From the OCA forum: ‘many people do include all the exercises but it is not necessary. It is much more important that you reflect on what you are doing, the exhibitions you are visiting, the books you are reading, the work of other photographers that you look at in books, magazines and/or on line and so on.

It should chart your personal journey through the course rather than just be a collection of exercises, but there is no harm if it is both’. @peterjh


While talent and hard work might prove sufficient to get you through art school, survival as an artist in our contemporary world demands much more. To produce anything of lasting value requires a strong belief and love for what you do, and great patience. Establishing one’s identity as a serious artist takes time, and then it requires fortitude to maintain that identity with any kind of integrity. — David Blackwood, 1992

Here’s a link for an intriguing discussion on what it means to grow from a BA to an MA.  How it informs not just your knowledge but your personal practice, your identity and how you  move forward within this area and what you will bring to the outside world because of and through it. This is from the website of the course I am doing.

On “M”ness | We are OCA

I caught the bus into the city and the Fine Arts library at Auckland Uni.  Here I found books I could not get in the local community libraries.  Books even in French and German.  Some translated into English… I read and took notes ( from the English written ones), and went to  a lecture on Russian constructivism with my niece who is studying Art History.  So much fun.

Working from Daumiers illustrations

Working from Daumier's illustrations

It was brilliant to see Daumiers style from simple lines drawings that showed so much, to line and tone to this mad running line that characterised his final style.

I felt really at home with this man and his art style and I want to explore his paintings now.

Loving the local weavers exhibition and I bought a few things for myself!…

A woollen knee rug and a scarf.

Rug and scarf

The motif of ducks and fish swimming and walking through the rug was great fun and a practical purchase for damp and rainy NZ winters studying, while the scarf was fresh and cool colours for a spring just arrived here.

It reminded me of my Art lecture at Uni I shared with my niece this month, on Russia in Revolution in the early 1900’s and constructivism.  How Art became this thing that must be practical.  Must become practical.  How of course this was great for textile design but not so for painters.

My model Robert sat with a light to the right and I’m really trying to concentrate on where the darks and lights are…

Drawing Robert

Drawing people, drawing from experienced artists work.  Studying tone, planes and position of features…

Working from a black and white and colour plate art-work


Saturday saw Joan Taylor, a 79 yr old and still going strong, printmaking teacher and her students give an exhibition.  I found fellow drawing students and enjoyed the vibe together.

Joan Taylor, tutor at Mairangi Bay Art Society

Girls from my drawing class 🙂

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I had a wonderful time Friday morning.  There was a new teacher, Marie, at my drawing class filling in for Joan while she helped hang  her exhibition.

I first watched her demo as she drew on a easel.  Putting a grid in and then outlining in Willow charcoal.  Filling in shapes in block local colour.  Then adding tone.  Looking at counterchange.  Light against dark.  After morning tea we got to work and I did mine within the remaining hour.

A photograph of fruit - still life

I filled in block shapes with local colour

I loved the immediacy of the pastel.  How vibrant the colour and even texture after working   with watercolour for so long. How it ties together shape, tone, colour.  I think I want to buy a set.  A starter set and use this in my life class and elsewhere.  Woke up Saturday dreaming about it…

Covering more of the page. Test colours are below the drawing

A finished pastel drawing

After struggling with shadow.  Finding it was too harsh.  Contemplating how to cover it with white options.  Trying them out on spare paper.  Rubbing out for over an hour did not answer the dilemma.  Trying to redraw the picture.  My brain would not go there.  Was I too tired?  Was it the left brain, right brain thing?  Or had my brain decided that it had already solved this problem and therefore did not need to do it again.  Cutting out the objects and gluing them with acid-free glue onto another piece of paper, then placing them under a heavy book.  Investigating how David Hockney’s shadows fell.  Drawing again a shadow on the background… It was only a little better.  The paper was too thin and it did not lie flat.  Visiting a new art shop I explained my dilemma.  Ah, they said, use double sided adhesive paper and thicker paper.  I had suspected the thicker paper was the way to go but had not heard of the other. Returning home, I drew again the handbag ,as a line drawing using hatching, inspired by Van Gough’s etching of Paul Gachet.  Also to warm me up for drawing that shadow again and possibly procrastinate on doing the deed in case I got it wrong again…

Man-made objects, supporting study

Man-made objects, Assignment 1 Drawing

I'm an artist, teacher, percussionist, and mother currently studying for an Honours BA in Creative Arts with OCA, UK.