Monthly Archives: December 2017

Initial Ideas

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Idea 1: Pollen

I produced some sculptures based on pollen in my Sculpture 2 course – a large wall piece, and a smaller one.

I would like to expand this work, so have the idea of producing a series of drawings of pollen grains, then their transformation into pieces of sculpture.

PP2

Maybe move this more into mixed media drawing?

Some ink drawings of the actual pollen grains as a starting point:

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Idea 2: Genetic Modification or cross pollination

Using a similar method to the idea above, this would start with a drawing of a pollen grain and another of a virus (or different pollen grain), then a series of drawings combining the two into a new form and from there into a sculpture.

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This would require research into the science behind these first.

Idea 3: Bees

I might have the opportunity to get involved with an exhibition based on bee decline with my sculpture work. I could incorporate drawing much more in this process than how I usually work and see if it leads me into more interesting territory.

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Idea 4: Textures

Produce 100 different texture drawings to result in 10 sculpted texture tiles?

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Idea 5: Hidden environmental threats to the Yorkshire Dales National Park

  • 3 artists (myself, Geoff Rushton and Anna Whitehouse)
  • 3 hidden threats
  • Bring science, environment and art together
  • Exhibit in the National Park, a scientific establishment (Leeds University?) and an art gallery

Anna has the potential opportunity to use an electron microscope at Leeds University.

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Environmental issues facing the Dales:

  • Tree disease – ash dieback, similar disease in Juniper
  • Flooding
  • Species movement (due to climate change)
  • Plastic – tree guards
  • Traffic volume
  • Farming – uncertain future post Brexit
  • Invasive species
  • Isolated habitats suffering encroachment
  • Pest control – altering balance of natural predation

‘Hidden issues’ is an interesting idea, but as a group we wanted to follow this route to raise awareness of environmental issues, but when focussing on specific issues in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, there is very little or nothing the general public can do to help.

Idea 6: Focus on a 1km grid square and produce work based on that

This is an idea for collaborative work also, but rather than focus on the environmental issues at the outset, take an area of land and produce work based on what we find there – the environmental issues will no doubt come out as we do this.

Picking a location is currently a sticking point, but we are thinking of a place roughly at the mid-point between each of our three locations (so semi-random).

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Narrowing down

Idea 6 is the current front runner for my parallel project.

I want to explore:

  • ink drawing
  • rust printing
  • gunpowder drawing / burning
  • ‘drawing’ on bronze – lines on a 3D surface
  • microscopy

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Assignment One

Reviewing my work so far, projects 1-3 have been a progressive investigation of the use of ink, whilst project 4 has been a change of medium and feels a bit disjointed from the other two because of it. All the projects have explored making an apparently uninspiring subject interesting and exploring ways of making compositions more dynamic.

With my assignment piece I decided to combine elements from all the projects, taking the change of scale from project 3, my use of ink and bringing in the charcoal life drawings from project 4. My thinking was to combine these by doing ink/watercolour drawings of cells / skin / blood / etc. then charcoal life drawings over the top. Referencing the unseen internal structures alongside the external form of the body.

I tried out some drawings of nerve and brain cells in ink which worked well:

Nerve cells 1 Nerve cells 2 Nerve cells 3

I then tried a few prepared ink drawings which I then drew over in charcoal:

]Combination 1 Combination 2 Combination 3

I thought this idea worked well, with the quick ink and charcoal sketches working the best. I wanted to keep the spontaneity which came from working at speed, so for the assignment piece I decided to prepare both layers within a short timescale to try to retain this.

I used watercolour blocks to prevent the paper buckling and worked on 5 of these at once. Ten ink drawings were completed within around 2 hours, drying the blocks over a heater as soon as they were finished. To some of them I added a white gouache wash over the top to send the bold black lines more into the background. Within the 5 watercolour blocks I used there were 3 different paper types which worked differently with the ink.

A1 Nerve cells 1 A1 Nerve cells 2 A1 Nerve cells 3 A1 Nerve cells 4A1 Nerve cells 5 A1 Nerve cells 6 A1 Nerve cells 7 A1 Nerve cells 8A1 Nerve cells 9 A1 Nerve cells 10

In the second session, this was completed during around an hour and a half life drawing session, so allowed around 10 minutes a drawing. Again the different backgrounds all worked differently with the charcoal and swapping between them worked well to keep me on my toes.

A1 Final 01 A1 Final 02 A1 Final 03 A1 Final 04A1 Final 05 A1 Final 06 A1 Final 07 A1 Final 08A1 Final 09 A1 Final 10

Not all the drawings worked – in some the ink and charcoal drawings fight with each other and sometimes look quite disturbing. Others work very well together, some looking quite Picasso like.

I decided they would work well put together as a video. My video editing skills are limited, so I limited the effects to fading in:

Reflection

I think these pieces draw together the project work well. I have been criticised for lack of risk taking in my previous course and I think forcing myself to work as speed in this assignment has involved more risk taking than I usually take, with some interesting and exciting results.

Not all of the drawings work, but that is to be expected with the risk taking and time constraints I set myself. However, as a whole in the video piece I think they do work well together.

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Project 4: The human form

The aim of this project is to draw parts of the human figure, observing the underlying structure of the limbs and create a drawing which leads the eye of the viewer into the overlapping twists and turns of limbs to create a powerful statement.

I enjoy life drawing and decided to leave my ink experiments for a while and do these drawings with charcoal which I am more confident in using to describe form.

I focussed in on overlapping limbs for these drawings and enjoyed trying to capture their shape and form.

LD3

There is not enough tonal variation in this drawing and the composition is not very interesting

LD4

I think I have captured the hands and crossed legs well here, but the composition doesn’t work, both with the drawing petering out at the edges and also the horizontal arms and leg being depicted in a portrait format.

LD2

I am pleased with how this one has worked out. The bottom on the left hand side is the least successful area, but I think the covered foot and shape of the leg works well.

LD1

I spent my time focussing on the hands in this drawing, so I didn’t have enough time to complete the upper part of the drawing. I think the composition of this works well though and would have been quite a powerful drawing if it was completed.

LD5

Another hand! I usually leave hands and feet unresolved as they are tricky to get right, but I think this one has worked out quite well. I think the composition works well here and shows a good sense of form.

Reflection

I enjoy depicting the form of a figure in life drawing and I think most of my attempts here have been quite successful. Cropping the picture plane to include just a section of interesting shapes can work well, although attention needs to be given to whether limbs (arms and legs) will work being only drawn in part.

Research Point – Prunella Clough Tate Archive

Looking at the Prunella Clough Tate archive reinforces many of the projects in this stage, cropping images, inspiration from the mundane, the bold use of colour. She took uninteresting / unobserved scenes and trainformed them into artworks. It is particularly interesting to see her photo collection which acted as inspiration for her work. This is something I used to build up, but since turning my back on photography, have let slip. I will have to resurrect this habit.

I have picked out a couple of her images I particularly like:

© estate of Prunella Clough. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection

© estate of Prunella Clough. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection

I like the use here of a textured/patterned background with a small section of detailed painting and colour. I think this could work well with my water and ink drawings in moving them to a bigger scale.

© estate of Prunella Clough. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo credit: Tate

© estate of Prunella Clough. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo credit: Tate

Rusty metal always strikes a chord with me. Again, the use of a lightly patterned background which is left blank in much of the image works well and the small section of colour really stands out. I always wonder how artists ‘see’ images like this, so maybe I will try to create my own in this style and see how I get on.

A very interesting artist to look at and one I will take inspiration from.

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Project 3: Changing the scale

Scaling up particular features of a landscape, still life, portrait, or anything for that matter is likely to create an abstract image of which the original source is potentially obscured (if scaled up sufficiently to remove all context). As a way of creating an abstract image, this offers unlimited drawing opportunities. It may be more interesting to scale up just below this point though, so the image can still be related to its original source, but take on a new life through being much bigger than would be expected. It’s increase in scale and partial representation will introduce ambiguity and allow the viewer to question what they are looking at, and so take on more interest as an image.

I played around with a few arrangements and settled on drawing two keys and a piece of toy train track. I used a small paper frame to isolate an area of this and select my composition.

P3 setup

Continuing my work with ink, I used ink and water to render the objects, then a watered down ink wash to add in the shadows.

P3 sketch 1

This was OK, but the white areas were too white. I tossed up between adding colour and continuing in black and white. I decided to stick with the latter and added stipples to the background.

P3 sketch 2

Reflection

This drawing is much more interesting than I would have imagined that a drawing of two keys and a train track would have turned out. This method of working opens up an unlimited source of inspiration using whatever objects are to hand – something I will hopefully remember when I struggle to get inspiration for a drawing.

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