Make your Mark

Began my summer recess with a course to find deeper meaning in my voice, to understand my process, so using the design cycle to generate new ideas and continue to push my boundaries within my practice.

My initial mind dump, next task to look at themes and pick three words or areas, one suggestion was given as History, Place and People and this intrigued me. Finding clarity is always difficult for me, I like a lot of different things, essentially it boils down to character, but it does have to be a certain type of character and this is where my research comes in.

Using these three words, I am now making a new map for each. I am also collecting images for these so that I can research from these. What I had not included was my love of nature, not beautiful tended gardens, rather rugged hillside grasses, moss that grows on rocks but I will slot this in on my place map as I see this as an image that changes, possibly easier to decide what I don’t like.

My initial images of character, this face of this old lady is so beautiful, the lines defines her life, it appears to show long hard life possibly, it is an image that I’ve admired for a long time, the lines of life, the textures of those wrinkles and lines the passage of time.

The face reminds me of the textures of lichen on the post, this grows slowly over time, it creeps over it’s still host, so leads me to think of rotting, how over time the body degrades and organisms thrive from this decay.

The roots of the tree, encasing the stones as it’s grown, life clinging on in every circumstance. As humans it’s our greatest drivers, to survive.

The picture above was shared on social media by an unknown artist and it intrigued me how the decay of the body had been portrayed in such a colourful manner when I would have considered this to be a dark matter so my interest is how colour changes our perception of an image. This is important in my work, I am trying to portray darkness, does the colour need to be dark?

Exploring colour through tone and tint, while exploring abstract art as a way of loosening up and letting go of perfection. Trying to convey a narrative in an abstract way. I have started by just exploring abstract painting techniques, following other artists who use this method.

The complexity of building up a painting in this way intrigues me, I feel uncomfortable with the process initially resisting my basic instincts to go back to controlled method of drawing and painting from life. Reassuring myself that I was only playing, it wasn’t a finished piece.

Using Onomatopoeia words initially to draw initial drawing such as bubble, splat, swish, I also took a line for a walk in a continuous line method with these words in mind.

I am really pleased with the outcome of my painting, it’s on acrylic paper 300g and I used fine liner pen, gesso, acrylic paint watered down and neat.

This process of loosening up inspired my thinking of where I am and what I want to do going forward, I feel that using this method along with printing techniques and textile exploration will push my practice forward.

I aim to carry on with this practice while I begin to evaluate and reflect on where I am up to before I return for my final year on MA in September

I began an online workshop in abstract art following the suggested steps for the initial first few layers. The layers had to dry completely with each new layer, this was a time of pause and reflect and where I began to think about the “why” (another online workshop) for a long time now I have wanted to explore my art through paint, but I didn’t really know how to start.

I have never been taught how to use paint, the rules? Are there rules? I learnt the hard way that there are a few basics, PVA will bubble when you apply wet paint, so working into the new layer to make marks meant that areas with PVA underneath came straight off so I used modge podge for the collage, it was suggested that I use Gell Medium but I could only find Matt medium, so learning as I was going along.

The workshops were easy to follow and I began to feel confident using paint, however it took me so much longer as I found my contemplating took far longer than the workshops were available and I wanted to produce my own work.

I painted the face, I spent a whole session exploring character within an abstract, I let it dry but I wasn’t happy.

I sat with it for several days before making the bold move to paint over it. I resolved that it was all a learning curve and not to be too precious about it.

What came from this was a focus area that I really did like, I draw and paint emotively building layers of meaning, memories of childhood experiences often haunt my dreams and this focus area felt part of that narrative.

Final stages
Checking the contrast in this Silverstone filter from my image.
My finished painting

This first of three paintings that I have started recently. This is a new direction, although painting was always part of my language it got lost in the textile direction that was my main focus.

This brings me to my quandary, my mixed media textile pieces have been cited as strong emotive pieces, and I will continue to make these, but as my rheumatoid arthritis ravages my fine motor skills for textile processes. I have to find a new way to express my narrative, it has been a traumatic experience in itself, to accept that artwork I could once make effortlessly, is now only possible when I am well, and at a much reduced level.

I am however, able to continue to paint and what My aim is now is for the same strong emotive relationship with the audience that my textile pieces have, like past trauma it’s a journey.