Monthly Archives: June 2017

P5;Research point. Abstract Expressionism.

Research the style of painting called Tachisme or Action Painting. Look at the work who developed this spontaneous style of painting such as Hans Hartung, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock and others.

Hans Hartung

Tachisme is derived from the French word., tache: ‘spot’ or ‘Blotch’. It is associated with nuances such as ‘Art informal ‘(art without form) , ‘Art Autre’ (other art) and ‘lyrical abstraction’ and was popular in Europe in the late 1940’s-50’s. Tachisme was primary a French phenomenon with artists such as Fautrier, Mathieu and Wols leading the way. It has a style which is more suave, sensual and more concerned with beautiful handling than the work of the Abstract Expressionist, which can be aggressive and raw in comparison when reviewing the observable differences practiced within this particular painting movement. The word Tachisme was also used in the 19th century when referring to the Impressionists. (Chilvers P.615)


Action Painting is a type of painting where the act of painting is an event and may be more significant than the outcome of the act. The energetic gestural movements , the uncontrollable dripping, splashing and manipulating the paint towards a surface is carried out without preconceived ideas. It is misleading to attach this with Abstract Expressionism as it is considered part of this movement, but not all abstract expression is action painting. The action of the act is a moment where the artist is able to be free to express along with there creative instinct. Harold Rosenberg called it ‘not a picture but an event’. (Chilvers. P.7) It also has connotation links with American wildness or freedom,  in the above passage I mentioned the European equivalent (Tachisme) was much more suave than the madness of the American style. This wildness was an explanation of the artistic freedom being acted out as ‘action painting’. Pollock explains that when he works on such a large scale, that he becomes part of the painting, he doesn’t see where it starts and its ending, he is interacting with the paint and a surface, he is the applicator.  This is very similar to Monet’s practice, where he works very closer to the painting and is painting an impression of the light and the subject; the water lilies in paint on massive panels with large brush work. The difference is that Pollock works with gravity and conveys no subject and lays his surface on the floor where Monet is more traditional, conveying a subject such as light and works with his canvas in an upright position. They Both wanted to be part of the work. “I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. Painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess “. Pollock. Foster. P.350 Art since 1900.

As MoMA curator ,Ann Temkin explains about Monet’s water lilies, ‘All the normal markers, like the edge of the water or the sky or the distant trees, have disappeared, and you’re just right in the face of those water lilies and the surface of the water with the clouds reflected from above you become lost in this expanse of water and of light.

I wrote  ‘both artists wanted to be part of the work’ I am referring to a desire of escapism from reality. If we can recover our own surroundings with art, then reality becomes a form of art. This idea relates to the fable by Jorge Borges called ‘The exactitude of science’. Jean Baudrillard referred to this fable in his essay called Simulacra and Simulations (1988) . In this essay he describes a reality that is intrinsic with simulating a form of reality that it is no longer real. The fable explains that a map was drawn so detailed and proportionate that it covered the territory that the map was depicting, then generations later the map became weathered, some tattered ruins remain, still inhabited by animal’s and people. I am gesturing that many artists would be much happier if they could immense themselves in there creativities, their world and surround themselves with art. It would become their simulacrum, their reality.

Abstract Expressionism Born 1947;

Was a term coined later on in 1952, represented the fact of the groups very diverse talents under this term abstract expressionisms umbrella, homogenizing and unifying a cast of charters, whom are individual artist in there own style but all share a common longing to translate private feelings and emotions directly onto a surface without any figurative content. This need to express oneself with out the need to lean on nature for an opportunity to express themselves, anchoring there emotions on the figurative side. This letting go of a narrative and traditional forms of art, could have been categorized as decorative patterns.

‘…a horizontal antiform as an abstractness un-colonized by the vertical one’. Art since 1900. Hal Foster.p.359.

The idea that Pollock was an action painter created another dimension to artistry , not just the finished work but the process of creating was kept behind studio doors , not available to the public.

‘…consumers who appreciated artistic innovation as evidence of the natural creativity of the human spirits’. Art and Propaganda by Toby Clark. P.8.

During this period of time we see artists creating in a way that was opposing technology and the popularity of cameras. The need to paint reproducing natural forms was superseded by the reproduction of nature within a photograph. The Camera was automatic and so was a movement called automatism; a term is borrowed from physiology, where it describes bodily movements that are not consciously controlled like breathing. From <>

Artist such as Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Andre Masson were surrealist artist but practiced with methods of trance painting where they tried to stop there consciousness state intervene. This style of spontaneity as a concept is associated with the ideas of free will and was the ethos of Americanisation. The opportunity to be fortunate enough to make something that represents themselves , that issues entirely from their hands and minds , and which they can affix their names to is considered the role of an Expressionist artist. This again resonates alongside Impressionism, as suggested in the above text. An artist that expresses and an artist that creates a work that is a depiction of there perception, there impression. Unfortunately the Automatism became regarded as Autographic. Pollock’s work is very spontaneous but also recognizable as a Pollock. His work became known , hence his trademark or and artistic logo. It looked less spontaneous and less automatic and more conscionable. Abstract Expressionism became a paradox of itself. Robert Rauschenberg who attended Black Mountain college where many of the group had attended explained...’I was never interested in their pessimism or editorializing. You have to have time to feel sorry for yourself if you’re going to be a good Abstract Expressionist and I think I always considered that a waste’. Art since 1900. p.354.


Image 1- Han Hartung from the Tate web site on 26.6.2017>

Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. Fourth edition. 2009 OXFORD university Press. Oxford.

Art Since 1900 by Hal Foster. Thames and Hudson publishers. 2004 London.

Art and Propaganda by Toby Clark . Orion Publishing. London. 1997.


P.5. Different ways to apply paint.2

Exercise; Dripping, Dribbling and spattering.

Look at the work by Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) whose paintings are explosive in effect. How have they been applied? And how could you create the same effect. Prepare a large sheet of paper and newspaper, mix up severally colours into diluted solutions. Lay this on the ground and work from above. Apply the paint in several ways such as dripping, throwing, spinning and any think about how some colours recede and others dominate.

Do you feel at any time finished? I think you get to a point where you wonder what is the point. At one time a just raised the paint off the card because it became dull, messy. The water cleaned away the paint and left behind a dry residues which were far more interesting. I stopped when is became interesting to look at.

How could you exploit any of these effects in future work? I think these are very good exercises to help loosen up and to stop your self looking for the obvious for example a tree, leaves, branches and generally all things that we know are there but our automatic thought process hinders what we really are seeing at the time. It helps to look at what is happening to the paint, how the oil and water react with one another and how the glue acts as a partition and colours gather creating a marble effect. Pollock said ” I don’t paint Nature, I am Nature…I work from the inside out, like Nature.” COLLINGS 1999. P.44 I think therefore that this exercise was productive in reminding me ,or any painter, that we are nature creating nature, not a machine that reproduces nature like the camera. Our creating is our rendition of our nature. So- don’t just copy what you see, be creative and express what you see or how you feel or both.

I worked on certain colours of grounds cover painted on A2 paper,  yellow ochre, cadmium orange light hue, burnt Siena , primary blue and black. I took these into the garden and laid them down from light to dark with stones to keep them in place. I flicked the White paint in a circular motion and the green paint was spattered over all the sheets from a higher level. The smaller dot patterns were from Indian inks and sprayed from a syringe  and then diluted with water. The black card was folded together to imprint the paint and mix the colours directly. I wanted to see what effect the black ground would have on certain colours as yellow can look green when painted on a black ground. I blended some of the colours on the page by Tonking. I wasn’t expecting to paint something, I was just playing with the paint, thinking about how to move my wrist and how hard to throw the paint tube. I was cautious not to use to much paint as I still wanted the ground colours to show. It was fun and playful and I was interested with the outcome as I didn’t expect anything so the paintings were a pleasant surprise.

I feel that you needed to be rather aggressive and chaotic  with the paint throwing to get the same effect as Jackson Pollock. He was nick named ‘ Jack the Dripper’. His drip and splash type of painting was named Action painting around 1947 . He used enamel paints , metallic paints and commercial paints as their texture suited the technique of action painting. He added materials to his paintings like sand and Broken glass and used non conventional tools such as knifes, garden trolls and sticks to manipulate his work that was fully abstract, no composition. Sometimes the canvas was later cut or trimmed to size influenced by the painting , he didn’t paint confined to the shape of the canvas. His most famous supporter was the critic Clement Greenberg (1909-94) who wrote referencing Pollock in his essay ‘The Decline of Cubism’ March 1948. Wood .2016.p.577.

‘Art has risen in the last five years, with the emergence of new talents so full of energy and content as Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, David Smith…-then the conclusion forces itself, much to our own surprise, that the main premises of Western art have at last migrated to the United States, along with the centre of gravity of industrial production and political power.’ Wood.P.579.

Sand on Gold card with rubbed back Acrylic and Indian Ink.

Enamel Paint mixed with punched hole paper on canvas


Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. Fourth edition. 2009 OXFORD university Press. Oxford.

Art in Theory 1900-2000 An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. Blackwell Publishing 2016.

The Encyclopedia of Oil Painting Techniques by Jeremy Galton. Search Press.  Tunbridge Wells Kent UK 2006

This is Modern Art by Mattew COLLINGS. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London  2000

P.5. Different ways to apply paint-1.

Exercise; Impasto. PVA and other gels can be added to Acrylic paint to add volume to achieve an Impasto effect.

Work on prepared grounds to produce experimental paintings and try as many different ways to apply paint, such as-

  • Using a brush, variations of brushes such as a feather. Wet and dry brush work.
  • Using a painting knife and the different effects different blades can have. The effect of pressure on the blade and how this effects the flattened and blending of colours. Good for areas but can be overwhelming if used as an entirety.
  • Scratching. Sgraffito. Scoring is a technique to depict hair, wrinkles, a lace collar. Scratching on board is better than canvas.
  • Tonking which is where to much paint is on the surface so to remove some can create an interesting effect if you use newspaper. Good for portraits as the details for the facial areas can become loaded with paint.
  • Scraping back , selecting areas to thin out on can create an area in the distance so ideal for perspective enhancement.
  • Add layers by paining brush strokes in different directions and then using a glazing technique/ diluted paint is then caught on the rougher paint surface which is ideal for sky or water.
  • Dabbing with a sponge, rag, paper towels and cotton wool buds.
  • Texturing with added materials such as sand, cement mix, pencil sharpening waste, sawdust and fillers or shaving foam.
  • Imprinting. Good for oil paints as the drying time is longer so greater variety of materials or objects to be pressed into the paint. Things such as spoons, forks, saw blades, comb, toothbrush or leaves. I used this technique with the exercise of painting a ‘portrait that conveys mood and atmosphere’. The painting needed texture so I ragged over it to give texture to the over all image, by doing so the colours merged and every brushstroke was less detailed, precise and softer like the candle light used to express mood. Good technique for depicting concrete walls and also use ‘Scratching’  the paint to depict the blocks.

How could these techniques enhance some of your previous work?

The exercise ‘ scaling up’ was taken from a photo where I laid down on the grass to take a picture of the Manor House, the foreground is all grass. Knife painting used in the foreground to depict the grass would have worked well here as this technique leads itself well to grasses and foliage where movement is associated with it.

Scraping or scratching/ sgraffito would have been a technique I could have used in one of my early still life exercises. Most of these earlier paintings are very flat as I wanted to concentrate on depicting form with tonal colours so texture was something I didn’t consider but I did scrape back to allow underpainting to show though.

The exercise ‘ painting from a photo’ could have been enhanced with some of the above techniques to deal with the rock face. I think that the idea of Imprinting or Tonking would have worked well here, but the paint is now dry so I can’t use those techniques but something for consideration.



Tonking, Imprinting and Glazing.


Scraping away to show the ground colour, reminisent of Hockneys water pattern.


Feather painting, masking tape, cork bottle and black pepper used to apply paint



P.5.Research point; Expressionist.

Look at a range of painting, with particular the Expressionist and how they applied paint. Look at some 20th century pastel paintings and make notes about the effects you find.

‘Expressionism is a term used in the history and criticism of the Arts to explain the use of distortion and exaggeration for emotional effect’. Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. 2009.p.210.

Subjective versa objective is noticeable within this context, the subjective feeling is expressed by the Artist depending upon the response to the composition which is the objective observation. Think about Monet’s love for his garden and light. Van Gogh with his frustrating dilemmas fighting within him.  Joan Eardley and her self exploration , depression and isolation, She was a feeling artist and a thinking artist. Edvard Munch was expressing his inner demons, ill health and feeling regretful and responsible for the death of his mother and sister all manifest within his work of woeful melancholy. They express them selfs though the action of painting, the colour they use , the brush work, the size of the work and the subjects they paint.

The range of effects-

Van Gogh effects are his suggesting movement with the many brushstroke style and the colours he uses such as complementary colours layered or within the same composition. Hi technique is Impasto and worked mostly outside. He did not work from photographs so the ever changing landscape or light would have had implications to the outcome of his work.

Monet love and romance towards people and natural things such as his gardens and the effect of the light upon nature are depicted in his gentlemanly style. He plays with the paint on large scale canvases and he bounces colours off one another. His Brushwork is very fluid and he worked up close to the paintings so would have lost himself in these massive panels. I think he was trying to lose himself in his work (he did have many children), like all of the above artist did, they were lucky enough to become absorbed with there creative practices.

Joan Eardley paintings of shabby houses in Glasgow and the poverty of the tenanted children to fishing village of Catterline in Aberdeen can look like a hard landscape versus soft but they don’t express these qualities.

She painted on location, often during wild storms, using oil and boat paint mixed with newspaper, sand and grasses on hardboard. She captures a response to what she sees and the viewer gains a sense of the place. Her paintings are wild, rich in character, just like the subjects she paints.

Edvard Munch pastels are beautifully smooth, delicate and I think he works many layers to achieve a dark moody depth of tone. He is emotionally  part of the work, it’s like his hands were sculpturing the composition with the pastels, charcoal or paint. All the mentioned artists have intrinsically attached themselves to there work and you really see this as an expression of themselves and what they have seen and how that situation has driven them to create very powerful emotionally charged paintings and drawings.  They are not erratic , hectic mess, which is what you would expect from them with all these swollen emotions stirring up inside them. What you see is dedication and a source of exasperating the built up emotions though the medium of paint. It’s a controlled deflation process.

In recent philosophy of mind, the term “phenomenology” is often restricted to the characterization of sensory qualities of seeing, hearing, etc.: what it is like to have sensations of various kinds. However, our experience is normally much richer in content than mere sensation. Accordingly, in the phenomenological tradition, phenomenology is given a much wider range, addressing the meaning things have in our experience, notably, the significance of objects, events, tools, the flow of time, the self, and others, as these things arise and are experienced in our “life-world”. From the article –


Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. Oxford publishing press 4th edition 2009

Review my work so far. p1-p4

Review what you have achieved so far and reflect on which projects you enjoyed the most and which ones were challenging and why. What areas do you feel require more practice?

I have laid out some of my work but as with Drawing 1 , its a lot of work that takes up much space that I don’t have. This course has been taking much longer than expected and it is hard to remember how I felt about the exercises at the beginning.

So far I feel I have a good understanding as to where I am going , what I need to focus on and have strong ideas about the development theme for part 5 of the course. I feel that like most painters you never feel like you have accomplished much even if you painted every day. That is the concept of painting, which is that you are never completely happy with the outcome because its a creative subject which keeps encouraging more creativity, you therefore feel the work has never come to its creative full stop. What I have achieved is a recognition of my style of working (emotionally lead, thoughtful but playful) and I’m starting to see a certain style in my PRACTICE OF work. My work is a style which is rumpty, wonky, colourful, bold and jolly, these characteristics just seems to appear when looking at all my work together.

The projects I enjoyed so far are the people and landscapes studies. I didn’t enjoy ‘drawing 1’ landscape part of the course but really got to grips with it using paint and pastels. I like drawing people and enjoyed using the paint to create different colour tones and atmospheric forms. The most challenging thing is to find something that interests me while carrying out the exercises, sometimes I just find them to restricting but feel like I will carry on regardless so that all the objectives are meet, sometimes affecting the outcome of the assignments. This time I will whiz through the exercises and focus more on the assignment work and the studies.

All painting requires more practice so this is an odd question to ask a student. I know my strengths and weakness and now I need to decide if I work harder on developing my weaknesses such as the technical aspects or carry on developing my strengths? I think this is where I find the course work tedious because its about techniques; perspective, shape and forms and the laws of colour theory. I prefer to work with the paint ; gestural, large and bold. This is the area I will practice more and remember to think about the technical side of things when critically reviewing my own work. work so far pop

Some of my work so far for painting 1, practice of painting 2016-2017.


Exhibition review; Wolfgang Tillmans 2017

@Tate Modern feb-11 June 2017.

Over all this exhibition was hard to understand, so it should as its grappling with a view of the complicated world we live in today. You needed a lot of time to visit all the tables and read the magazine articles, Facebook feeds, pages from books and the academic notes per room. My favourite room was the music installation. Along a soft grey fabric covered corridor was a light room dedicated to listening to music and looking at all the systems that project that music such as speakers an equalizers.  Its called the ‘playback room’ and was designed for listening to recorded music. He defines the difference or shows the industries or the markets pretentious standards given to recorded music and how we offer space to live music but none to appreciate recorded music. He has given prominence within the museum setting to studio computer created music. I thought it was like sitting in a friends bedroom, when I was in my twenties. This space brought back memories of lounging around friends houses while they practice mixing records before going out to DJ at a club that night. All there equipment was top of the range so I didn’t appreciate the quality of the sound then or now.

He shows his experience of working with different mediums and the size of the photos jump around the wall as some are very large and others are taped on the wall eye level or bulldog clipped and located above a door. I would have suggested it being erratic but I understand this is part of the concept towards understanding the exhibition as a whole and not as individual images. This show is a personal response to the present moment and his role as an artist is to engage the viewer with themes of community, sociability, empathy and vulnerability. He explains this with examining the cultures of new technologies, the development of digital cameras and the effects of an online community.

Things that I learnt……

  • Tillmans relationship with his studio is different to a painters studio, or is it. I began to question what the studio space is and how that space could be used differently in the practice of painting. In the images we see a table , computer, printer and things stuck to the walls. He uses his studio as a place to plan exhibitions in architectural models, collects materials and generates ideas. This has become a subject and an  image for this exhibition which layers upon the connections of the exhibition being about individual images but also about the connections made between all the images as a whole. I learnt to re-evaluate my studio space and stop thinking about it as a work space and re brand it as a experimental laboratory.
  • ‘clc 800, dismantles 2011’ was interesting as its reminiscent of the subjects covered at the ‘entangled’ exhibition ( Margate contemporary spring exhibition) where we see an image of his 3 dimensional stages scenarios rather than the actually display. He says his work is ‘translating the three dimensional world into two dimensional pictures’ (Catalogue notes 2017) I like this concept of the artist only sharing with us the image of the sculpture and not the real sculpture, its relates to the essay by Jean Baudrillard ‘Simulation of the simulacrum’. The idea that nothing is real any more, its just a simulation.
  • His deliberate juxtapositions of his work in the ‘truth study 2005’ are suggesting an influence from the presentation of media where a distressing story about chemical warfare killing children can be positioned next to an advertisement for baby products from ‘mother care’ for example. This discourse leads to the gaps of knowledge and causes room for doubt which is where we are now with the issue of fake news and censoring by political parties. This study focuses on how the constructions of truth affect our psychological and physiological levels.
  • He works abstractly as well as documentarian and the idea where he works without a camera but creates within the dark room was something that I could do with my painting practice. Stop working with the paint, just see what the reaction is to the paint in different atmospheres , for example working with different mediums, materials, surfaces, using a hair dryer to interact with the paint and using the substance eccentrically.
  • By taping the photos to the walls you question why he didn’t frame everything and why some are large prints are left dangling in a fragile fashion. He is drawing our attention to the edges encouraging the viewer to interact with the photograph as an object rather than an image. You are always feeling like you are being taken away from the real exhibition and are only seeing the thought process of an exhibition that could have been. Its all disconcerting and disconnected from the normality of a gallery show, Like our society , we are within one but are isolated from one simultaneously. Is the whole exhibition actually an installation referring to Schrödinger cat?

Exhibition; Hockney @ Tate Britain.

On at Tate Britain from Feb- 29th May 2017.

I have looked to Hockney from the age of 15 so that’s 30 years. I have never seen this much of his work in one area, what really impressed me was the structure of the exhibition, you felt like you were walking through time while holding hands with Hockney. In the catalogue they explain that its a survey of almost 60 years of his art, Classic Hockney alongside his variety of use of media later on. My senses were Intune with the environment being depicted, its very relevant to this exhibition as the heat radiating from the canvases from his time in Los Angles and California to his more shaded quiet times in Yorkshire. When I was at art school , his photos were what I gravitated towards, because he is expressing the changing perception though the distinction between paint and photography, its all about understanding space, the perception of space and the experience of looking. These retrospective exhibitions , like with the Rauschenberg (Dec-April Tate modern 2017) are very influential as you are saturated with seeing their work, normally I see one or two works within a series of work that are connected tediously in pedantic curator style. This showing of all this work is so intense you almost need an interval half way round as it starts to lose its defining language. A problem with modern times is that we are saturated with visual language, we have stopped listening and conversing as such we have become passive spectators and lost our credibility in the act of conversing in the language of art. So when I see this much of Hockney together I thought I needed to tell myself  to keep observing each painting but it was to intense and very busy, so I just made notes about certain works that really affected me. The gallery and exhibition was very easy to get lost in mentally. I found I had to keep walking  as could have just sat down and watched the interaction between watchers and canvas. The last two rooms; videos of the changing seasons and the IPad paintings being played back, were the most popular. These rooms darker and you are standing shoulder to shoulder and being careful not to trip over as children sitting on the floor. The feeling of this area was intimate, people were responding by feeding their fetish of passive spectator, watching things unravel, paintings being created, landscapes hovering. They were all watching as in expectation that something was going to happen next, something other than what they were expecting. Passive willingness for replacement of our time.


Notes from Exhibition.

The painting of ‘Peter getting out of Nicks pool’ 1966 was rewarding to see this close up as the pattern used for the water is yellow and pink beside each other, these colours are not picked up on in photos. The painting was thinker than I had expected so I could see the layers of paint. In this room was ‘ the lawn being sprinkled’ 1967. Again I noticed areas of paint that were dealt with differently such as the a spray of paint was controlled and then dabbed for bigger drops , its also a good example of aerial perspective. I was much more observant of the patterns used in his work such as ‘Henry Geldzahler’ 1969 where the glass top table and spectacles are surrounded by diagonal lines. His colours are fantastic and have noted down an interesting pallet such as

  • Brown sienna
  • Cadmium orange
  • Cobalt blue
  • Azure blue
  • He often works on a white background so his colours are bright.
  • Scrapes paint with a comb, its a pattern used in his compositions.
  • Green skys with blue violet.
  • Desires to work and master a variety of media
  • Variety of line and luminosity of colour.
  • ‘ I do not think the world looks like photographs. I think it looks a lot more glorious than that.’ exhibition catalogue; 10 the Wolds.