Monthly Archives: July 2017

Assignment 5; Final painting.

I knew I would find this a difficult painting because the expectations were highly anticipated and I wanted to achieve so much. I wanted to adopt some of the experiments found in my workbook and due to the assignment being large (A1) it took time and space, But it could have been twice the size. I think I may redo it but on two A1 boards.

At the moment I am feeling very deflated by the results I received from my last assessment  (understanding visual culture) so the challenge is to keep the pressure on and get this work sent before I take it all into the garden and burn it! Emotions are running high.

The reason I had high expectations was because the other paintings before were indicating a direction towards expressive abstraction with the help of some technical processors such as flattering the composition by focusing on shapes and not perspectives and working with the medium of paint and not using the paint to resemble a subject or composition. I feel that I could keep adding to this final painting and it would just absorb it without adding value. So I have decided to send it to my Tutor and give myself some space away from it. Again my work has become a fetish, where I seek a materialistic desire for the object which is the changeable and newness that this painting projects to me.

Why Landscape? The context is due to previous work painting in part 4 of this course. The artist that have influenced me are all Landscape artists such as Anselm Kiefer with ‘Song of Wayland’, David Hockney and Thomas Gainsborough with Mr and Mrs Andrews. Although I have no narrative relating to characters, I do have the drama of colour.

Torgesen Murdock’s work found in ‘100 ways to paint seascapes, rivers and lakes’.p. 28 was intriguing to me because;

  • use of colour to create light and drama.
  • Painting of trees in a highly contrast colour range, Colour palette was Cadmium yellow, Yellow Ochre , Burnt Sienna, Phthalo Blue, Cerulean Blue, Viridian, Alizarin Crimson and Mars Black.
  • ‘Shape hunting’ is used to describe the artist design strategy where s/he looks for interesting shapes and how they will place them for full impact.
  • suggests using a ‘mother colour’ to help aid colour harmony through out the overall painting. In this particular painting (Moonlight) the artist used Burnt sienna and Yellow Ochre.

I have been told not to use black by tutors and I have not, but my colour tones do get very dark. I have worked up the texture for this painting using the following;

Collage, pva, shaving foam, sand,  pepper, Grass and thickened acrylic paint.

First I laid out the national geographic clippings onto the A1 board and then stuck them on with thick PVA so this would give the sheets a bumpy effect. I then cleaned the clippings with an American cleaning fluid which takes the ink and blends it or washes it completely away depending on pressure and how much fluid I use. I then carried out the paint pot drop technique which is noticeable in my previous paintings. The marbling of the colours were only used in areas of shapes such as the trees and shadows (SHAPE HUNTINGS). I then painted with Oils the areas that were still white. Added more texture, took some away and paint dropped more and then combed in some marks then washed some away. I wanted to create contrast and drama with the use of colour and the use of ‘chance’ created by the drips from the paint pot drops technique. Texture was very important which is why I think I could add more texture but not sure it would add any value. I enjoy the contrast between flat areas and areas of texture. I also enjoy the bold contrasting colours of Naples yellow and white adjacent to the  Viridian tree trunk. I have given this Painting 2 coats of varnish , some is household varnish so has a tarnished tone to it.

Why? The reason I like highly contrasting colours is that it shows light and light is intensity , it helps to explain forms, the time of day and I much prefer light than darkness. Dull paintings or muted tones are still intriguing and dictate mood but I associate these with traditional work and not contemporary works. I wanted my work to become more shiny after reflecting on past work . This shiny effect of the Enamel paints and the varnishing, directs the viewer to see the painting as more manufactured and less hand-painted. Society is attracted to newness and sparkly, glamorous things as its part of our conditioned capitalist ideology. To put this theory into context I would accommodate the affection towards shiny surfaces like the attraction given to newly released films; I and most popular cultures would prefer to watch Wonder-woman 2017 than my childhood favourite of 1975; TV series Wonder-women starring Lynde Carter .So to conclude, Light and Contrast = Intensity, Drama and a clear definition between light and dark zones. It is not about being associated with grey areas, confusion or dull. I feel its associated with clinging onto youthfulness but is earnest and serious.

Some questions I need to think about for my next post; evaluating my series of paintings, referring to the following Assessment criteria;

  • Development of visual and technical skills, design and composition.
  • Competent realisation of ideas , presented well and showing judgement.
  • Development of Analytical and creativity thinking. Showing independent judgements and presenting some indication of develop a personal voice.
  • Awareness of a breadth of contexts and debates supporting your growing personal and professional knowledge and understanding.

Final Painting


work area with images and pine cones from the park


work in progress


100 ways to paint seascapes, Rivers and Lakes . Volume 1 International artist publishing Nevada. USA. 2004.

Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford 2005.

The Art Book by Phaidon Press Limited . London 1994.

Imbd link accessed on the 8th of August 2017;

IMDb: Wonder Woman (1 June 2017 (UK))

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny. (2017 FILM) (1975-79 TV series)




Art residential project 

I have been fortunate to be part of an art project during the Ramsgate carnival. I attend an art club every Thursday called ‘carnival club’ which is paid for by Thanet council to help the community work towards a goal such as the local carnival which was yesterday, 23.7.2017. The leader of this club has been involved with carnivals around the world and has many connections with artists. She has arranged groups of artist to come and get involved with the ramsgate festival which runs from 22-30 July. One group are from Russia  ‘Cardboardia‘, they make interactive pieces from cardboard. I was connected with this group via the Facebook page for ramsgate festival and had to fill in a form to apply to be part of the Cardboardia team. Some of the volunteers are from all over England and are already artists working as museum curators and designers of props. They are all sharing a house together for the week and work everyday on making items for the festival, running workshops and participating in events. I was lucky to be invited to work on a project of making 30 fish from cardboard and then painting them and protecting them with varnish. At first I though this was a good way of introducing my painting practice with another project. My plan was soon challenged as the time limit to produce the 30 fish was only a day. I had to work all day and into the night and come back the next morning to varnish them. The working time directive is non existent within the artist in residence role. I had to adapt to the situation so cut out a very simple shape and then decided to use gouache as it was going to be quick to use and dry as I needed to paint both sides of the fish so that’s 60 fish in a few hours. I was not going to be able to paint them with enamel paint and marbleise them as I ORIGINALLY had planed. In the end, due to the lack  of  light in the hothouse / warehouse which has been temporary hired for this event, I opted for some simple fish bones and scales in black which I found on Pintress. When I came in the next day to varnish, one of the Russian artists were painting over the eyelashes because she thought they looked odd. I was disappointed as she apologised because she was interfering with ‘my art’. I explained that this is hardly ‘my art’ as it has no resemblance to my work as a practicing Artist and that the decorated fish are just that, decorated fish. When I went to varnish them with industrial varnish that the group had, it smeared the paint work and they fish become blurred versions of there former selfs. I left feeling like a compleat waste of space. My work, time and effort were not appreciated and I was unhappy that I may be valued as an artist by these blurred painted decorated fish. I went away questioning a lot about my practice, My age and my lack of experience within these situations of working with other artists. Normally I work on my own work along side others, But this is the first time I was working as a team and I felt very unworthy, a Junior, inexperienced and just not in the same area of expertise.  Will this hinder me or make me what to experience and challenge myself more?
On reflection, nothing went to plan on the day of the carnival as the wind bashed us all about and it started to rain so not many people came to participate, lots came to watch as we got blown about and bumped into one another while in the procession. The idea of the carnival is to deliver to the audience a visual statement that will sell them an idea. Ours was to show off our beautiful things we had created at the workshops run by the local arts centre in the hope that others sign up for these workshops. For Cardboardia, the procession was about enticing more people along to events which are being run during the festival. They have sound boxes which were created for carnivals and street promotions. These are hang around your neck and you turn a handle to start the music which is very connected with their work, it sounds traditional. like the cardboard they use which is a traditional material, not a modern material. The music sounds European so is associated with a more liberated audience. This is a niche area around Thanet as around 70% of the 69% of the voters, voted leave in the 2016 referendum. We certainly looked like we were having fun, much more fun than the girls marching for 2 hours. But I don’t think we connect with our audience or the majority of the audience. I don’t think art projects should be associated with these types of carnivals. Theses Carnivals are where each town enters a beauty pageant group and parades them on a float which is covered in netting to stop the pageants being hit by coins which the public would throw at them to show support. The groups are the finalist of girls that have sent pictures to people in a political status (mayors) that have no qualification with determining who is more beautiful than someone else. The Pageant ball is an expensive annual event which the council pays for via tax payers money. I question these pageants events and motives and wonder if we promoted a group of boys to be paraded around like this , if society would deem it appropriate. Do girls need to feel beautiful and Boys Handsome? Do we need to celebrate these qualities in traditional methods such as Beauty shows, Pageants and Carnivals ?

I think this proves my point about how we (in the arts) are not connected to our local community as they exhibit traditional values by supporting these misogynistic events. But how do we connect and encourage the local community to be part of an art group? I feel that the public are negative towards community groups that have no relevance to their lives. For example I can attend a popular school event such as a school camp out on the school field and a school picnic or a School summer fate. These are all popular events because they all share a purpose of engagement with their children with the people that teach them most the time. The Institution of the school has a profound effect upon the family unit. I don’t think the Art community wants to become an Institution, that’s an industry resembling  the Large galleries. But I want the art club community not to be such a niche area in Ramsgate. I want it to be accessible, enjoyable and sustainable. I hope we are able to arrange a feed forward meeting after the festival to discuss options for next years festival. I know we will be questioning our participation with the carnival.


Work station


Warehouse above the furniture storage.

Assignment 5 update

To be honest, I have got Lost in my work. I have been working with how different colours and types of enamel paint (work together or not work together) flow together, how fast they move along different surfaces and the quantity of paint needed to get a formation of paint that is dripable. The process has been very technical and absorbing, I have had to work in depth with a new medium in a dense space of time. Luckily the paint can dry much faster than Oil paint. This has caused variations in perception as the paint tends to crack if not enough oil mixed or to much oil . This cracked surface is interesting in itself so trying to recreate this again has been difficult. The variables and uncontrollably associated with using Enamel paint enforce a culture of accepting the inevitable, tolerating the accidents or as Pollock (1912-1956) said in his interview with William Wright in 1950.” …with experience-it seems to be possible to control the flow of the paint, to a great extent, and I don’t use – I don’t use the accident- cause I deny the accident.” Harrison and Wood. pg 585.

“Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement”POLLOCK p.586

The statement that I am making with this new found technique is of ‘letting go’ and ‘being free’ to work with the paint. In my earlier work I can see my battles with ;being restricted to paint a representation of nature, my environment as a subject and  following the classical tradition of obligation to the standards of painting. My statement is not about expressing my feelings in the form of Enamel Paint. I used my experience of the familiar surroundings of the Park to decided on what colours to pour onto the canvas as a way of transcribing the composition of the park. My technique is deconstructing previous paintings ( the more traditional compositions) of the park to simplified shapes of trees, lumps of park land and distant perspectives. I then decided what colours to add together and how much paint to use of each colour before poring it onto the canvas. Then I would wait to see the paints marble around each other and decide to move the canvas so to affect the marbling of the paint to allow more patterns to appear or start moving it directly with a cotton wool bud stick and dragging the paint to where I wanted it to go.

Before I worked on a canvas I did tester panel’s, These have been a fantastic resource and I return to them frequently when mixing the enamel paints. These panels also have other things stuck to the surface to analysis the reaction the paint has with textured grounds.

I had spent a few weeks mixing paint and experimenting with different grounds such as shaving foam, Grass, pva and sand, but felt I needed to focus on the completion of the immediate assignment. I stopped working with paint and started reading and taking notes which was a reinforcement of the experience of my practice. From my readings of Clement Greenberg(1909-1994), and Harold Rosenberg(1906-1978) I have realised the following;

  • The American action painters correlated with American politics at the time. The power granted to American after the 2 world wars was knowledgable world wide. The connotation value the Americans exchanged was ‘larger than life’, bold and liberalising. Similar values to the Abstract movement where artists were liberated  and free from traditional aesthetic values.
  • This Post war condition became a culture. Avant-gardism was about ideas, a subject matter, not content and not just creating vessels of communication.  Greenberg writes that Courbet is called the first avant-gardian  and Manet is responsible for the spectators attention given to the problems of the medium ; paint.
  • The concept of the arts intertwined with one another; for example the Impressionist suggested their images were like listening to Romantic music. Greenberg asks…, “Since art was the only validity left, what better subject was there for each art than the procedures and effects of some other art?”  The individual and the social. p. 563-568.
  • Music is a sensory experience, it conveys mood, it can be abstract of meaning and pure in form. “But the other arts can be also sensuous if only they will look to music, not to ape its effects but to borrow its principles as a ‘pure art’, as an art which is abstract because it is almost nothing else except sensuous.” Green berg p.565. The word ‘Ape’ is relating to others words , such as mimic, copy, impersonating.
  • The status of ‘pure art’ is a confusion as to prove purity we direct ourselves towards something primitive, childish and something less detailed. This is a process of differentiating and a way of becoming objective or taking sides. Greenberg wrote…”To prove that their concept of purity is something more than a bias in taste, painters point to Oriental, Primitive and children’s art as instances of the universality and naturalness and objectivity of their ideal of purity…” p.566 Picasso has a well known quote -‘ every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’
  • The impact of Abstract art is the explanation for its superiority, The historic point where art moved away from traditional naturalisation to form abstract, its conjunction is justified.
  • Pollock says in his interview p.583 that…”My opinion is that new needs need new techniques, and the modern artist have found new ways and new means of making their statements.” he later adds that modern day artist are living in an age of mechanical reproductions where nature can be captured by cameras, so the new work is about expressing an inner world, energy and the motion of other forces. The classic artist represented the world around them. The Modern artist is representing the effects of the world around them. The visual language it the same, the medium and technique has changed, But they were both expressing themselves.
  • Pollock works directly, no preliminary drawings, drawing is a direct practice.
  • A point made by Greenberg ;about abstract work within a square frame has a tendency to be seen more abstract as its not a realistic shape, interested me as much of my assignments were painted on square formats. On reflection I wonder if I knew subconsciously that I was working towards abstraction?


  • A final Quote from a book I have been reading about the capitalist markets and the  devastating effect they have on climate change. “In the experience ( the call centre business) of a system that is unresponsive, impersonal, centreless, abstract and fragmentary, you are as close as you can be to confronting the artificial stupidity of capital in itself.” Mark Fisher .p.64. The reason I mentioned this quote is that Greenberg asks in his essay that we have to assimilate abstract art and fight our way through it as to return to representation would be a disaster for painters. The message is that there is no way back (from a capitalist society and from abstract expressionism), we have to move forward into the unknown. This is my statement, Letting go of capitalist reform (work/job for jobs sake) and naturalisation representation in paint (art for arts sake). I have found this painting technique so valuable and I find myself wanting to surround myself with more of these paintings. They have petrified into valuable possessions, they make up for the loss of wealth which comes with being a full time student. 

Tester Panel



Capitalist Realism, Is there no alternative? by Mark Fisher. O BOOKS publishing 2009 Hants UK

Art in Theory 1900-2000. An anthology of changing ideas. Edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. Blackwell Publishing 2003. Oxford UK.



Assignment 5 work in progress

So far I have been looking to the following Artists;

  • Frank Stella. His works show geometric markings, collage and are assembled to the stage of sculptural abstractions. The abstraction is expressed emerging from the surface. Uses  enamel paint and metal surfaces. All of these concepts are ones I would like to practice  more.
  • David Hockney. I have been influenced by Hockney for ever and have looked at his Yorkshire landscapes and how he dividends up his compositions onto panels so the outcome is that it feels life size, you feel part of the surrounding images and the viewer is seeing the landscape through Hockneys eyes.
  • ODILION Reddon. Attracted to the way the paint has been used to depict feeling, emotions and they all look timeless.
  • Anselm Kiefer.   Interested in the way other mediums are used and how this creates an overall style. Post more about this artist here; Research- Anselm Kiefer (1945-)
  • Sam Francis . Empowered by the fluidity of his work, it is very feminine as the work looks like a floral pattern found on a silky blouse. He uses paint that is very diluted so is able to drip and flow. He layers his paints so the colours are more vivid and less murky.

So Far I have been drawing on location and painting in the studio. I have taken a few photos at different times of the day as concentrating on the shadows. I have had a few ideas of how to proceed towards the final 3-5 works developing a theme. I am not set in my ways as I think this assignment will evolve in the process and don’t want to get caught up with a brief that could become constricting of the fundamentals.

The first painting is a study, it is a process of applying paint without the use of a brush. I did use a brush to add a ground colour and preparation of the A3 board. I used the following; painting knife, bottle cork, sea sponge, ragged away paint and my favourite tool; cotton wool bud.  I am happy with this composition and will now take sections of this composition, such as the playground and paint a close up of this section. A park bench is planned so far to have a canvass dedicated to it,  where it will be textural and abstract.


Study for Assignment 5.

Picture Consequences experiment

Picture consequences is an old game where you fold up a page into 3 equal parts and one person draws either a head, body or legs depending what part of the page they are required to draw on. Normally the previous drawer has left some sort of Mark so the next creation has a starting point. I was interested in this idea as I had read that the surrealist used to interact with this game while meeting in cafes.

I wanted to collaborate an Abstract library where the abstract works that I have practice with could be pulled together to create one piece of work. The idea occurred after the practice took place so I was not thinking about creating one large piece  of work at the time, I was thinking about the movement of the medium and the interaction it has when the fluid paint came into he environment of either water, glue, filler, wool, pencil shavings, LEGO bricks, sand, dried flowers, pepper,shaving foam and cleaning products.

The first experiment;t I cut 4 A2 pages into 6 5cm strips and laid them on the floor. These pages were worked on in the exercise, ‘dripping, splattering ; Jackson Pollock style’. I then weaved them together to create something else. I wanted to explore the concept of taking a piece of work and abstracting its form, Like Frank Stella with the work Kastura (p.445 The Art book).  The concept of deconstruction to reconstruct is another process in my abstraction technique practice showen in the following image.

The next series of work is pages from my workbook. I have worked with certain colours that I think Reflected the normal natural tones such as Greens, Red Browns and Blue with white. I have cut these pages into sections. So they will flap over to be part of another page and by doing so the possibilities of creating an abstract library where techniques can be seen together are assembled with the help of the game ; picture consequences.  Unlike the game where the page is divided up into sections of ; head, body and feet, its more suited to areas of foreground, mid ground and background, or no perspective at all but playing with the idea of textural Abstract works.


The art book. Phaidon press limited London 1994