Reflections on the Course

I have always been interested in art, but have never painted or drawn, my interest being photography. I was following the Photography degree pathway before starting this course but found that I enjoyed it so much and learnt many things that I could apply to photography that part way through I asked to change to the Creative Arts degree pathway. This will allow me to study both art history and photography throughout the course.
I have learned a great deal from both a technical and historical point of view. I have studied in a lot more detail artists I had heard of before starting the course as well as discovering quite a number that I had not come across before.
I really enjoyed my final project on the Norwich School. Having fairly recently moved to Norfolk I found that I was learning about the history of the area as well as the artists of the period. The more I read about the subject the more interested I became and the more I wanted to read.
What has changed as a result of the course? Well I spend a lot more time studying individual works of art than I ever used to. Previously I would probably glance at a painting and wander round a gallery thinking ‘I like that painting’ or quickly bypassing ones that didn’t immediately appeal. Now I spend more time in a gallery looking at fewer works of art.
Perhaps my progress can be summed up in how I have approached the various annotation exercises throughout the course. At the beginning I would look at the painting, research it to see what other people had said about it and use the research to describe the painting. By the middle of the course I would look at the painting, start to think about my views on it and then use the research to inform or modify my views. By the end of the course I think that I am now looking at paintings and forming my own opinions, I use the research I do to reconsider those opinions but not necessarily modify them; I have much more confidence in my own views now.
I think that I have learned a lot that can be applied to my photography, whether it be poses in portraits, composition of landscapes or many other details I have studied in this course which are transferable.
Finally the course gave me the interest and confidence to attend art auctions locally – and to buy something! The first time I just went to a viewing prior to an auction to study the paintings, I also went once just to see what the auction process was like. With the knowledge I had built up from the course and my project on the Norwich School I ended up buying etchings by JS Cotman and Joseph Stannard – something that would never have happened without doing the course. Not only am I pleased to have completed the studies I now have the fruits of them to enjoy at home.

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