Exercise 2.3 Painting on a 3D surface & 2.4 Painting on a painted surface

Paul Westcombe. 2018. Used Paper Cups. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.paulwestcombe.com/1_used_paper_coffee_cups.html. [Accessed 21 July 2018].

Modern Art Oxford. 2018. Lubaina Himid Invisible Strategies Exhibition notes 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.modernartoxford.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Lubaina-Himid-Invisible-Strategies-Exhibition-Notes.pdf. [Accessed 30 December 2017].


Choose another of your collections to depict. Consider the examples discussed in the introduction to Part Two. Paint an image of your collection or objects from your collection on one of the following surfaces:

• paper cup

• piece of wood

• stone

• a handbag

• packaging

• a conker

• porcelain.

You could also use card, paper or tin foil to make a three-dimensional surface that you then paint on. Acrylic would work well for this exercise.

I’ve chosen glass bottles, the ability to see the light through the object drew me to the idea of painting glasses on them. Its like the painting of Nigella Lawson on a paper plate (after Paul Westcombe’s coffee cups, although it seemed to miss getting onto the relevant research page), there is at least a link between the object and its canvas


Having to search out the object to then have the only link being the artist chose both to put together seems to be at the least a wasted opportunity.

It brings to mind the work of Lubaina Himid in an exhibition at Modern Art Oxford  in 2016 (went with my children, always an experience) at the end of one of the rooms, was a dinner service that had been painted over, “25. Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service, 2007 Himid defines Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service as ‘an intervention, a mapping and an excavation. It is a fragile monument to an invisible engine working for nothing in an amazingly greedy machine. It remembers slave servants, sugary food, mahogany furniture, greedy families, tobacco and cotton fabrics but then mixes them with British wild flowers, elegant architecture and African patterns. […] This work is not a memorial but more an encouraging incentive for everyone committed to restoring the balance, revealing the truths and continuing the dialogues.’

By using the refined surface to show her frustration at the hidden history repainted over the top, with a much darker tale than the pretty flowers etc the surface has been repurposed with a valid image. Just painting one of my collection over a surface that has been pre-advised seems to be a wasted opportunity to link image to object. Not content with that, I’ve had my course mark back for Understanding Visual Culture and with a pass I am happy with, I accept my closing statement didn’t relay how the course was affecting my process. Well randomly painting on objects because the course says so doesn’t offer a valid reason any more so that’s the effect right there. My ability to justify my medium and surface has improved the contents of the image is more important than it used to be and my ability to explain that reason is easier than painting on a conker.


The paint is an impermanent layer that rubs off quite easily, however I appreciate the effect of seeing the glasses overlapping through the bottles, it brings to reality the nature of glass created in paint.

I can’t imagine getting tied to an object for a protracted amount of time as a signature style, it would be really restrictive. I don’t mind the odd experiment, I have to achieve silk purses out of sows ears regularly at school with no budget, (tonights is a camel head I’m sewing onto the top of a peaked cap for Christmas nativity, turns out we need 2 and only have 1 proper costume) but thats my limit. I’m getting the hang of stretching canvases myself and have ordered up some A4 copper sheet off Ebay for the final research part before the next assignment, but thats a flat frame-able thing that’s easy to store. Onwards I think.


Paint a thin wash of colour on three or more sheets of A4 paper using ink- or water-based paint and leave them to dry; make some dark and some light. Now choose a paint medium you’d like to try and depict another of your collections. This time really look at the tone of the collection. Which are the darkest and which are the lightest areas? You may find ink, watercolour, acrylic or gouache most suitable for this exercise, but feel free to experiment. As an extra exercise, you could paint a collection of your choice, leave it to dry and paint a different collection on top on the same piece of paper

I’ve picked crockery for this one, the tone is there, but the patterns are quite important in judging the age of the pieces and therefore their relevance as a collected thing. I think the Coffee and the Graphite from 2.1 of this course worked really well for this aspect.

I’ve chosen Acrylic ink as my under paint, I don’t want it moving under the layers over and gouache for the paint over as its a good strong paint with a nice matt finish.


I kept to 1 colour over so the under colour still had a good effect, this is something that looked good from the first part of the course, the shading from where the plates are stacked and under from the angle of lighting I used white on the circular plates.

I’m still not feeling the love for random collections, people and places have more meaning to me, single objects have to be relevant to the time and the thought process rather than picked up because I’ve been told to paint it.

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