“In Part Two you’ve essentially been ‘curating’ objects to edit, create and organise your own collection and this relates to the way you may choose to present your work later on in the course. A familiar concern for artists is that everything has been done already and that making new work is now impossible, but it’s the way in which you make a collection or present your ideas that can make your work unique and reflect your motivations. Each student who embarks upon this project will make very different collections and very different work. Understanding and reflecting upon this in your log demonstrates that you understand the context within which you’ve made your collection and the resulting paintings.”
By making art from collections, the course has told us what to paint, I have fulfilled these requests within the exercises based on my thoughts that the objects could look good within the medium tried. This means that the subjects lack any motivation from the perspective of an alternate story to go with the created pictures. I haven’t done saucepans because as a female I believe they show my oppression into the role of a household cook (for example), more they are a part of the space I inhabit and make art in. They where handy.
• Demonstration of visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
I believe that the pictures I have made reflect good composition, I have looked at ways to make items formally placed (like Lisa Milroy) and randomly placed, the ink and nail varnish bottles worked in different ways for me because of the formal sizing of the ink bottles versus the variation in the nail varnish. The nail varnish pictures as a result are (to me) almost architectural in comparison. The saucepans in the cupboard are more appealing to me as an organised mess, it has more interest and by showing the enclosure explains the shadows and highlights.
I have enjoyed working in different mediums, experimentation is always good, creating something that has no future because of degradation is a different message to the contents though and not one I think I am interested in at this time.
• Quality of outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
The research has clarified my position on portraits, I understand that ambiguity of features can show the artists reticence to create a facsimile because a painting cannot show a persons soul. This is fine, a persons actions show their soul, however, between looking at Richter and Freud, the difference between them is vast, not least in Freud painting from a sitter over a photo.
I need to improve my accuracy, it bugs me that I get portraits wrong unless I start off with a sketch I’ve checked is accurate, it seems like cheating to me, as does projecting an image onto the canvas to get the lines in accurately.
I think that my pictures accuratly depict what they are trying to do (as long as a portrait is seen as ‘A’ portrait over someone specific) I think that I can accuratly emit a feeling based on the medium used (thus three things is in the delicate watercolour as it is dealing with other peoples choices). I also still have hope, so I can’t degrade pictures after they look the way they should like the person they should, representing a point in time that is not repeatable. Multiple pictures of the event should show something different, study of the image should slowly give that up, playing with the image in different mediums should reveal something different each time, either a clarity in the background, emphasis to the left or next time, the right.
• Demonstration of creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
My skillset is improving, my list of things I wish to paint shrinking, this I think is my voice coming to the fore. This has been quite tough as a part of a course to do, not least of which was no fixed end date to aim at. Work has been difficult too and getting at my studio (which is only at the end of an average sized suburban garden) has been interesting with builders in getting the terracing wall up to make our garden more useable (its only taken 10 years of living here, why they had to choose a week I had off to close access to the bottom half of the garden till the cement set I don’t know). I hope that my logbook shows more analysis of my and others pictures, its still a work in progress though.
• Context: Reflection, research, critical thinking (learning logs and essay). Have you looked at a diverse range of artists from those suggested in the project brief? Have you digested these artists’ work and is this evident in your work? If so, how? Write this down in your learning log.
I think looking at Milroy, Richter and freud has opened my eyes to technique and content. Richter’s work informed some large scale pictures of my children that as a series I will happily continue adding too, the softness of his use of oils is inspiring especially the way he does focus on the photos of the people he has the strongest links to, Freud for his studied overworked execution, which will be something I aim at over time, I think there is space here to look at Orpens work too, its a point where the likeness is the point at which you stop, not every crease, although a study of hands a-la Freud would be interesting. Milroy for her neat ordered arrays, this proved useful for the ink pot set, which I enjoyed creating, but I don’t think I wish to take further.
My portraiture still hinges around my children, I will get the courage together to ask someone to sit for me at some point…
I am not really restricted by size in my studio space, storage is a problem when you are dealing with drying times, which would be the greatest long-term problem, however, as long as I can flit between sizes and mediums I have room to move.
The mediums I want to continue playing with are ink drawing with a stick, my accuracy is better in drawing at the moment, and I’ve been playing with mark making in ink over pastels, the line is finer for the detail I’m trying to create that way and I can still create the blended areas that pastels lend themselves to.
Oil paints are becoming a favourite, I want to do more painting on copper, and try my acrylic techniques with oils too, so more of a Piper feel but with a longer open paint. I don’t know if that will work, but I’d like to give it a try.