For the final exhibition I wanted to go back the the brief sketches from the charity shop object in the Site Venue project because I was fascinated by the shapes and the movement created through the materials. Throughout this project I looked into the ‘self’ and how we can maintain the state of calm. I myself do not dance but I feel through dance, you can express a lot of emotion because of the movements and the passion the individual puts into it. I find dancing feels an individual freedom to let go and express themselves. Not everyone can relax as they feel pressured, watched or intimidated but as you start to enjoy the movements, these worries lower or disappear. I wanted to use charcoal in my work because I enjoy using it and it creates a lot of depth and intensity to my work. I believe the charcoal compliments my themes and is the best material to use because of the power it forms.
I started by creating quick sketches using ink to form free-flowing pieces to help restart my drawing. I haven’t drawn properly in a while with other projects requiring different forms of creating so this process helped to retrain my mind and hand. I enjoyed these drawings because with only a few marks they held a lot of motion. I moved on to forming quick charcoal sketches to start off the development towards my exhibition pieces.
I attended a life drawing class at home where I was given the chance to create a range of studies of positions. The poses were very short so I needed to move quickly to form the shape and contours of the figure. I was not able to give each a large anoint for shading in the given time. I also attended a dance class where I was able to sit and draw quick sketch of the dancers. This experience meant I needed to work quickly and was only able to produce very basic drawings. I used charcoal for this exercise because I can cover a larger amount of surface quickly than I could with pencil. The charcoal always gives more texture and I feel is my expressive than pencil, as well as being able to form a more 3D shape than pencil would create. I would like to attend another class in the future as well as more life drawing classes to build up my portfolio of figurative drawings.
The life drawing and dance dance have helped me create my final pieces and I will be using the classes again in the future.
I asked my housemate to pose for me to capture her movements. I sued this along with the images from the life drawing and create my final pieces. I enjoyed drawing these pieces because they were challenging when it came to getting the shape as the bodies are distorted. I used a lot of compressed charcoal in the work to form a very deep intensity to my work. I find this brings the image out and helps to form the 3D shape to the work. I will be continuing this through the summer and maybe into third year.
During the first few weeks of the project we were given different tasks including a drawing walk through the park and taking an everyday routine and changing it to help get the ball rolling with ideas. Some of the exercise were stimulating, some were not but, I feel this enabled me to find my feet in the project. One task involved finding an object in a charity shop and working with it. We needed to respond to it in our way whether that was through drawing, painting, writing or sculpture. My object was a quirky mug with figurative ink drawings on it. The mug was an irregular shape, white, tall and thin. (Below). I took to the drawings on the mug as I enjoy life drawing and working with figurative movements because I feel a lot of emotion and expressive in them.
I started to work with the figures through sketching with ink and charcoal which made me feel very calm and mindful. I wanted to work outside and was recommended by my tutor to go outside and create something within a time limit to stimulate my ideas as development. Looking at the materials outside I started to get the sense of the five element of life – earth, fire, water, wood and metal which were all available to me. I found an egg shaped ceramic which I cracked open to represent life. The idea of the five elements reminded me of tribes and tribal dances around camp fires so I started to exhibit the work in this way. During the exhibition, I asked students to dance around the display. This involved them in the work and created a very light warming feel to the piece to deter the audience away from any idea that the work could be very deep and heavy. I enjoyed this project because I was able to experience with installation and nature directly and use these to interpret my themes in a different way.
Dancing around the fire
After the assessment, I tried out creating the fire in the dark because it would give a better effect to the work. I enjoyed creating this and enjoyed sitting listening to the sound of the cracking wood.
Fire in the dark
After the research lab session in the first few weeks of second year, my image and ideas started to develop with the help of fellow students interpreting my ideas in their ways. This method was fascinating because it enabled me to think outside the box and think of different ways in which my image could be depicted rather than it following down my usual themes of mental health and the ‘self’. One student expressed how the image reminded her of explosions and war because of the wax. It took me a little time to understand where she was coming from but with a few sketches and moments to interpret it in my head, I started to understand where she was coming from. The work then triggered my mind to started thinking about Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Nights. The stars in the work look similar to portals and the Universe. I started to develop paintings of my interpretation of a portal in space. I decided to use pinks and purples in the work to link the original chosen image with my work.
I started working with this image by sketching ideas and explosive images in a sketchbook to get the ball rolling and to start the development into the idea of portals. The purpose of these sketches was not for others eyes. I use this method to organise and interpret the ideas I have and to form an idea of a pathway of where this project is going to go.
One of the tutorial group sessions with Davida talked about revealing images and whether they are seen as pornographic and whether the context of the image affects this. This session was interesting because it got me thinking about the context of art and how is affects the response from the audience. For this project I could have exhibited the work in a dark room through lighting which gave the effect that the audience walk into the portal painting. This would make the work more interactive and the audience is more likely to respond to the work.
I enjoyed created these pieces because it took me out of my comfort zone as I was using paint in them. I don’t use paint regularly as a medium in my work as I haven’t the confidence with it and haven’t had the chance to be tutored with it. I enjoyed experimenting with the painting, blending and mixing the colours to create a 3D shape to the work.
I looked into the way a few artists work where they randomly choose three words and enter them into google to find an image. When I started to think about what kind of image I wanted to use, I felt very stuck because I didn’t even know where to start with the type of image I was going to use. This method was quite fun and interesting because it meant I would be taking a random image to work with and develop my work. A lot of the images which came up were useless and didn’t stand out to me. The image below stood out to me because I liked the way the artist has used the ink and was to create the effect on the paper. I found choosing a random image meant the development of this piece was unknown and I didn’t really have a path for the work. This was out of my comfort zone because I usually have an idea of where my art could go however, with this, I had no idea. I decided to challenge myself with this to see how I responded to it.
I found the image really interesting because with the use of the colours and wax, it creates a longing almost lonely feel. The landscape in the work looks like a beach with the sea and horizon in the background or the view off of a cliff towards the ocean. The use of wax and ink is an interesting way to work because of the way to ink is repelled by the wax. Drawing with the wax and then washing over the work with ink of watercolour create this effect. I also chose this image because it was very different from the artists I usually look at and thought I would broaden my knowledge by looking at something different.
For the idea I had about dancing being “freeing” and a way to express yourself, I decided to begin charcoal drawings of figures. I use charcoal a lot because I enjoy working with it and am satisfied by the way the charcoal and the paper combine to create texture. I use both willow and black compressed charcoal to create the form and shading in my work. I use the compressed charcoal a lot because it helps to form a deep richness to the work.
I decided to explore the figurative drawing because they express a lot of movement and motion. Although the works I have been creating are very expressive I find the positions to be very aesthetically pleasing. It is almost “spiritual” – which sounds cheesy – but for me, dancing is a way to voice yourself and your feelings. I am not a dancer myself but have always been fascinated by the way they were able to show so much emotion through movement and their body. Expressive dance is usually choreographed but I have found when Fine artists create expressive performance pieces they aren’t necessarily planned and therefore more freeing as the person is at liberty to move how they wish.
I enjoy using charcoal as my medium and feel I can create the expressive work I can using it. I will be continuing with different positions to create a series of works.
I thought about a range of different ideas and techniques I could use for my project and thought about my most recent project where I looked into nature and how the five element affect us as beings. As someone who relies a lot on nature for inspiration, and mindfulness, I found this could be something interesting to explore.
I decided to walk through my local woods, videoing and listening to nature including the singing birds, the creaking of the trees and the sound of the crunching leaves beneath my feet. I find this to be a very relaxing environment and enjoying exploring the outdoors in order to clear my head and organise my thoughts. I fee I have used this technique frequently throughout the lats few weeks because I feel I have explored so many different ideas and themes throughout the year that I needed to structure them into an order in which I could understand and interpret. I felt rather chaotic and stressed as walking through nature has helped to calm me.
As I walked through the woods I decided to video and record what I could see and hear through my phone. Two of my projects this year involved nature and how it can be used to help with mental illness and stability.
I have dabbled with video and thought I would give it a go to show one of the skills I have used this year. Below I have attached a short video I have edited which includes two clips of different sceneries in the woods and I have enhanced the sound to show the importance of immersing yourself into your surroundings and focusing on nature and not man-made items to organise your thoughts and refocus your mind. The natural environment is used widely in therapy in many different areas.
Second year has been a great time to experiment with materials, ideas, different disciplines and ways of working. I have enjoyed the different projects because they have all been different and challenged in a range of ways. I didn’t necessarily fully enjoyed all of the modules this year but I still managed to learn a lot during them.
When thinking about my themes throughout the there were links between all of the projects because in some way, the idea of body image or the ‘self’ had a presence in the work. This theme has been very evident in a lot of my work over the last few years because I feel it is a big issue in todays society. It is interesting to look at different artists who have/are addressing the issue. I have decided to look into Jenny Savile, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud’s work as my main research chooses as well as exploring ‘less famous’ artists for my end of end work.
When thinking about the ‘self’, there are different approaches I could take for this. I could look into how nature and our environment can influence our being and emotion. I could also develop the figurative dancing from the beginning of the most recent project. I think these drawings express a real feeling of the ‘self’ because it shows a sense of freedom to express yourself. It is very freeing and enjoyable to dance and “let your hair down” and I found I am able to express this well through drawing.