I have recently read other students’ comments about the OCA’s stance on smudging charcoal as a means of mark-making. (I have tried to trace where exactly I read this but cannot find the comments so cannot check that they exactly match my own understanding stated here.) I also used smudging of pastel in a recent assignment and commented in my reflection that I realised that I am not supposed to do that. In the assignment feedback, my tutor wrote:
“Why did you try to avoid smudging, this could have helped you create a more coherent drawing in terms of relationship between surface and form.”
I wrote to my tutor and mentioned that my understanding was that the OCA frowned on smudging as lazy mark-making. She contacted an assessor, Richard Liley, at the OCA. Here is his response (in italics), received by email from my tutor today:
- that using smudges are appropriate to your intentions
- enhance the drawing so that it is ‘alive’ and embodies and expresses the ‘life-energy’ of the maker-the artist
- Help communicate and express qualities of light and its invisible energy, tone and the material substence of form,volume and surface of object.
- present the eye with variety and changes of pace and rhythm