Week 25 – 23/04/18

I’ve carried on working with both paintings this week. The aim is to get them finished and stored by next Thursday when studios are cleared. I’m having trouble with the face in the smaller painting, it’s difficult to define the  structure whilst also being minimal with my brushmarks/range of tones. The paint has layered up so much that the paint is behaving differently on the surface.

I am at a level with the larger painting where I want to leave my face alone. I think it is a really strong element of the work and even though it is not as worked as the smaller painting, I don’t want to risk  creating more work for myself. I had a tutorial this week where we spoke about the screen versus canvas, and how the surface of the image acts as though it is  the reversed surface of the TV screen. In my research I’ve found lots of sources that discuss the issues surrounding the gaze, composition and some of Lacan and Freud’s theories in relation to spatial awareness and the viewer. This research is helping to validate my work rather than inform it at this stage, but I still  find it really helpful and contextually appropriate. We also spoke about the issue of  using myself in the painting. Currently, I don’t see the work as a self portrait. In my sketchbooks when  writing about the smaller sofa piece I worked on, I talk about how my awareness of the  camera might alter the work and how recording rather than taking one photo helps to combat this. I and everyone else involved is in the same position where after a while you forget that the camera is there.

I also attended strategies this week. After hearing about the experience of some NUA Alumni, I am now thinking of staying in Norwich post-graduation. I applied to a competition this week, and when thinking about how I publicise myself, I think  it’s important that I have a base and a studio to work out of, especially if I am successful or there is any sort of demand for my work at degree show. Listening to the talks of  Henry  Driver I have now become motivated to enter more competitions. I applied to take part in the Art below Summer show, although I don’t expect to hear anything back, I think its important that I apply for any relevant opportunities because there is always a chance something could come out of it.

This is some more of the progress I’ve made on the larger painting. I’ve been working mostly into the male face this week to try and bring it up to the same level as mine. Again, I don’t want to add too much detail, but there needs to be consistency between the two.

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working with facial features
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building up figures and sofa
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adding in items in foreground

 

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Week 24 – 16/04/18

This week I had a presentation with Brian Davey for the Jenifer Davey Memorial Award I’d applied to earlier this year. I wanted to discuss the way my work was progressing and try to explain my research interests. I often find it difficult relaying what my practice is about, as the themes are constantly shifting even though essentially the mediums and processes stay the same. It’s also quite hard to contextualise all my research. When I applied for the award my interests were shifting more towards research based practice rather than practical, so I had to try and get across where I’d diverted and how I am currently moving forward.

Brian was very keen to discuss my work, and picked up on elements that I hadn’t necessarily noticed. Things that are quite instinctual to me (colour choice, style etc) are probably the first thing that impacts someone looking at my work for the first time, so I need to be able to justify these choices. I feel quite positive about the presentation, and found it a really useful experience even if I don’t get selected.

We had a slight dispute in the editorial board this week. Some members of the year group expressed that they wanted to have more input in the selection of the degree show publication because they were not happy with the design that we (the board) had chosen. People were particularly concerned with the colour choice and how it would impact their work. I think as a group we handled this very well, we scheduled a meeting with the designer the next day and discussed the choice of colour. I myself had been a bit concerned about colour in particular as I hadn’t seen the design when it was presented, but the designer was able to show me the full mock-up and I now think it works really well. As a group we discussed the best course of action, and decided to stand our ground. We explained that while we really want to take people’s feedback on board, we’re not really in a position to make any major changes now, and can’t really take each individual’s comments on board (hence why there is a board in the first place to make choices on behalf of the year). We did change some of the colours slightly, but overall the design hasn’t changed.

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I think in hindsight, the individuals that were not happy with the design have realised that it would be impossible to please everyone, and so there has to be a compromise, especially this late in the process. I think future boards might want to consider how involved  the rest of the year group are in the process, as I agree that people should feel as though they have a say in how their work is presented to the public.

I’ve been in the 3d workshop in the latter art of the week building stretchers for my degree show piece. i  stretched the smaller canvas so that I am able to work on it alongside my degree show painting as it comes into fruition

I’ve also made real progress on my degree show painting, I’m surprised as how far I’ve come in the shot space of time I’ve been working on it. I’ve found a new really effective method of mixing a range of skin tones, which is much quicker and creates a more natural, realistic look.

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initial ground
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setting up the composition
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face detail
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Drawing in shapes with contrasting lines
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face detail
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Working into background

I think this painting is particularly strong – the adapted colours and composition work really well on this scale.  I wanted to brighten up the smaller painting, so I think I am going to leave this painting fairly under-worked and the ground colours as they  are. The challenge now is working on both paintings simultaneously so that they communicate something with each other and can be displayed as a series.

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working into background
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removing the face to fix proportions/alter the skin colour palette

I think the context of the work will transpire more as the painting develops, it will be interesting to talk about the work as a self-portrait. Does my presence change the works meaning? Does the relationship I have with the work change?

Week 21 – 05/03/18

I’ve been at home this week, I haven’t managed to get much done, however while I’ve been away the editorial board had a meeting with the design for publishing students to view their pitches for the publication.

The designs all look really successful, although the one the group chose has a really interesting ring-bound structure and stood out from the rest. I believe that the intention is to get the publishing students to cost up this design and choose this one if it is within our budget, and if not, chose a booklet that has a similar design but is traditionally bound.

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It’s a bit frustrating that I wasn’t able to attend the meeting, initially it was scheduled for last week but was cancelled because of the weather. I’m hoping we’ll be able to schedule another meeting soon between us to discuss the next steps in gathering texts and images for students and how we will organise editing these – I think we also need to have discussions about chasing contributors for texts and making sure everyone is on the same page.

I’ve started trying to write a short piece about the interim exhibition based on the transcription of the curation team meeting, it’s still in the very early stages but i’m hoping by next week I’ll have something more substantial to show the group.

Week 19 – 19/02/18

I found out this week that I had been selected to exhibit in the Free Range exhibition after the degree show.

I’m really excited to partake in this, as the exhibition will provide a really good opportunity to network and make my work known. Among the few of us who got selected, we’ve decided that we want to be as active as possible in the process, making titles, statements etc, and using it as a way of really representing ourselves. We’re also thinking of putting on an event after the private view to try and network even further in an informal environment with other exhibitors. Today, during the first meeting, me and 2 others decided to take charge of the writing element, based on a title that the full group came up with: ‘Visual Interference’. As a representation of the course, the work is all really  diverse – it ‘clashes’ but in a really interesting way that, whilst showing the bredth of our practices, allows for interesting discussions about collaboration – this is what we want to promote in the short text. Relating to the degree show publication, the statement also became about the end of our university experience and how we move forward without the constant input of our peers in a very stimulating studio environment. The rest of the group responded really well – I think that in spite of the pressure on us at the moment with degree show planning etc, there is a really positive energy surrounding this project and everyone is really eager to contribute.

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Sort of along the same lines –  I also recently received conformation from 2 of the external organisations the editorial board contacted in relation to the degree show publication. Both the Dyad Creative and Kaavous Clayton from OUTPOST/originalprojects seem really eager to participate, so this is good news. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks we will have seen the design for publishing pitches and be starting to form the foundations of what the publication will look and read like. The process so far has been a little frustrating at times with chasing people and having difficulty organising meetings, but I think we’ve done a good job so far.

I’ve finished work on the pink piece I started last week –

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I’m pleased with the outcome, and have actually entered the piece in a painting competition. I’m not sure how successful it will be as the brief was specific about strong directional light and technical painting skill – but having put myself forward for the free-range exhibition and being selected I feel I’ve got the confidence to put my work out there a little bit.

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In the studio I’ve started prepping some more smaller surfaces, with the intention of painting some small studies of myself watching TV – I’ve been looking at the surfaces all week without really wanting to start work on them, I think possibly because of the prospect of having to do 4 paintings that are very small (and perhaps limiting in terms of what I can communicate) . I might now re-think the idea. Someone in my studio suggested that I paint one of the images across all 4 pieces of canvas – I’m really intrigued by this – it’s a definite way of drawing attention to the picture surface – especially if I make it so that in order to understand the picture, the viewer must fill in the gaps between the individual canvases. I’m still deciding where I want to go with this, so will probably paint on them at some point next week as a bit of an experiment.

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Week 17 – 05/02/18

This week I’ve been working more into my paintings and keeping up to date with the editorial board meetings and correspondence. I’m also getting quite conscious of time and of planning a work for the degree show.

This is the progress I’ve made on the larger painting this week. I had a tutorial with a new tutor and she suggested working with larger brushes, so that the looseness that comes across in my smaller paintings is evident in the larger ones.

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I’m trying not to over-work it, but at the same time I want the same level of depth in the image I’m working on. We also had a discussion in the tutorial about the nature of photography and using photography that is quite incidental/unimpressive as a base for an image. She mentioned the idea of culture as well – in the last unit where a lot of my research was on realism and representing a specific time and place – I’m interested in how I can capture a representation of a segment of society or cultural group.

I’ve moved on from this smaller painting now – as I really like the looseness and colour – I’m happy to leave it as it is if it means not overworking the image.

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I’ve also tried to start taking photos of TV watching again – in my feedback tutorial last week I was told that the paintings were really successful and connected strongly to my written work. I think now that I’ve had time away from these works, I will be able to come back to them with fresh eyes and make something more successful out of them.

I’ve also been corresponding with the editorial board again this week, now trying to contact contributors and gather texts that can be published. As well as this, I’ve been transcribing the recording of the curation and editorial board, with the intention of writing something about it/using it in the publication. This took up quite a lot of time so I think in future, it would be better to have a specific outcome in mind – eg. only transcribe the meeting if there was a definite use for it as an interview piece or review. I think it’s still a useful piece of test to have recorded, so regardless if it gets published, it will be good for the group to have on record.

I hope that next week I will have more free time to start more paintings and reach some sort of resolution with the large one I’ve started. I think next time I work on canvas like this it will be helpful to have some sort of seam allowance so that if I choose to, I can put it on a stretcher.

Week 16 – 29/01/18

This week I received my BA3a feedback – overall I was quite happy with the outcome, although it was a bit frustrating to be just below the margin for a first. I expected that the main criticism or area for improvement would be to do with the amount of paintings I’d made and the lack of experimentation I’d been able to do. My essay turned out to be really successful, I was a bit apprehensive about it in its final stages as I hadn’t had a member of staff fully read through it.

Being back in the studios this week, I’ve started working on 2 new paintings – one of the areas for improvement on my feedback was to work on multiple paintings at the same time so that the pace is kept up and I don’t end up stagnating. It also mentions revisiting my ‘We Are The Watchers’ paintings – I agree totally, as through my research, the context behind the works has become really relevant. I’d been planning a piece based on the 2 images I took of my friend’s kitchen, and so I’ve decided to move straight into working on it, large scale. Based on the outcomes of my fabric piece for the collaborative exhibition, the ground stared off very loose with multiple colours bleeding into one another.

A lot of the problems I’ve had with past paintings stems from a fear of the blank canvas – I’ve tried to combat this by working on unstretched canvas and by making the grounds interesting enough that I can leave areas unworked without the painting looking unfinished.

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This is another smaller work I also started – I’m really liking the colours and composition so far – I think I’m going to leave this piece quite abstract/unworked, I think the composition on its own makes it quite interesting as an image

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I had my feedback tutorial on Friday, the comments on my essay were really positive and the tutor suggested that I consider getting it published by JAWS, a graduate run journal that prints mainly MA written reviews and analytical texts. I’m really excited to do this – I will need to adapt the essay quite significantly as they only accept submissions of 5000 words or less, so I’m planning on expanding on one of the chapters and submitting this rather than shorten the whole report. In terms of a future career in the arts, going into  writing and research is something I feel would suit me, so will now be on the look out for opportunities to write and publish works. I will have to keep in mind that my writing is quite time consuming and make sure I balance my time well between studio practice and any future texts that I decide to write.

We’d also arranged another editorial board meeting this week – attendance was again, quite sparse, however I think through the 2 meetings we organised (One on Thursday with Krsyzstof and one independently on Friday) we’ve managed to get everyone on the same page and aware of deadlines. I will be drafting an email to an NUA alumni that is heavily involved with OUTPOST studios in Norwich, aiming to send it out by the beginning of next week. This task is really useful, as it falls into the same category as approaching galleries and individuals for possible career possibilities. This type of correspondence is something that I need to familiarise myself with and improve.

Week 15 – 22/01/18

I went back to my family home this week – being in a different space prompted me to start thinking about why I am interested in the domestic and documenting uninteresting, more mundane scenarios. My interest in the everyday stems from spending a lot of time living with a group of people, and being able to relate to moments of quiet/being an observer in a situation. Last unit I was interested in Michael Andrews’ The Colony Room; my tutor explained that Andrews was painfully shy and would not usually interact at events like the one pictured. On a certain level I can relate to this, there are often moments in social situations where I find myself being a quiet watcher. Again, this all stems back to the idea of the observer and observed, and the different relationships that exist between them. I’d like to do some more research on this, and try to take some more images that more directly capture this.

Following on from last unit, I’d also like to start thinking about my work’s relationship with photography and how far the act of taking a photo in the moment influences the finished, adapted and labour intensive painting that becomes the outcome. I’ve been reading around this subject, particularly thinking about historical artists used early methods of flattening a 3-dimensional image before documenting  it on a canvas. In a text I’ve been reading called ‘Painting, Photography, Painting’, Carol Armstrong discusses how painting has become ‘expanded’ and the definition of painting has adapted so that it is still able to grow. Photography ‘struggles’ to do this – although technically there can be abstract photography and photographers have total authorship/power over the image and what it shows (even though the process is  mechanical) – it is difficult to make a photograph by chance. The definition of photography remains the same and there isn’t the same level of experimentation. “Photography must shed its pictorial, perspective box, camera-obscura origins and embrace the self-reflexitivity of the light-sensitive surface.” (Armstrong, 2016). In terms of my own work, I might want to consider how incidental my photographs are, and how they are always taken  with a painting – rather than a photograph – in mind.

I also had another editorial board meeting this week – we’re starting to consider our proposed theme of ‘intentions’ in terms of the contributors we’d like to ask and why. Although only 2 of us were able to attend I found the meeting really productive, it’s proving quite difficult to find times where all of us are available to meet and so although we didn’t have the authority to make any major decisions it was good to have an idea of what to discuss in the next meeting and put this forward to the rest of the group. We’ve managed to narrow down a list of possible contributors including university staff, alumni that have gone on to form collectives, and gallery contacts. In the meeting we managed to make informed decisions through researching the names we’d put down provisionally – we’re hoping that by focusing our questions/themes for them based on their practice and interests, we will be more likely to get responses.

One thing that’s become clear so far in this project is the need for consistent communication – outside of our meetings it’s hard to reach everyone directly due to inconsistencies in people opening emails etc. I think going forward we need to set up regular meetings that everyone can attend so that we are all on the same page and keep the group productive.