helped to create the illusion of depth, such as in piece #12, where the mirrors and legs are clearly in the foreground, and the shadows create depth in the background.

    One issue that I encountered was creating good quality mark-making and surface manipulation to create differences in texture between the human subject and the mirrors in my pieces. In piece #11, I used sharp looking mark-making to create highlights on the edges of the mirror in order to create a contrast with the soft-looking shadows of the face. In addition, I used very specific mark-making in pieces #8 and #11 to create realistic-looking hands with surface details. 

Rationale for Score

  • The integration of the work with the topic of self-reflection and the judgment is strong in this sustained investigation. The subtopic of using balanced compositions created through shape and value to realize the conceptual goal is also clearly evident in the works. For example, in image 3, the shapes created by the edge of the desk, the figure, and the rectangular shape in the background create a balanced composition. In image 7 the value contrast creates a diagonally balanced composition.
  • The works move beyond a simple approach to self-portraiture, using reflection to imply self-judgment. The triple figure in image 10 provides a clear example of discovery as well as of the careful use of shape and value.
  • There is a clear sense of transformation and growth as the images progress. One example of this can be seen in the use of dark value. In image 1, the value range is quite limited. Images 7 and 8 demonstrate somewhat more contrast in values, but the images are still primarily mid-range to dark in value. Images 9 and 10 include a full range of values; the variety is used to create shapes and contribute to expressive and compositional ends. The final piece demonstrates a strong command of value in the service of self-reflection.
  • The work is technically strong. Figures are carefully observed; the charcoal and pastel pencil that create most of the forms are used confidently against broader washes of color. In images 9, 10, and 11, the variety of views and partial representations of the face are convincing. Image 12 presents the most convincingly melded use of the three materials. At 40 x 30, it also demonstrates the confident use of a large format. 

You can also download these images and score rationale as a PDF portfolio. Please use Internet Explorer or Safari to open the link. 

Rationale for Score

  • This work presents a strong range of approaches to drawing issues. Experimentation with different approaches is evident in the list of media used. Additionally, the work demonstrates a range of original ideas and effective manipulation of the principles and elements of design. For example, image 11 depicts a naturalistic landscape that uses traditional techniques to create the illusion of space. Image 7, in contrast, includes a series of invented vine-like rings behind the deer. Their diminution in size emphasizes the deep space. In image 5, color and shape are used effectively to create a focus on the two geese, balanced by the orange duffle on the back of the motorcycle.
  • Most of the work engages the viewer with its expressive and evocative qualities. For example, two of the graphite drawings (images 6 and 8) use the vantage point of a bird’s eye view, unusual for the subject matter depicted. In image 8, the diagonal orientation also makes the still life less “still.” In image 9, the figures emerge from swirling light and dark into the foreground in a mysterious way. Although the subject is more traditional, the portrait in image 1 is engaging in its confident use of light and dark, particularly in the figure’s face and hair.
  • Although the works may show a varying range of accomplishment, overall the work is at a strong level.Images 2, 3, and 5 demonstrate technical skill, but they do less to explore compositional devices that make the commonplace original. In image 1, on the other hand, though the background is without form, it is modulated to help describe light. Images 4 and 12, which appear to have had photographic sources, are less well resolved than are most of the others. 

You can also download these images and score rationale as a PDF portfolio. Please use Internet Explorer or Safari to open the link.