Penny Rowe - The Open College of the Arts
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Penny Rowe

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”¹
I wanted to share the work of student Penny Rowe, who is currently studying on Drawing 1, specifically to highlight her intuitive and playful use of materials in her submission for assignment 3.

Looking at Penny’s submission there is a real sense of enthusiasm in her tackling of unfamiliar and combination materials in new and unusual ways. As an example, for her tree studies she has incorporated a wide range of, at times, unforgiving and difficult materials, such as pen and charcoal, both of which can easily become too heavy and appear muddy and monotone, but she has carefully built up multiple layers to create a sense of depth and as a result she has produced some very atmospheric drawings which utilise contrast and colour to great effect.
She is clearly resourceful in developing methods for conducting her studies, including using clear perspex sheets to trace the formations of clouds, using collage to distinguish between foreground, middleground and background, and the construction of a folding panorama for the 360 degree exercise. Incidentally, her panorama is a great example of a student thinking creatively and pushing an exercise to its full potential. Whilst there is diversity in her approaches, what unites them is an impression of her methodically mapping the landscape, using her materials to not only describe the elements in her studies, but allowing these materials to exist in their own right, as surface, as texture, as colour.

From her notes it is clear that she is developing a robust reflective practice, comparing the work produced on Drawing 1 to her work before the course in order to gain an informed and critical understanding of her progress as an artist. I don’t get a sense that there is a particular process or set of materials which she is drawn to as an artist, or that there are methods which she relies on to achieve a particular style, what I do get from looking at her work overall is a sense of enjoyment in investigating the physical properties of different materials and their potential for image making. This curiosity and openness to experimentation enables Penny to widen her knowledge of the behaviour, possibilities and limitations of her materials, and, coupled with a willingness to challenge her own understanding of what she is observing, to further develop her ability to capture and describe her subject.
¹Berger, J. (2012). Ways of seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corp and Penguin Books, p.7.

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