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Hello fellow CA'ers! It's been a while... I'm 20 and currently studying a Fine Art Degree at university!
I've finally decided it's time to create a new sketchbook, as a place for just my work to be shown. I do have an old sketchbook on here somewhere, but neglecting it for a few years and growing as an artist over that time, I feel that I've outgrown it and a new, fresh place for my work is needed. I also have a blog where I post some of my work, and gather inspiration/ideas and just art related things!
To get to the work I'm currently working on, I'm going to create a few posts showing what work I've created the past couple of years that I feel have been important in my development, or are ideas I want to revisit at some point in the future. Then quickly on to what I've been up to recently!
This goes without saying, but if you feel there's anything worth mentioning or critiquing, please, please do. While compliments are always lovely, I want to improve!
Last edited by Spirit; March 5th, 2013 at 06:13 PM.
Here's my first post. This work was from 2011/12 when I was doing my Foundation Degree at university, working on a project called "Atmospheric Places". I chose to study a nature reserve I used to visit often when I was younger, I particularly remembered the trees there, which is the reason I foruced on trees for my final work for the project. I was also spurred on by a 'fearlessness' I'd recently accuired, and my tutor, to work as big as I dared (or as big as the walls/floor would allow). I chose to post this first as I feel this was a significant point of change in my development, as now I love working on a larger scale and I'm a little less fearful to try new things in my work than I was before this.
During this project, I was heavily influenced by Japanese woodblock prints, and artists such as Hiroshige and Hokusai. Their use of ink and mark making really fascinated me, so this is my first attempt at trying to assimilate this influence into my own work, and not simply copy the artists - which is a danger I try not to fall into. I used ink and water for these two drawings, on 200gsm Fabriano Accademia Cartridge paper cut from a 10 metre roll I bought at the university art shop... oh how I love those rolls of paper and that shop.
One thing I've learnt while on my Foundation Degree, and now on my BA (Hons) degree... document my work as it progresses! So I've included a few photographs of their progress as well, but apologies for the poor image quality, these were taken on my phone while in the studio! I'll be investing in a good quality camera in a couple of months.
Here are several sketches that I picked out from various projects from 2011/12. Some of them were from the same project as the large tree drawings in my last post, but some of these were made later on.
I'm posthing these as I always find myself looking back at them, and that tells me that there are more possibilities I haven't yet explored relating to these sketches. They also give you an idea of how my artwork has developed and what ideas I'm working on. One day I want to go back and explore them!
These two pieces I created during a project called "Art and Eclecticism". The idea for this project was for us to combine different inspirations and images into one or more pieces of work. These are taken from ym developmental work, wherein I photocopied an artwork several times that I found inspiring at the time by Leon Bakst. The piece I chose is called Narcisse. I found the patterns and colours that he used inspiring at the time, and I found myself drawin to this particular image of his work.
With these photcopies, I cut out parts of the image and combined them together, glueing them down onto the paper to create new images. I laernt from this that I can take existing images, and merge them together to create something completely new.
I think this is the last post of my past work.
These two wall pieces were inspired by my first attempts shown in my first art post of my sketchbook. I created these during my exam project at the end of my Foundation Degree in 2012. We chose the theme, wrote our own brief and had to follow it. It was to prepare us to work independently, without being given a brief from tutors which is something we won't get once we leave university and in our degree (I'm currently working without any given brief, just developing my work).
Anyway, I decided to base my project on Dante Alighieri's work The Divine Comedy: Hell. I read the work thoroughly and then set to work, as I was trying to gain inspiration from many sources, so I chose to look at literature which I hadn't done before. While reading I found some imagery that I found inspiring. In the Seventh Cirle of Hell Dante and Virgil came uopn a pathless wood, and in it's second level souls who commited "Violence upon Themselves" were punished by taking the form of dead trees. "In Hell, those who on Earth deprived themselves of their bodies are deprived of human form. At the Last Judgment the suicides will rise, like all the other souls, to claim their bodies, but they will never wear them. Their bodies will remain suspended on the trees that enclose the spirits of their owners." Taken from cliffnotes.com I decided to use this scene from the poem as an influence for my work. In these drawings I tried to get across the idea of dead, gnarled trees, and the souls of the people trapped inside.
These two works were put into the end of year exhibition, so I also took a picture of how they were displayed in the exhibition.
Now up to my more recent work! I created these sketches duirng my first project of my Degree, back in September. I was studying natural forms in this project in both a representational way, but also wanting to make the forms more abstract. These first few were just general sketches trying to get the images and ideas I had out onto paper. Sealife and coral came out as an influence here, as I always imagine coral when thinking of organic forms.
Here are some more sketches from my natural forms project. These were done from life, studying the formation of minerals in a polished rock I've owned since I was little. I was also experimenting with different colours with the paint, as I like how blue and metallic colours contrast. I quite like how in some areas the paint seems to absorb the ink and the metallic shows through, but in others the ink blots out the paint. I go back and revisit these sketches a lot, but I'm unsure why that is at the moment! I was also having fun with coloured inks, I love the colour of that blue ink so much! I quite like using the brown paper as well, I've bought more sketchbooks with the same paper to use in future work.
Great! I realy like the paterns keep it up!
"In Hell, those who on Earth deprived themselves of their bodies
are deprived of human form.
At the Last Judgment the suicides will rise, like all the other souls,
to claim their bodies, but they will never wear them.
Their bodies will remain suspended
on the trees that enclose the spirits of their owners."
This is inspirational. Thank you.
More of my work, trying to post everything up until this point so I can start posting the new project I began today. It shouldn't take many more posts, I promise. Although maybe people like seeing some of my more recent, but past work?
From looking at my sketches, and having just taken part in a painting workshop, I decided to be brave and attempt using oil paints for the first time. I found turpentine to be too strong for me and it made me feel ill, so I think I'll get a substitute in future. Of course, there are some progress shots included so you can see how it progressed. I want to try it again, once I start something I'm scared of, the excitement begins to take over the fear. I was almost treating the oil paint like watercolours in this painting, using a lot of medium to a small amount of paint.
I wouldn't know what to call these, illustrations? Paintings? Drawings? I think they have a bit of all three in them. I was again looking at natural forms when creating these, before I began looking at natural forms in a more 'abstract' way. Trying to use several different meda in each, to add 'variety' and so I didn't stick with the same thing every time.
I forgot to post this earlier, but this is the 'final piece' I created for my first project a few weeks after starting my degree. People thought I was being very daring doing something like this, but I didn't think I was. I have the advantage of doing a foundation degree last year at the same university - we're taught to take risks. Maybe I was being daring in that I've never done something like it before, but either way, I mostly enjoyed doing it! Along with it, a couple of process shots! I'm beginning to get it into my head now, photograph the process. I'm beginning to see why my tutors keep asking me to do it.
Anyway, about this work. I wanted to start looking into 3D work, as it's something I've always admired but neglected. I hated clay in college, mainly because they'd make us meticulously roll out the clay, cut perfect shapes out and instruct us what to create. I felt that it was worth another try, this time using it hpw I wanted to, freely and without rules - apart from the rules of how to handle the material, of course. I also wanted to combine this with 2D work. I chose painting because I was looking at artists like Mark Rothko and John Hoyland at the time. They are as far away as I could get from my detailed drawings which I put in my last post. I'm not sure what it was about their work, but I felt like I could use the paint freely for the first time, I didn't have to use it in a representational way for it to be any less of a painting. I chose to paint with a window scraper, so I could cover large areas in big, broad sweeps and I couldn't go into any detail; something I love but can hold me back sometimes. The detail would some with the sculpture. I was also looking at Lucio Fontana, infamous for slashing canvases. Simply put, I wanted to give it a go. It was so shocking and so liberating to do all at the same time. Somebody on my course, who does nice paintings on a normal canvas, was horriffied, saying I was "destroying the painting!". I think that just made me want to do it even more, so I cut larger holes into the canvas.
Looking at coral and other natural forms, I just molded the clay with my hands, using no sculpting tools whatsoever. I wanted it to be completely free. The only tool I used was a fork to poke holes into the 'rock' and a knife to cut lumps of clay away from the block. I loved this process of working with the clay, and you'll see it's something I've kept with my work and will continue to use now. I found a new medium.
Why I used the wooden pallet - I found it outside the studio, and decided to drag it inside. I then had the idea of stretching canvas onto it. After a long conversation about painting with my tutor, I realised I wanted this piece to not be about the traditional sense of painting - a canvas hung on the wall, the back of it not allowed to be seen. I wanted it to be viewed from all angles, and I wanted the structure of the pallet to be seen too. From my long wall of text, can you tell this is a piece I like?
Great! I love how inspired you are
It reminds me a little of a coral reef. Maybe, if i am not going too far now, i see the destroying of humans to the nature of these reefs in your piece. Maybe this was something you intended to transport?
Your work definitely differs from the usual stuff here at CA.org. Reading about the process behind that last piece was quite interesting I must say. I'm gonna pop in from time to time if you keep this thing up and running. Man, I feel inspired.
"All artists are prepared to suffer for their work, but why are so few prepared to learn to draw?"
MY SKETCHBOOK, COMMENT & CRITIC THE SHIT OUT OF ME
w0rmy- Thank you! Haha I'm slightly relieved you say that I seem inspired, I hope that I keep this going for a while as I remember all too well the feeling of having "no" inspiration. It just makes things that little bit harder. That's kind of what I've been getting at, yes! I didn;t realise it at first, but my tutors told me I could be trying to show the battle between man vs nature, if that makes sense. Lie, for example, the coral reefs we're destroying, or just nature in general, but nature is much stronger than we are and 'reclaims'.
ozark - Thank you I did wonder whether to start another sketchbook, purely because my work is different to a lot of what I see on here and wondered whether it's the right place to show it. At uni they're teaching us to talk about the process behind how we work, so we improve our self reflection. It's helped me so much to understand how I work and why I do certain things! I'd definitely recommend reflecting/writing about your work once you've completed it, it helps you to evaulate where to go next too.
Both your positive feedback has left me feeling inspired! Now to get these last couple of important pieces posted then I'll show you what I'm working on now.
These drawings may seem like a completely different change from what I've shown, but a quick explanation. My university invites artists to come in and hold workshops, and I attended one held by artist Robert Luzar. He introduced me to the artist Robert Morris, in particular a series of drawings he created called 'Blind Time Drawings'. He set himself tasks to follow, and using pigment on his hands he'd time himself and follow the tasks blindfolded.
Before now, I would've dismissed that kind of work straight away, but I decided to do my own research on his work and as well as doing a couple of the blind drawings in the workshop; it opened my eyes to a completely different way of working. After the workshop I decided to try it out myself in my studio, so I wrote myself a task and a time that I had to work in. Although I wouldn't know when the time was up - part of Morris' work is that you guess when you think the time is up, and see the time error. It's also about the perception of time and how it changes when you take away sight. I decided to try the same task twice. Sorry for the poor photo quality, I had to use my phone camera!
"Staying within the square marked out by the masking tape, draw circles using the finger tips. This drawing is to be three minutes long."
Attempt one: I stopped at 3 minutes 14 seconds. Time error = +14 seconds
Attempt two: I stopped at 2 minutes 51 seconds. Time Error = -9 seconds
It's a really interesting way to work, and as well as seeing the perception of time it's extremely fun to do! I quite like the results as well, as there's no way you can worry about how a drawing looks when you can't see it, so you're drawing freely without inhibitions or worries of the end result.
Going on from my blind drawings...
An artist called Mark Gubb came into our studios to talk to us about our work for the day. We spoke about a lot but on topic... I mentioned Robert Morris and the blind drawings I'd been creating with his influence, and Mark suggested that I could try blind sculptures. This idea had never crossed my mind, and it seems like a really interesting thing to do. Similar to the blind drawings, I can't worry about how it's turning out and what the end result will be because I can't see what I'm doing. It was interesting to try it, as I'd never seen a blind sculpture before.
I didn't really think about what to create with the sculpture, I just felt out the clay and went along with it. I pulled pieces off one place and moulded it back on in another area, and twisted the block around several times so I could work all of the sides and change it's shape as much as possible so it no longer resembled the block it started as.
I really enjoyed doing it, a lot more than I thought I would. It was strange working with clay when I couldn't see what I was doing, but I was surprised when I found it easier to work with than I thought without sight. I didn't accidentally break parts off, or make sections too thin so it collapsed like I thought I would. I think I might buy a couple more blocks of clay and make a few more, as not only was it a new way of working and exploring an idea, they were also really fun to create! Again, sorry for bad quality photographs, I will get round to taking better ones soon! There are also some photographs as I was creating it too. Oh, also a sneak peek (which is in the background) at another piece of work I'll be posting about!
Getting closer now!
These next pieces were a continuation with me experimenting with clay from my large pallet, where I created sculptures resembling coral and sealife. These really came about when I was googling "fungi", not a very technical search but it was giving the images I needed for reference to use along with the ones I've taken myself. An artists work popped up in the search, called Vera Möller. She creates paintings and sculptures of 'hybrid fungi', heavily influenced by sealife!
I didn't want to outright copy her work, as I wouldn't gain anything from doing that at all, and I'm doing this to learn. I decided to thing of fungi and shapes I could use of my own, just using her as an infleunce. I reffered back to sketches I'd created, as well as photographs I'd taken of various fungi during a photography trip I had. We'd also been having lectures on different art movements, art history etc. and I remembered there was intervention work mentioned in there somewhere. So I had the idea of creating my own intervention piece, and what a better way to do that than with my fungi sculptures!
I placed these on this fallen down tree near a pond in the park near my university. I tried to place them in such a way to make it look as if they'd grown there naturally. I chose bright colours to try and make them stand out, and also make you question whether they are natural or artificial, as in particular blue is a rare colour in nature. After setting them up I went back to my studio and wrote about my experience. It was my first intervention piece so I thought it was a good thing to record how I felt at that moment in time.
Location: Hanley Park
I've left my fungal sculptures in a location I felt suited them perfectly - a fallen tree near a pond. Rotting wood and dampness is perfect for the fungi to grow. I feel a mix of feelings after leaving them there, I'm worried incase they get destroyed or broken by vandals. I'm excited because people could discover them during their stroll through the park, but disappointed I won't see how they react. I feel like I've left a part of myself (my ideas, thoughts etc) there, and knowing my work is so vunerable and exposed makes me feel uneasy. Knowing anything could happen to the work is unnerving. It's something new to me, and leaving my work exposed to any possibility is scary but liberating.
All of the tutors at my university are practicing, working artists. My tutor was talking to me about my sculptures when I showed her my previous intervention photographs (last post). She was at the time involved in organising a local art festival, conjunction 12, with an event being held in the park the following week. She asked me if I wanted to create some more sculptures to put in the festival, and of course I jumped at the chance!
I ended up setting up my sculptures next to artist Andrew Holmes 'Lynch Gate', a sculpture and temporary structure he's created within the park. It acts as a kind of shelter and meeting point, and I've set up one species of my hybrid fungi amonst the rafters of the structure. One plus side is that they'll stay dry! I origianlly was going to place my dark purple fungi there, but because it's so high you couldn't see the white detailing on top, so I felt it best that they be displayed on floor level so the viewer overlooks them. The white and fuchsia contrast nicely against the corrugated, rusty roof and the wooden structure, making them really eye catching. I hope Andrew doesn't mind! As well as day viewing, there was also a night walk which over 41 people attended and they all gave positive feedback on my work, it was great.
I thought I'd also post a few photographs I'd taken as reference for quite a lot of this work. You're welcome to use them as reference if they're to use of any of you! This was my first time using a macro lens, and I had so much fun with it! I loved looking around searching for these things to photograph, and then coming across some surprising things, such as the bright orange growth on the base of the stem, I've never seen anything like it, it'd be interesting to find out what it is exactly.
EDIT: After a bit of digging, I've found out the orange growths are a species of fungus called Coral Spot Fungus!
Last edited by Spirit; January 18th, 2013 at 03:03 PM.
Well this is my work that I'm currently doing now! To start off the second semester at university we've been given a little mini project. I've decided to carry on with what I've been looking at in the past, particularly my blind sculpure and new/unconventional ways of working. I decided to work the opposite way, so to introduce drawing into it, I decided to do some blind drawings! I blindfolded myself, and with a biro pen I drew shapes that came to mind onto the page. It's really difficult not to be critical of these drawings, but I have to keep reminding myself it's not about the end result of the drawing, it's what I do with them and training my imagination, I guess! Creating things like these help me get over fear or doubt I have about my work, as a blind drawing won't be an amazing work of art - I drew it blind!
Anyway, with these drawings I'm going to create them how I think they'd look like in three dimensions. So I'm going to interpet the drawings as best I can and create clay sculptures from them, which will come very soon!
I've been thinking about exploring the use of wooden pallets in my work again, and I have a green pallet I've been saving. In my sketchbook I've created a quick sketch of a possible idea - I need to do this more before actually creating any work so I get a clearer idea of what I'm doing. It's not a brilliant drawing, the purpose is to get ideas down quickly in a way I can understand. My idea is to create more natural shaped sculptures, and arrange them over the pallet as if they're growing or taking it over. I'm thinking about painting them a metallic colour, such as copper or gold, as it'll work nicely with the worn green paint on the pallet. As you can see, I'm also getting into the habit of writing down thoughts in my sketchbook.
I also decided to look at the pallet more closely, as the character it has is lovely. I decided to record some of these through simple graphite rubbings. They're not complicated or anything groundbreaking, but they could be useful at some point if I cover these areas of interest, and they look quite nice. Like there are areas with writing burnt into the wood, or wooden knots with interesting patterns.
Woops, sorry for the long delay in updating! I've been busy doing the work, so I guess it's an ok excuse! I really miss doing proper, obervational studies and drawings, so I'm trying to do some more of those in my work. So it relates to my work, I decided to do a pencil study of a piece of coral I bought courtesy of ebay. Ebay is great for getting allsorts of strange objects and art materials cheaply if you look!
I took a photograph as best as I could of the angle I was drawing from, not exact as I'm using a camera phone for these photographs, but I digure as long as I'm showing my work and the quality is good enough to see it, it's ok! I learnt from this that my observational skills are a little rusty, obviously that'd happen after a while of no studies. It makes me more determined to do more though! I also think I approached the drawing wrong, I'll possibly come back to this coral once I've done studies of less complicated things and gotten back into it, see what my improvement is! Also a quick sketch of another shell from my collection on the same page.
It felt good to go back to basic, good obervational drawing
Woops, again I'm very sorry for the delay in updating. I have been working so it's just a laziness in posting! It's getting towards assessment and exhibition time, so I need to step my work up a gear and produce even more, and work even harder.
There are so many different things that've been happening recently, including more blind drawings, book binding and painting!
I've decided to go back to the piece I created with the wooden pallet and sculpture/painting, I feel that there's something there in my work and it fits in very well with the blind drawings I've been creating recently. I'm not creating any significant meaning with working blindly, for me it is just a way of working without judgement or internal criticism and influence during the initial drawing process. My tutor confused me for a while about my current work because she was reading too much into the blind process, and that made me think too much about it too. It shows that I need to pick apart what the tutors are telling me and use what's useful for my vision, not theirs; not to say I don't take their help, just be more selective about what advice I use!
So here are a series of blind drawings I've been creating, using various markers, gel pens, biro's etc. I got bored of the plain white paper so varied it with the brown packaging paper with some of the drawings. After talking to my tutor I decided to upscale the size of the drawings and start to bring some control into the process, by creating drawings based on the studies I created blindly. More to come!
I think that you're finding a fantastic niche and that you'll have no trouble getting your art in an exhibition keep up the great work!
pastasauca - Thank you for your lovely comment, it really means a lot! I'm glad that you like it! The Fine Art course I'm studying on is very much about contemporary art, it should really be called that in the prospectus! I know my work is very far away from what most people create on this site, so it's always nice to receive comments like yours. I love using the wooden pallets to stretch canvas over for that reason, I love the different subtle changes it gives to the surface I just wouldn't get with a traditional canvas frame. One thing I do need to do though is improve my painting skills! Thank you for stopping by!
In light of this comment, on my course it is generally "frowned upon" to look at artists before 1900, and even that is a push; they prefer 1960's onwards really. I see this as one downside to my course, as I've only just began to see that it is very contemporary art focused, my fellow students and I were talking about it last week actually. Obviously if anybody really wanted to look at artists before then, they can't forcibly stop them, but they will be constantly encouraged to "update" their inspirational sources. I generally used to hate contemporary art and never gave it a second glance, but after having this year and my foundation year looking at it and learning about it in more depth I've begun to see more of it that I like. There's still a lot of it I really don't like and avoid though! I want to get a balance between the more 'contemporary' side of art, and the more 'traditional'. Not sure if traditional is the right word but I think anyone reading this will get what I mean!
Anyway... back to the artwork! We had a woman from Winsor & Newton come into our university to give us a talk about the paints they produce, the mediums they have etc. Obviously they want us to buy their stuff, but she is also a working artist and painter herself so she knew what she was on about and gave us some honest opinions on the products which is always nice to hear. We also got to have a mess with the paints and mediums as well! I attended the acrylic demonstration, the oil painting demonstration was the week before. What was also great is that we got lots of freebies! Acrylic paints, paint brushes (which I worked out were worth about £15 on their own), conté crayons, oil paints and many other things. From these little experiments I like how the colours blend together so nicely, and the sand texture gel gives a lovely feel to the surface! I think the mirror shine effect was with a gloss gel, which I also really like. The paints are very expensive at art shops, but I managed to get them and the mediums a lot cheaper on ebay. More 'proper' artwork to come! Oh, also included a picture of the three books I created during a bookbinding workshop held by artist Victoria Lucas. Sorry for poor image quality, phone camera and night time don't mix so well!
Last edited by Spirit; March 17th, 2013 at 08:05 AM.
tsujni - Thank you for your comment! I'm quite familiar with Goldsworthy's work, and coincidentally I'm researching him for an essay at the moment! Although I've never actually looked at his work in relation to mine, possibly a way to go? I'll have to try it out I think, the only way of knowing!
Well this week I'm part of a group exhibition in my university, it's not a public exhibition as it's for a module we have to do and are graded on curatorial skills, team work, the catalog we create and it's just generally giving us practice on how to set exhibition up. Also gives us practice for the public exhibition at the end of the year! Just a picture of my studio table at the moment, covered in the small sculptures I'm putting in this graded exhibition. I have no idea how many there are... I now have no space at my table until tomorrow when I set them up. I'll go into more detail about them on either thursday or friday, I'll put my artist statement on here as well and explain what they are about then. We're also photographing them properly so i should have proper images to put up as well Again... phone camera. But as long as you can see the work it doesn't matter right?
A page from my sketchbook...
I bought a book from Amazon a while ago called Natural Art Forms, published by Dover Pictorial Archives, and it has 120 photographs by Karl Blossfeldt, if you haven't heard of him before I'd really recommend you look at his photographs, they're stunning! Obviously, nature being a big inspiration for my work, this book has really grabbed me. The photographs are of plants, but they look like they could be strange creatures, I think they fit right in on this website and it'd be interesting what other people would do with them! I've included the photograph I studied for the drawing. I didn't spend long on it, maybe half an hour or so. To me it looks like it might start walking at any moment! Trying to improve my cross hatching and general rendering skills with this as well. Sorry for such a grainy quality to the pencil work, my scanner does that for some reason even on high PPI settings.
More drawings from this book and work inspired by it to come! As of tomorrow I've finished university for Easter, although I need to do work at home and go in for a few days but I have more free time to do this!
I think I may have solved my scanner problems! I’ve been having trouble when scanning my sketches and drawings from my sketchbook, particularly graphite, where the scanned image is really grainy compared to the real sketch.
I just scanned a pen drawing (the first image) and found an option to include higher bit depths in sacrifice of scanning speed, and the image is SO much better. It took a few minutes to scan but the result is worth it I think. Also it picked up the lovely cream/off white colour of the page. The second sketch is just scanned in with the default settings with a higher set PPI. Can you see the difference?!
These two sketches are out of my head, and are actually drawings from memory of certain sculptures I created for my exhibition which opened yesterday - which went brilliantly! In the seminar (where all of our course-mates give us feedback and view the show) there wasn't a single negative comment, and even the tutors were so surprised. Apparently they've NEVER had a group exhibition the first year degree students have put on that hasn't needed any improvements. Rather proud of myself and my group.