ART BTEC 2015 intake!

ART BTEC 2015 intake!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Tools Project - Supporting Research

For homework you need to research the Artist's detailed below, refer back to the post below (on Hockney's Joiners, for tips on structuring the written content and presentation of research). You should complete this work by Wednesday 27th September at the latest.

Two pages of research into the Tool drawings of Jim Dine and the same for the mixed media collage work of Florian Nicolle - find good reproductions of their work, give a brief bit of background information about each Artist, provide some analysis and personal opinion on at least 2 specific images by each of them and make at least one visual response of your own to each Artist's work (this should be an interpretation of YOUR TOOL in the style of each Artist, not just a copy of one of their images).

Jim Dine
Florian Nicolle 02 23 Peppy Illustrations Drawn By Florian Nicolle
Florian Nicolle

Tool Photography Homework

For the Tool technique work you will be starting next week you will need a range of photographs of your Tool. 
Choose your Tool thoughtfully, complex tools with moving parts work best e.g. Secateurs, Corkscrews, Tin Openers.
Make your photos as dramatic and interesting as possible, use a clean background that doesn't distract from the Tool. Zoom in, choose unusual angles and consider cropping and viewpoint carefully. You should set up directional lighting (torch or anglepoise lamp) that allows you to create cast shadows and distinctive highlights.
Take 15 - 20 shots and print 4 - 6 of the best at A4 or A5 scale. 
Ensure you have the photos printed and ready to work from on Monday 25th September.
Here are a few sample shots to give you the idea:

Tools Project Part II


PROJECT– Tool Part 2

TIME: 2 Weeks
MATERIALS: Mixed Media
RESOURCES: sewing machines, drawing materials, spray paints, printing press and photocopier/IT.

This project aims to familiarise you with a range of new techniques that can be used to develop your imagery throughout the Course.
Using a basic hand-tool as your starting point, you are required to produce a body of work, which represents your object in a number of different ways. We will build on drawing and printmaking skills and explore processes such as Collage, Spray Stencil, Heat Press, Photography and PhotoShop.

  • Having selected an appropriate hand-tool (this should be an object which has a number of different working parts, textures, different materials in it’s construction, interesting negative shapes and strong structural elements). A mechanical hand whisk, hand drill or ‘lazy-fish’ corkscrew would all be good choices - you should begin by carefully examining and scrutinizing your object through sustained drawing; visually recording its basic construction and trying to understand exactly how it works and what it is used for.
  • In order to get a real feel for your object you should produce a range of studies in a sketchbook, initially in pencil, which are the product of some careful observation and strive to record the different surfaces and textures that your object might possess as effectively as possible. Try to use relevant pencil grades and mark making in this process – for example, plastic handles might be better tackled with a softer B pencil, whereas metal blades would be more realistically documented through harder F/H pencils. Vary your scale and vantage point for each drawing, this will allow you to produce a good range of outcomes and also help you to produce the best images for the technique work that comes later on. At this stage you should also look at a range of artists who are particularly well known for their use of drawing as a means of recording an object. In order to do this properly, you should include visual responses and coherent written analysis which considers their use of mark making technique, exploration of line and tone how successful these are and how you might adopt the same methods yourselves. Good people to look at include Jim Dine and Peter Randall Page.
  • Using your camera to record your object will also allow you to develop some interesting imagery which could be manipulated through IT later on. Take close-ups as well as long shots.
  • Once you are happy with your initial studies, start to introduce some more adventurous and unusual drawing techniques/materials. Consider colour and some more expressive ways of recording what you see in front of you.
  • You will be introduced to a number of new processes (printmaking and spray stencil for instance) and you will need to include examples of these in your sketchbook.  
  • As the project progresses you will be encouraged to explore techniques such as photocopying, collage and stitching to create further imagery. Again, record all outcomes in your sketchbooks together with examples of the work of others who use such techniques in their own work, details of suggested research will be posted on the Blog.
1 x sketchbook

Use the library and the internet in order to source this information – this will help to develop your individual research skills and vary the research material obtained. Lists of appropriate individuals may be given at certain points of the project to help you.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Homework Drawing Task

To complement the work we are doing in class you should make a sustained full page pencil tonal drawing working from photos taken of the still life arrangement. You should aim to spend 4-5 hours on this drawing and complete it by Wednesday 20th September (it will be assessed as part of your project).
Select a good photographic image that is relatively complex (probably best to get something from a different viewpoint than your chalk and charcoal drawing). Set your composition out carefully with a B/HB pencil in line then add a range of tones using softer pencils (2B - 6B), make sure your darkest tones use the full depth of tone you can achieve (press hard).
This should be a sustained piece that shows off your drawing ability to the full, you might use a rubber to help you pick out the highlights.

Photographic Joiners

Don't forget to bring cameras/cameraphones/card readers/download cables in with you today (Thurs. 14th September).
You will also need to ensure you have some printing credit (or bring money to put some on your student card).

A few tips for when you do your photo joiners:
  • It helps to take your photos all from approximately the same position. Move the camera to capture different sections, rather than wandering around - otherwise you may end up with a set of very disjointed images.
  • Whilst you are going for a fragmented look if you vary the zoom or viewpoint too much the whole thing quickly becomes incoherent.
  • You will be surprised at how many photos you need to make an effective joiner, as there is inevitably some that aren't useful - I'd suggest a minimum of 30 shots.
  • I found when working at A3 scale (for final joiner collages) that selecting the "Wallet Prints" option from the printer wizard was the most effective - this gives you 9 images on an A4 printed page. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Hockney Joiner Research

Photo Joiner by Hockney - Portrait of his Mother
Later this week we will be undertaking some photographic collage work to prepare for this you need to undertake some research. You need to find and print out at least 4 examples of David Hockney’s “Photographic Joiners”. Research this aspect of his work and analyse at least 2 of the images you have found in depth. This work should be thoughtfully presented over at least 2 sketchbook pages.
The work will be assessed as part of your project submission, you need to finish it by Monday 18th September, as there will be fresh homework tasks next week.


  1. Title your pages with the Artist’s name, in this case David Hockney, you might consider using fonts available online from sites such as

  2. Find good examples of Hockney’s photographic joiners – not paintings and not tiny jpegs that print out pixellated.

  3. Give a little background information on the Artist, when he was born, when he started to make his photographic collages and why.

  4. Include quotations from the David Hockney (ideally that relate to his photographic work). Try


  1. Give a detailed description of the artwork.

  2. Analyse – comment upon use of colour, composition, technique/media, scale etc.


  1. Give an opinion on the Artworks, but ensure you justify what you say. Avoid simple value judgements (‘I really like/dislike…’) or vague, meaningless statements (’This piece is really effective’). Comment upon how successful or unsuccessful you find the artwork, and give specific reasons why you hold this opinion (I find this joiner particularly interesting because of the way in which the Hockney has explored mixing up different scales and viewpoints).

  2. What is the relationship between this work and your own? Identify and explain connections between this artist’s work and your own.


  1. We will be responding to Hockney’s work by producing our own Joiners based on the still life arrangement, look at how Hockney makes his images to help you create your own.


  1. Take pride in the overall presentation of your research, it should not be rushed. Consider each element carefully:  type, layout, titles, visual responses etc.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Welcome BTEC Class of 2017

Art BTEC First Year teaching staff - Gayle, Ivan & Charmian

Hi Everyone,
                  I hope you are all feeling excited about starting the Art BTEC at Alton on Monday. A few nerves are to be expected too, but we'll do our best to make you feel right at home from day one.
On our first day we will be starting some practical work, we'll be using charcoal and it could get messy, so don't wear clothes you feel too precious about (good to avoid delicate or light coloured garments).
Both first year groups will meet in Room 855 at 10am to start the day and distribute timetables. Later, when we start work we'll also be using studio 815, these two rooms will be the first year base rooms throughout the year.
Useful things to bring on day one are :

  • A chunky eraser (or 25p to purchase one from us).
  • £3 for a sketchbook for your first project.
Paper, chalk and charcoal will be supplied.

Teaching staff for the first year BTEC this year are Gayle, Charmian and myself (Ivan) you'll meet us all on the first day. I will be the Tutor for both first year groups.

I hope you've all had a fantastic Summer and are now raring to make a flying start to your new venture here at Alton. Looking forward to seeing you all on Monday,


1st Project - TOOLS (Part 1)

BTEC Extended Diploma 1ST YEAR PROJECT

Jim Dine

Anna Held Audette - Scrap Metal

PROJECT:  Tools (Part 1).

Working from direct observation we will be exploring a variety of media and approaches to image making. Our visual reference material will be a structural still life featuring Tools and other objects. We will start with some large scale sustained observational drawing, as we move through the project our focus will shift towards more expressive techniques. Over the course of the project we will use various drawing media, photography, paint and collage techniques. We will enrich our understanding of how Artists approach observational work through sketchbook based research.

Week 1: Observational Drawing/photomontage:
We will be producing a sustained observational drawing using Chalk and Charcoal on an A1 scale. Alongside this we will be undertaking some photography and creating some David Hockney style photographic "joiner" collages.

Some Pointers for your Observational drawing:

  • Think carefully about your composition, how much of the still life arrangement should you include to achieve the most visually stimulating image? Don't go for an easy option, challenge yourself
  • Look hard at what you are drawing, you should visually analyse shapes and tones and carefully observe how they relate to each other.
  • Start by mapping out your composition in line, then start adding tone. Often it is easiest to start the tonal work by identifying the extremes of light and dark, ensure you establish these tones boldly, then start looking at the subtleties of tone in between.
  • Use the charcoal and chalk with confidence, you need to approach your piece with energy and enthusiasm, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. 
  • Look around you and learn from the approaches of other people in the group.
Week 2: Expressive Approaches
In the second week of the project we will explore further media and approaches to image making, working quickly to produce a range of pieces. We will aim to use ink, paint and collage to produce these images. Further guidance will be given as we tackle these pieces.

You will be marked on how effectively you:

  •      Demonstrate confidence and skill in handling media.
  •   Show willingness to experiment and embrace new approaches enthusiastically.
  •      Select and resolve compositions.
  •      Observe and record.

For Photography: David Hockney.
For Still Life/Tools: Jim Dine, Chaim Soutine, Euan Uglow, Anna Held Audette.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New 1st Year BTEC - Getting Ahead Work

Welcome to the BTEC at Alton and welcome to the Blog - your go to reference for all Course related stuff.

We want you to enjoy your Summer, but it would be great if that included some Cultural enrichment, so how about:

Soaking up some Culture and getting enthused by visiting exhibitions and galleries in London. Have a great day out and visit some of these:

Julian Merrow-Smith - Self Portrait

BP Portrait Award 2017 22 June – 24 September 2017Admission Free
Selected from 2,580 entries by artists from 87 countries around the world, the BP Portrait Award 2017 represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

Alberto Giacometti 10 May – 10 September 2017
Admission £16.50 (under 18s)
Admission to the permanent collection is free.
Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art.

Grayson Perry 8 June – 10 September 2017
Admission Free
Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society, presents a major exhibition of new work. The works touch on many themes including popularity, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.

From Selfie to Self-Expression 31 March - 23 July 2017
Admission Free
This is the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the old masters to the present day, and celebrates the truly creative potential of a form of expression often derided for its inanity. 

If you really can’t get up to London…

Then do something else to extend your knowledge of contemporary Art:
Contribute: If you produce a fantastic creative piece of your own over the Summer, then photograph it and use the #iamartataltoncollege to add it to our Instagram page 

Deadline: Ensure you’ve Read, Watched, Visited or Contributed something before term starts on 11th September, even better do all four!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Check Your Insight and College Email

Please ensure you all check both your College email account (for important Personal Statement guidance) and your Insight notes (here you will find all your Unit grades have been added and any instructions about additional work required over the Summer).

Thanks, have a great Summer and see you all back here in September!

Ivan 😊