I’m feeling really positive this week. I spent not a lot of time over the Christmas break, which although probably wasn’t great in terms of how much work I made, really helped me to clear my head and put a pause on overthinking things. For this reason, I didn’t really have a huge amount to talk about in my tutorial on Monday – again, although face value doesn’t seem like a good thing, meant I could talk about my general work ethic and how I progress forward with my practice.
One of the only things I really produced over the break was a painting for my aunt as a birthday gift. Again, this stems back into the idea of art being lessened maybe by a domestic environment and possibly being used for decoration, however I really loved pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.
I began by making a collage, because I really couldn’t think of anything specific to paint. The collage was then cut down, and I used it as a rough guide to start the painting. Eventually though, I moved away from the image completely and worked on the painting just from imagination. It was really freeing to work in this way – the pressure of getting it ‘wrong’ dissipated and although I was still ultimately focused on making a ‘good’ painting, there was a lot more creative freedom and I became really absorbed in it, adding details and working uncharacteristically for my usual style.
Me and Craig talked about this in tutorial – in moving away from the perfect portrait and back to the painting in its own right. Although I feel that it is important to challenge the idea of painting as static and formal, I think I’d benefit a lot from starting literally with a blank canvas and stop painting on scavenged objects unless/until it becomes important. Ultimately I’d stopped focusing on this idea altogether by trying to capture a realistic image in a traditional way. Hopefully this realisation will give me a lot more motivation in my practice – I think the less I think about the outcome, the more successful the work will be and the more likely I am to actually start painting, removing the fear of getting things wrong.
I revisited the idea of projection painting, because I think out of the works I produced last term they were some of the most successful. I started working smaller, and with a more diverse palette.
I really like this outcome, although at this point I will probably use it as a ground/sketch and work into it further using reference to an image but not projecting over it. I want to keep it quite abstract in points, but build it up in others, to try and create a sort of hyper reality. I would also quite like to start working on canvases so that the works feel a bit more permanent and valid.
Outside of my studio practice we had a project from our research context lecture to complete, making a small work for a ‘postcard exchange’ to aid discussion about value of art. I liked the exercise, unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a photo of the postcard I made, but it was essentially a watercolour portrait using one of the reference photos I got off my dad. I found it really interesting. Some of the postcards were really ‘valuable’, mainly because people wanted them the most, and after deliberating random allocation of postcards, we ended up going round in a circle and picking which card we liked the best. If only one person had a postcard as a favourite, they were allowed to keep it, but if more than one liked it, they had to play rock, paper, scissors to decide. I thought this was quite a fair idea at first, however this meant that when you lost your ‘favourite’ card, you were then forced to chose one that you may not have liked entirely, rather than having the opportunity to chose another as your favourite. I ended up with a postcard that was blank except for “Say something about this…” written on the front. I wasn’t really that keen on this card – mainly because I don’t really have a lot of appreciation for conceptual art (especially in an environment where you are asked to stop and think a lot) and because it didn’t really have any value in terms of difficulty/effort to create. I think if it had not been a postcard, or had been in an art context rather than just a postcard among a dozen others on the floor, it may have had more value, or if someone else but me had ended up with it they might have given it value by liking it. However to me, it is an object that I have no affiliation with.
I also took part in a thematic group crit on the everyday today. The discussion focused on the idea of the everyday – whether or not the everyday can be beautiful, if it is worth making art about, and how a viewer might connect with the everyday.We looked at an egg – a simplistic, everyday, organic object and how as an artist, you might take inspiration from that. In my practice, I focus on the domestic in term of subject matter, and in display. I find that I am quite an ordinary or boring person – I have no real stories to tell, or points to make in my work. I don’t have a particular interest in the political where I feel that I can make a personal comment on things without appropriating. For this reason, I think I have particular interest in the everyday because I can make a personal comment on it and feel comfortable and valid in doing so. I think especially at this stage in my life, where nothing particularly exciting or upsetting has happened to me, the domestic is a natural focal point for my work.