Arundells. 2018. The Collection. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.arundells.org/the-collection/. [Accessed 13 January 2018].
Looking back through the exercise work, the pictures that are the most striking are from 2.1, 2.2 and research on surfaces.
Experimenting with different mediums and supports was good experience, my resistance to a couple of the options comes down to size and longevity. The amount of coffee required to make an A1 painting of my chosen collection would probably put me off coffee for life(not good, it’s one of my chosen life giving liquids), the amount of layers required to complete a picture means you have to have it around for a while and in its strongest form (probably just add minimal water to the jar) the stench of coffee would be overpowering… Graphite as a paint? nice effect, not nice enough for this assignment in that size.
Oil on copper would cost about £70 for the surface. This side of Christmas it’s just not happening and I want to complete this part of the course, I’m already looking at 4 pictures waiting to dry and am going to have to have a conversation as to whether I send off Pt2 to be reviewed without them to aid moving on with the course.
My choice to work with ink and stick (chopstick, I have a selection littering the house as I buy them to stick my hair up with, which is about the limit of my follicle decoration ability) is in part from repeated views of the work of John Piper. In this part of the course, I have been creating pictures based on Arundells, the former home of Ted Heath in the Cathedral close. His art collection was a varied thing and the dining room is hung with Pipers work on 3 walls, vibrant works with depth I’ve always admired, the Young gallery in Salisbury also had a room with Pipers (and Graham Sutherland) in and Mottisfont has one or two in its permanent collection in the hallway, so his work is always cropping up. I admire his use of the ink line with either a strong area of colour or a light wash, overlaid with a tone to darken the picture down, suggestive of darkened days or a bad mood. So I recognise where this style is coming from, I think I’m going to have to do a sketchbook on Piper just to see if I can get him out of my system.
Meantime, my knowledge of the exercises drew me back to the nail varnish bottles, I recognised at the time their structural value and felt it would work well in a larger size.
Setting up the angle and lighting was challenging but possible and the picture I created was a scraped background of gouache, this is mostly because my acrylics are at school at the moment, where I and the schools art/design leader are helping guide some children to create an exhibition piece to hang alongside 11 other local schools at the Young gallery. Carting stuff up and down from the school is a pain in the arse, so it can stay there till Feb when we should be done.
The problem with this is that the white ink I chose to use to show the lighter tonal aspects of the bottles dragged up some of this waterbased black and turned some of my lines more grey, it lost some of its impact because of it and needed a second coat upon drying.
Overall, it was the lack of distinction between the bottles and their background I was most disappointed with. It works and in A1 as I expected the bottles have the qualities of a city centre block, however, half the joy of the nail varnish is the jewel like colours that the black and white has lost.
My second attempt started with scraping over coloured acrylic inks to block in the interest I felt had been missing and then working over with the stick and white ink. This produced an image that still blended the bottles into the back too much (I should have taken a photo at this point to show) so I surrounded these lines in a dark blue ink to bring the bottles forward repeating the white lines after into the blue to emphasise their shapes. I still wasn’t happy with the representation of the light so I added black lines in appropriate places to deepen the shade.
This piece has the vibrancy that is missing in the first attempt, some of the scale is lost in the bottles because it is less stark? but the colour more than makes up for it. I think that it could be cropped in tighter to lead with the strongest coloured bottles, I’m not convinced the bottle far left has any value.