Shape, Form, Balance – 3D Maquette

28 September 2022

Taking our image from last week, dissecting and folding to create a 3D form.

What did I picture this as? What was my final piece going to look like? Was it functional? Did it have a purpose or is it just an ornament? A piece of art to look at?

In my mind I pictured this as an abstract sculpture, the shapes I’d chosen in the image resembled elements of a horse and that is what I envisioned. As I folded and tore and stuck the paper together, I was picturing what it could like and the possibilities. It was definitely made out of metal, possibly steel, and the mane would dissect parts of the muzzle and fold back on itself. The you would be able to see through the nostrils and there would be refracted light, the effect of the mane would be through a cascade of water running down the curved metal into the pool below.

On a grand scale it’s a water feature I could see outside a stately home such as Gatcombe House, Burghley or Badminton. Yet I could also see it on a smaller scale in a local park or as a water feature in an inner city courtyard.

The paper maquette is currently hanging with others as part of the wall display at Uni, perhaps one day I will find a way of making the prototype water feature, with the right kind of metal that is shiny yet dull, and able to be textured, and have natural light causing an array of rainbow colours reflecting its surroundings.

So I shall leave you with the sound of water flowing, the warmth of the sun on your face and the sights, sound and smells you would find on a summers day in an English garden whatever it’s size.

Shape, Form, Balance – Traditional Hand Skills

21 September 2022

Creating a still life line drawing using pencil. Sounds easy, yet it isn’t, I found myself struggling to pick an area of the array of still life objects and recreating.

What I have learnt is that instead of letting other people just move pieces I was considering drawing, in fact had even started drawing I should really have said something. However, on the other hand if I was painting a plen air scene on a busy bustling city street, I would have to adapt to changes and focus initially on the more static elements of the scene in front of me first. So maybe it was a good thing, that I chose to hide in my shell and not create a fuss.

This was my first choice and the weird looking shape on the left is what was moved, and I had to draw from memory it’s original state as part of my composition as I’d already started drawing elements of it. Needless to say the perspective is wrong, it doesn’t even represent what it was. However, you wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t honest and told you, but I think all of this is because I am not comfortable drawing still life, I’m not comfortable drawing what I see with other people around me and able to look over my shoulder and immediately comment. After the summer break, I found it hard settling into the whole learning and my art is on display enviroment again. There were some stools, a piece of wood, a fir cone, figurines, a wire fruit tray to name a few of the items in my image. My perspective is off, it usually is when I’m doing these kind of pieces.

I didn’t really add any shadows or highlights, or consider tonal values. The exercise was to recreate the shapes and forms and the result is a flat image.

I created another image, this time I concentrated on the array of ballet shoes propped against a board on tin foil. I felt more at ease drawing these, I used simple lines to create the sense of folding and creases where the shoes had worn and held their shape. Many reasons why this image is less flat, I have more interest in the subject matter, I connected with the shoes as I used to dance. Or maybe, I just let myself tune out the fact that there were other people around, so I was less self-conscious and less distracted.

I think as well as having more of an understanding of art practices I need to do more of, this exercise has also highlighted other things I should work on, on a more self esteem, personal level. There isn’t really a wrong or right interpretation, unless you are being photo realistic, art is just a reflection of what the artist sees and feels, and the story they want to tell. Also, the more I create and do, the more relaxed and confident in my outcomes I’ll be.

Blue Book Project – Collaboration

Kinetic Art – Shape, Form and Balance

28th September 2022

We were briefed on the project and were split into four groups to work as a collaboration, the outcome to be a form of abstract kinetic art. The idea being that as a group we worked to each others individual strengths. So what did we need to do:

  • research kinetic art
  • use abstract outcomes
  • develop ideas by selection, design, making
  • must be a collaborative practice working to our individual strengths

KINETICS – movement – light and concept of moving, make it real

LIGHT – tonality – alive? – High to low tones, drama

2D art Static 3D use physical movement & light Alexander Rochenko sculpture moves and reacts with light

We looked at a few examples of artists work as part of the briefing lecture on Kinetic Art

  • Bridget Riley – pointilism, dots to blend clolours, lines close together optical illusion of movement
  • Paul Fillier – captive light used to create different shades, iridescent colours, study of light
  • Jean Arp – sculptures – static – you move around it
  • Marcal Duchamp – “Mobile” his sculpture moves
  • Alexander Calder – sculpture, mobile, abstract art – it moves itself
  • Man Ray – known better as a photographer, created first “mobile” he called it ob/struction – ob=objects/struction=putting together

The kinetic sculpture would be displayed in the atrium.

I was in a group with Alan, Alicia, Seb and Lexi. The kinetic artists that seemed to inspire at least two members of our group were Alexander Calder and Rebecca Horn, we then had a discussion about what we liked, didn’t liked and what we were likely to acheive in the timescale we had. Alexander Calder’s pieces were very automotive and although Alan may have had the skills from his engineering background to design and build, it wouldn’t have been possible with the materials we had available to use. Rebecca Horn is interested in sound and musical instruments and uses them in her art installations. Seb wanted to incorporate the music score for “Fur Elise” and whether it’s because of my interest in the art of music and research I did last year on Wassily Kandinsky, I was all up for attempting this. There were comments that music was black and white, so I explained briefly about visual music a book that I had read on Syneasthesia: The Art of Music, and showed them the chart that that every note had a colour, I still feel there was some scepticism but we went ahead with our rainbow notes.

Our initial idea was to use a pedestal and have a pivot in the middle with musical notes hanging of it.

Alicia and Alan started gathering bits together, and working out how to make the pedestal with the pizza boxes, whilst Seb and I went to the photocopier armed with the music sheets to see how we could enlarge them. It was pretty clear that this idea wouldn’t work, so back we went into the studio and I suggested I draw the notes used in the music and we cut them out and paint them. Alicia suggested different weights with cardboard and coloured paper. She also had the hot glue gun to stick a couple of the cardboard notes together to make them heavier. We set up a bit of a production line and got started. At the end of the day Alicia and Seb took the notes home to paint them, and I took the three pizza boxes to home to paint them brown.

The following day Lexi joined us, so we quickly caught her up to speed and she helped with the painting of notes, attaching wires and sticking and attaching them to the pizza box stand. Alan and Alicia worked their magic with glue gun, and we all started attaching the notes and wires to our pedestal. We decorated the pedestal with notes but also with an album cover that Alan had found:

“Things may come and things my go but…… the Art School Dance Goes On For Ever” Pete Brown & Riblokto!

We hit the deadline, we managed to get it all completed if a little tacky in places and displayed in the atrium. As part of the installation and presentation we placed a blue tooth speaker under the pedestal and played “Fur Elise”.

In conclusion I think it was a successful project although, I admit there were points when I really didn’t think we would get everybody on board with a cohesive idea, are there things we could have done differently? Yes as it was quite a fluid construction with lots of problem solving along the way.

Shape, Form, Balance – Tonal Values

22 September 2022

Carrying on from yesterday’s work, we were still using the array of still life objects, only this time looking at tonal values and using charcoal do another still life piece.

I deliberately chose a more industrial object, made of metal, with angles and curves and lots of highlights and shadows. Being objective my perspective is definitely a little skewed, and respecting the different tonal values of the two different metals was hard and did find myself getting a little carried away with some parts and having to hastily rectify them to more accurately reflect the object I was drawing and the angle I was seeing it from. I’m rather pleased I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, there are some elements that I did well, but obviously still have a lot to work on. I seem to keep coming back to perspective. I need to do more of this. I don’t necessarily want to be ultra realistic, but the proportions still need to be more accurate. I have no idea what the original object is, would it have helped if I did? Possibly not, because if I could relate to it there is a chance I would have drawn what my mind thinks it should look like, rather than what it actually does look like from the angle I am viewing. I could have used negative space better to aid with the highlights and shadows, but again this is something I don’t do as a matter of course, so more practice needed.

Another part of the exercise to look at tonal values and high/low contrast, was to take the photographs from yesterday and print them out in black and white. We could reduce, enlarge, cut out elements, replicate as many times as we needed, and create another image. The purpose was really to not overthink it, although trying to remember the design principles and keeping the balance was a little challenging. I enjoyed not really having an idea to start with, yet once I started playing with the images and layering them on the paper I could see a pattern forming and shapes and textures that I wanted to include. There were some repeats that I hadn’t noticed and it was only when Simon, our lecturer, was stood talking through what I was doing and picking up some of the photos himself, that I saw what he did and realised that placing them slightly differently the balance of the tones in the final image looked a lot better.

Breaking this subject down into the simple exercises we’ve done over the past couple of days, has helped me consider my approach to creating ‘Art’. If anything, I’m learning to be brave and not worry about turning things around and looking at them from different angles and perspectives, learning to look at all the angles and stripping away the colour so that you are just left with the tones is really good for understanding composition and seeing things as they really are, not what you think they should be. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to see something in a different light.

Shape, Form, Balance – Digital Still Life

21 September 2022

We were joined by the year two students as we are all working on Shape, Form, and will be working on a collaborative project as part of this tope. Our lecturers had an assortment of interesting objects, shells, pieces of wood, feathers, bone etc. Our first task using the Nikon D90 cameras, was to take interesting shapes, and group items together, or single them out and thing about why we found them interesting. We needed to thing about the formal elements of art and the principles of design and consider how we could use these images. It was a good way to consider lighting, how we can change it, how we use the negative spaces, take photos from different angles by not only moving objects, but moving around them ourselves.

I found that I was very interested in textures and the more natural patterns, I was also attracted to curves rather than purely linear patterns. Which I find quite interesting, as most of the time I draw freehand I will start with a slightly wavy line or a circular motion rather than straight and angular. I was also drawn to the more natural materials on the table, rather than the manmade structures, or metal. Maybe that’s where I find my inspiration? I love being outdoors and like the more earthy colours. Yet sometimes, like the strands of wool fibre hanging in front of the spot light, I love the clash and harshness of the lights behind the softness of the wool. I also like the tones acheived by the harsh shadows. The delicacy of the feather and the dried leaves, and the contrast of the bright green with the autumn browns, it made me think of a woodpecker that visits my garden. The well worn ballet shoes, I could almost hear the music and the “one, two, three” count of the teacher as the dancer practiced the movements over and over. That’s what these images evoke in me, and remind me about, as I was taking the photographs and considering the best way to reflect them, I was imagining the stories behind how they got to be there.

The final individual outcome is to be monochrome, but we took the original images in colour. The whole idea of this exercise is to get us back into the habit of recording everything and developing good practice.

The Visual Verb

21 September 2022

We looked at the work of Richard Serra and his idea of creating artwork from verbs. TO DRAW is a verb.

As a group we had a class exercise to find examples of the twelve verbs we had chosen from Richard Serra’s list of verbs and photograph them. The limitation on the task was that they needed to be from somewhere in the college building and grounds. My choices are below:

To Twist

To Simplify

To Splash

To Suspend

To Gather

To Surround

To Weave

To Match

To Light

Of Nature

Of Reflection

Of Symmetry

As an exercise it was quite interesting as even though we were to work individually, as a class we used similar images, if not the same for some of the verbs. Our lecturer asked us to upload them all so that she could display them as a postcard wall.

The next task was to create an art response to one of the verbs, the stipulation was that it had to be 4″x6″ postcard size. I did one response but wasn’t too sure about it, so on the reverse did another response. I used felt tip pens to create the image, can you guess which verb I chose?

A career in modelling?

Clay that is! I have been spending my time since my college course finished wisely and am learning how to model/sculpt with clay. It’s very relaxing and therapeutic.

The Golden Diva

This little piece is based on our little Welsh Section A. Unfortunately there a little crack happened in the final firing process, but it can easily be fixed. I will then mount her in a box frame and place on my wall.

I am lucky to have three horses in my life so have decided it isn’t fair to just sculpt one, and the next project is going larger…

I will keep you updated on the progress throughout the summer.

Being…..

My project is about me,
It’s about Being – the nature or essence of a person, their soul, spirit, nature.
It’s about how I see and express emotions through movement, music and art.
It’s about connection, nature gifts us some beautiful connections.
It’s about memories both happy and sad.
It’s about the hidden symbolism I take from patterns in nature and animals.
It’s about colour and how I associate that with emotions.
It’s about what defines me.

I was in two minds about posting this as the college art show is this week and some of my friends and family who follow this blog will be going to see it. However, reading the notes of what we needed to have on our blog for college, our best work needs to be showcased here. And this is my best work.

It took me a long time to work out how I wanted my final piece to look, originally I was thinking 4 paintings on repurposed surfaces, I may still do something with that idea, yet when I was looking at my own reference photos and blending and mixing then together in photoshop, I stumbled across am image I wanted to recreate. It includes, movement, connection and nature. Three of the things that help keep me grounded.

From my sketchbook

Up until the point of visiting the Immersive Van Gogh Experience in Bristol, I was going to produce four paintings as a series which represented the concept of my project. However, I was struggling with this as a conclusion as I felt that I should possibly do more to push myself. I found the way they had presented his work quite enlightening and started thinking about anamorphic art as a way to present my final piece. Van Gogh used quite limited pallets and I was quite taken by his comments and interpretation of Japanese Art. This exhibition made me re-think my final piece and I decided that I had a very strong image from a photography workshop I attended in 2019 and if I merged that with another image, I could create a mock up of what I wanted. I also liked the fact that Van Gogh’s work was not realism and in more of a style I could relate too, a little more abstract and suggestive in some cases. The deliberate brush strokes and using less rather than more colours is something I have used in my work, I found that I had to think a lot more about textures and tones and how I wish to address them in my application of layers and colour etc.

Other artists I researched relating to anamorphic art are Felice Varini 8, Michael Murphy 9, and Truly/Urban Artists 10. Felice Varini and Truly/Urban Artists, tend to large scale works on or in buildings and to get the full picture you have to stand at a certain viewpoint or all you see are lots of patterns and shapes. The article on Truly/Urban Artists gave tips on how to create your own anamorphic piece of art, and I found that very useful now I had my idea forming of what I wanted to do and I followed the advice whilst making my maquette and piecing the final installation together. Michael Murphy is more a perceptual artist and his final pieces are quite inspiring, they also have a message in them, sometimes political. You can look at his work from different angles and see different elements, but again only one view point gave you the overall image. I am no way on his level of genius, however, the attention to detail and ensuring I used the same spot to view my work as I a) painted the detail and b) installed the various elements together, was something I took away.

My main source of research is me and my life experiences. I have included photos and information about the memories they invoke, like every time I see blue hydrangeas outside a red brick house, I immediately think of my grandparents. I think it is really about what defines me? Is it my life experiences? Expectations of others? My actions and responses? My hobbies and interests? The things that I really struggle to be without in my life?

Horses have been pretty much a constant my entire life, as long as I can remember. Even when my life is going great, and there have been plenty of times when it hasn’t, I feel like a part of me is missing if there aren’t horses around. They ground me, there is something so completely intrinsic about the smell of stables and horses, the soft muzzles nuzzling you and breathing each other in, because that’s what they do and they are so gentle, even those that take a while to gain your trust. I am totally lost without my fix of horses. It makes sense that this connection and freedom of spirit is something that I wanted to depict as my final piece.

This was quite a challenging concept for me, the perspex to represent the spirit of the horse was very difficult to work with as it was quite fragile.

I feel like I spent a lot of time tracing and cutting out various templates, and made a maquette to help me figure out where each piece had to go amd the best viewpoint to see it as a whole.

In my research I found I was drawn to the Chinese Yin and Yang, the Phoenix and the Dragon which are often seen decorating wedding vases. The dragon symbolises good luck, great power and strength. The phoenix brings good luck, harmony, balance, peace and prosperity. I found I kept being drawn to ceramics, robes and various other items with these symbols on, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate them in my piece. The background of my piece if you look closely has two phoenixs’ rising and they are nose to nose, they in turn create a dragons head, Yin and Yang.

I used modrock to create the Pheonix’s, I found a free vector online and used an overhead projector to trace the outline on to my mdf background.

So how do I incorporate music and the repeating patterns in my life?

The most testing problem I had was the idea to sandblast musical notes onto glass bottles. Talking through with one of my peers about needing something to weigh down the different hung pieces, and because of the trauma and abuse I suffered as a child and an adult in both instances the perpetrators were alcoholics/drug addicts. I felt that the recurring pattern of my life would be best shown by the use of wine/beer bottles that were the same, and I calculated that I would probably need 10. The idea was to choose a song that meant a lot to me and sandblast the musical note phrasing for each line onto the bottles. Problem one was I couldn’t choose just one song, so it ended up being two. One represented the darkness that is always there and threatens to overwhelm me sometimes and the other represents how I am now, now that I no longer see myself with the negative labels of shame etc, and I have a myriad of metaphorical tools in my box to help me stay grounded and present. Such a small detail in that the observer won’t necessary see the notes on the clear bottles, or even understand the relevance but really important for me to follow through with this idea. The issues I had were:
• Ensuring areas I didn’t want to be sandblasted were completely covered or they became pitted
• Cutting the notes out on various materials, paper, masking tape etc without losing their structure and sticking them on the bottles
• Paper and sticky labels proving to be too thin and not strong enough to stay in place without lifting, or being blasted off, so not a clear pattern.

The song lyrics represented on the bottles,
The dark ones, “I’m so tired of being here, these wounds won’t seem to heal, this pain is just to real. There’s just too much that time cannot erase.” Immortal, Evanescence

The light ones: “it’s time to begin, isn’t it? I get a little bit bigger, but then , I’ll admit, I’m just the same as I was. Now don’t you understand that I’m never changing who I am?” It’s Time, Imagine Dragons.

The final pieces to the puzzle, the figures in the foreground, made out of hardboard from the backs of old wardrobes. I painted those using a palette knife and a sponge that I’d cut into the shape of a lotus flower, again something that is meaningful to me and I know but not obvious on the final piece. I did a lot of listening to my favourite songs whilst creating this whole project and painted as I felt.

Installing and hanging all the individual pieces was a two person job, with lots of stepping back and adjusting the lines of fishing wire holding it all in place.

I am really pleased with the final installation and how it has all pulled together. It will be interesting to see what the feedback from visitors to the show is.

Being

Start of something new,

I’m sat here watching the sun cast it’s soft morning glow across the fields, gradually getting stronger and reaching further as it rises in the sky.

My time studying the UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Weston College, has been my own sunrise as a creative person. Over the course I have grown more confident as an artist, one of the reasons for this is being exposed to and given access to facilities to explore different skills.

I loved learning about screen printing and that’s an area I would like to explore more. Hopefully as I progress through my degree it is something I can revisit.

I never thought I would spend so much time in the metal and woodwork workshop. Or even use those items in my work quite as much as I have. The downside for my husband is I now recognise and know how to use the tools he has to restore cars, for example the metal bender, metal cutter and actually used his sandblaster for my final major project. I may find the mancave locked and barred.

There were three pathways to the course Interdisciplinary Fine Art, Visual Communications and Surface and Form. The tutors and technicians were good at delivering course content and helping you work through creative solutions. I found that there were areas where the pathways overlapped. After spending time on each one I could see myself working in any of them but Interdisciplinary Fine Art was where my creative heart was and I’m glad I chose that pathway.

I think my main objectives when I enrolled on the course was to define who I am as an artist more, understand my style and learn more about different techniques. The course has definitely helped me do that, although it is an ongoing process. I’m glad I’ve started this process and am going on to do a degree in Art and Design in September.

The hardest part for me was being more structured, using my sketchbook to research and plan out ideas, rather than just create. However, doing that has helped me understand my creative blocks, having a tutor to talk things through has helped me work through the messy it’s all going wrong phases, where I would usually give up.

I would recommend the course to others, and I’m glad I listened to my friend who did this course about 10yrs ago. It’s set me on a path for a career change, it’s given me the confidence to be more creative and share my art. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in building my own art practice and getting my work out there.

I don’t think I can end without a music reference so as Nina Simone sang, as far as my art is concerned “it’s a new dawn, a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.”

Morning dew on the cobwebs

Vinyl Alive Represented

Just when you think you are done, you have to come up with an idea or ideas to represent the alleatory work.

I decided to take some photos of my Vinyl Alive sculpture and have a play in photoshop. I blended and overlayed the three photos together. I absolutely loved the colours of the finished image.

Vinyl Alive Represent

However, to fit the brief I had to do something more…

The colours very much made me think of the outdoors. Using a dictaphone, I recorded the sounds I hear in the field when I do the horses in the evening. I used a laptop amd projector, with the sound file and projected the image onto the wall and a plinth. It’s quite enlightening how with a few simple tweaks and you can have an entire exhibition built around one sculpture.

However, I still wanted to challenge myself. Could I recreate the image on canvas? I actually found this really challenging. There were parts of the process where I just felt it was really messy and I couldn’t see past the blocking, layering and blending. Eventually I got there. I’m so pleased with the final result as I learnt to just accept and go with the process even when I thought it was a mess, and never going to get there. I lived the final result, is it an exact copy? No. But I think I’ve come to accept that I’m not that kind of artist, my style is not photo realism. And, I’m really OK with that.

Vinyl Alive