The Reflective Journal: Re-Thinking the Approach to Painting Through Reflection

Ms. Fiona Harman - Post Graduate
2012 Conference

The reflection process is a highly valuable form of personal critique in painting. If an emphasis were placed upon it, students would be better prepared for the questioning, evaluation and assessment of their course work. The use of journals as a private, unstructured way to inform an art practice can run parallel with a more organized, structured approach to reflection on technique and concept.

This reflection process would be particularly valuable for painters and a specific approach or guidelines could be set in place. While the physical work is always assessed, a reflection journal with specific tasks could be set as an assessment task to assist and direct students in being critical of their work. For painters, the question of the primacy of painting always arises, so a structured and detailed reflection process could aid students in answering the question of the role of paint.

Often it is difficult to approach your own work with a critical eye and make decisive shifts. An organized, assessable reflection journal that asks for specific tasks to be undertaken could be introduced well before Honours to shift students’ ideas about ‘design development’ and to be more personally involved with what they are doing in art school. This would help students identify and evaluate the specific role painting plays in their personal artistic interests.