It started with a boat called “Progress”

When we were given “Cause and Effect” as a project title, I panicked at some of the phrases in the briefing. I could almost hear my mind whirring as my thought processes started working overtime. It is such a wide subject that I could have taken it in absolutely any direction. The field trip to Uphill Boat Yard helped consolidate it all for me. As I looked around I could see the changes that had taken place over time. I noticed a boat called “Progress” and the idea formed about how we were all affected by progress and the effects on the surrounding landscapes, people and wildlife. Looking around I could see the discarded and forgotten boats, those being lovingly restored, those bobbing on moorings, and how the past present and future were all intertwined.

Reviewing my sketches and photographs I still wasn’t sure how to reproduce my ideas. I wanted to layer the images somehow incorporating the present and past using both photography and artwork. I also wanted to take on board creating with other pieces of equipment like sponges, pallet knives and fingers using charcoal and paints. After researching the global impact of progress I determined that I wanted it to be more local and my work to show how nature has reclaimed the space in places to live alongside the working marina.

I’ve learned that Uphill Wharf and Marina has quite a rich history. It is now predominately a leisure marina and part of the nature reserve, although it is still home to a working boat yard.

I feel that the original concept I was trying to portray is reflected in the artwork I’ve produced. Although accept you may need to see some of my original reference images to understand a couple of the smaller pieces eg, the blue and orange patina of the rusty boat hulls. I feel that the presentation of the four smaller pieces on the plinth helps convey the story in a very simple format, which compliments the brief of using a limited pallet.

With the large monochrome piece of work from an objective view point, although I do really love it, I feel this is the one piece that has most room for improvement. Had I thought more about the placement of the sections I could have used the negative space, leading lines and light placement far more cohesively. That way the eye of the onlooker could have been drawn into the work more effectively rather than to one side.

In my final piece I had greater success in layering and showing depth to the history, by using a clear sheet of acrylic and painting both sides, along with acetone photographs and using natural light to look through. I am also really pleased with the structural element of the final piece and how it invites you to view from different perspectives. I wish I had made more of the blue from the reclaimed fibre glass boat as it gets a little lost. Creating the structure was possibly the most complex part, how could I make it a stand alone piece of work? The end result was created by utilising the reclaimed fibre glass bit of boat, and cable tieing some off cuts of wood together. Depending on your view it looks like a mast or sail. All along I was going to display in front of a light box, but found that the softer natural light was just as effective. I see this piece as a light feature in a home, standing in front of huge picture windows during the day and having a soft uplight behind it in the evenings.

For my project I wish I had been braver and entered the working boat yard and asked permission to photograph them repairing a boat as that part of the wharf’s story isn’t shown. I need to work on trusting my instincts more and not getting too concerned about what I think the expectations are. I need to be brave and experiment more.

I am pleased with the outcomes, not only with the work that I have produced, but also how I am starting to develop my own creative process. It is starting to be a little more structured and a little less haphazard. I feel that the structure and developing curiosity are allowing me to be more intuitive with my work, and the knowledge and skills that are being added are enabling my process to flow. My research started on a global scale and I am so pleased that on a smaller more local scale I have been able to portray cause and effect. From estuary mudflats, thriving port and quarry, back to a leisure marina and nature reserve. There is still room for improvement on my approach to large projects and I feel that is going to be part of my own cause and effect journey throughout this Diploma.

Progress at Uphill

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