Why I chose The Raven Echo at the beginning of the year

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.


pain tree echo


Molly Williams

Molly Williams is a textile artist based in East Sussex who specialises in felt and ceramic figures. She creates the figures using wire, wool, homemade felt and clay. The ‘dancers’ are mounted on found pieces of wood which are sanded and polished. The dancers usually have very long limbs and slim bodies and are posed into distorted expressive positions. A lot of her work is very colourful as she is inspired by Ottoman cultural. Molly spent her childhood in Africa and Turkey and so has a strong connection with the cultures and has first hand experience with the designers, fashions and bright colours of both. The figures, although slim, have great structure and muscle to them through the use of wool to bulk out the work. Molly makes the felt herself using bright coloured wools to form the ‘skin’ for the model.

Her work is relevant to my own because she too looks into the expressive of dancers and how they have the ability to perform beautiful elegant poses. She attends a lot of life drawing classes and spends time sketching figures and the body. I am fascinated by the way she can produce these figures through felt and metal. I am likely enough to have first hand contact with her and am able to bounce ideas from her as she is very experience in the topic. She hangs the work in a way which emphasises the pose. Hanging the work on fishing wire creates a very light enjoy sense to the work whereas, hanging the work over metal poles creates a lot more expressive to the work. The material she uses to hang complements the work. This is important because it could or could not impede the art and change the meaning the artist is trying to create. This is very important to art and should always be considered during the hanging.

Charcoal Drawing

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.

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Jenny Saville

The contemporary artist, Jenny Saville, is one of my favourite artists because I am fascinated by her use of oil and acrylic paint to create very expressive emotional pieces. Most of her work is nude images of her own body which has been distorted and changing the proportions, shape and ‘beauty’ of it.

Some of her work depicts the lines and markings made on the body before a person has liposuction. This work comments on the cuttings and traumas the body goes through when people change their body through cosmetics and prosthetics. The idea that social media, celebrities and modern day fashion styles has a massive influence on own body image and has a huge impact on peoples cognitive and mental health when it comes to our body. It is able to manipulate us into how we perceive ourselves.


Walking through nature

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.


Projects throughout the year and the decision only final work

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.

Assessment Day

I thought about how I was going to have the fire overnight (before the assessment day) and decided I wanted to use the fire in the concrete boxes because it was more natural and fitted in with the theme more. The theme is all about the stability of the 5 elements which have an effect on us. It is a very spiritual topic but I feel with current stress of uni, dissertations and our lives, it is very important to keep these elements stable.

I asked a few of the students who came to see the work to dance around it as though it was a ritual. This added to the spiritual effect and created a happy relaxed atmosphere to the work which meant the elements remained stable and peaceful. The dancing also give a light sense to the work considering it could be perceived as quite a deep heavy concept.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project because it told me way out of my comfort zone and made me stay to think about some performance art. The project didn’t require us to do any but the way it took me and my thinking was down a performance route. I am going to continue this project through the holidays and take the fire element of the piece to a more nature source of water. I want to try out videoing it at sunset and in the dark by the sea so you have the rolling waves in the background along with the sound it them and the crackling of the wood burning. It could also work by a flowing stream. I think this could be an interesting piece and could be taken further.