Review of Negotiated Project

23rd February 2023

Due to the Portfolio module following on directly from our Negotiated Project, we had to write a review of our work.

My aim was to investigate being a sustainable artist using natural resources and reusing found, or waste materials. I wanted to move away from using mass produced artist materials and see how easy it is to create a piece of art using more sustainable products and methods.

I found some of the processes to be quite therapeutic, however it was very easy to etc myself get bogged down in how broad this subject matter was and a little lost in which direction I wanted to follow. Looking at how to make my own paints from natural pigments was the first hurdle. I really enjoyed this thought process yet quickly realised that the colour palette is very limited and some colours although available in nature and geology aren’t necessarily light fast or easy to source.

I was disappointed that I didn’t take more time in learning some of the techniques with the different paints egg, egg tempra, that would have made my paintings look less naive and have more pop with proper blending of colours and creation for tones and shadows.

However I was very I suited by final piece and will be investigating how to use waste engine oil and introducing colour and texture going forward.

I actually need to have more confidence in my own abilities and trust in the fluid processes a little more. I work a lot better once I do and my paintings sem to just flow from my own imagination and the heart when I do this.

I am determined to be a more sustainable artist ad make my own paints and find materials to work on and with. However, it isn’t going to happen overnight and in this first year I will buy in some of the pigments, and paper from sustainable and ethical sources. Make what I can and recycle what I can.

I think it’s very hard to change the way of working and practices immediately. It takes time to learn, understand, perfect and you also need to be able to experiment and have a lot of throw aways in order to learn. I struggle with allowing myself to experiment and be free. I struggle to make the time.

Portfolio – Launch

9th February 2023

This week is the launch of the Portfolio module. The aim isn’t consolidate what we have learnt during our Negotiated Project and expand on our creative practice.

The concluding outcome will be a piece or body of work that encapsulates that practice. With evidence of experimental outcomes, research and a million other things that just thinking about sends my mind into a kind of panicked overdrive.

In a little under 18 weeks I need to get it together, come up with a proposal, project plan and a finished outcome. I will be basing it around a sustainable art practice and that in itself is a challenge.

Another beautiful sunset to inspire me.

Camerless Photography

6th October 2022

I missed this lecture and workshop, which I’m quite disappointed about. This is therefore a very short blog post holding this space.

We had a workshop on this last year in my foundation course and I really want to investigate cyanotypes and cliche verre in more detail.

Composition & Colour

I missed this lecture due to a hospital appointment. This links to the assemble project in the Creation and Production module.

It’s about understanding the colour wheel and how our decisions as artists will affect the final composition. The rule we use or disregard in a piece of work have a bearing on how we would like our work to be viewed. Its important to understand where you wish the observers eye to be drawn, and does the composition encourage it to follow a certain path or not. What colour’s you use can help highlight certain areas of the image, or set the mood because of the choice of warm or cool colours, or a blend of both.

I decided to use a simple complimentary pallette and tried several way of fitting the shapes together. For me it works best with the yellow triangle in the centre.

Screenprinting with a blank screen

12th October 2023

This was a good refresher back into the screen printing process.

I didn’t have any grand ideas or pictures in my mind, I enjoyed using the ink purely as a mark making process. I concentrated on the technique of drawing the ink down the screen.

The simple things of remembering to keep the screen flat, the correct angle of the scraper, getting a good ghost print. How to clean the screen off, using bubble wrap to create texture.

Blank Screenprinting

Reading Weeks

25th October 2022

Reading weeks coincided with half term, this is where I admit defeat a little and that I am a ludite with technology and embracing this whole blog process. I’m a mature student juggling the part time job, with a full time course and a family. I missed the memo that said read the books and write just a little about them in your blog.

I read the chapters from Practices of Looking by Sturken and Cartwright, and re-read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. I just didn’t log my opinion or interpretation of what I’ve read.

I would like to think that some of the views in John Berger’s Ways of Seeing are outdated, especially the ones about the onlooker being male and the male perspective of the viewer for advertisers etc. However, it hasn’t. Yes we have adverts directed at women as the voyeur and basically that’s what it is. I’m wondering if people think that to market certain products they have to objectify the person in the picture be it male or female? Do they think that if they objectify men to gain more female customers, it’s ok? It balances out objectifying women over the years? I know that’s a bit of an extreme point of view, but we are bringing up the next generations in a crazy social media society that is used to instant gratification. You want a new drill? a new hoover? a new car? with online, next day delivery its there. We are very much a throw away society of almost everything, trends change so quickly what’s in one week is out the next.

The general idealogy of what is the “perfect (woman/man/car/dog/body/hairstyle etc etc)” is still being manipulated by those with power. The big corporations, the politicians, religious leaders, the media, the wealthy and unfortunately a lot of them are men or controlled by men. We don’t accept change in society very well, and some parts of the world have undone 20yrs of progress with regards to equal rights and acceptance of all areas of society. This is clear in the images they are broadcasting to the world. Even in western culture we have a fear of change, a fear of moving away from some of this false idealism.

Reading these two books, I strongly feel that until we change the way we deliver the messages, we won’t change the way we see the world.

There are a few strong, individuals who are brave enough to try

Modernism – Bauhaus

11th October 2022

This was a good one for me, I think because although I have heard of Bauhaus in passing, it’s influence and legacy has never really been something that I have considered in depth. Although I’ve always loved art, I am late to to learning about it and evaluating it and understanding the importance of art as the world changed between the two world wars.

It is interesting to understand the roles assigned to the women of the Bauhaus, in the main they were very traditional. It’s also interesting when the school had to close, how they went on and influenced other schools like the Black Mountain College. I never knew that Kadinsky was involved in teaching colour studies to Bauhaus students. I researched his art last year when I did a small project on synesthesia, music in art. He is a name that keeps coming up in my studies. Another is Joseph Albers, whose wife Annie was also a colour theory teacher.

What the Bauhaus school did was unify art and craft using technology, wanting and promoting change for the better. For the first time art and design were being taught together and it brought out lots of new representation. It incorporated modernism and optimism and had international appeal.

Joseph and Annie Albers taught at the Black Mountain College of Art, in North Caroline. The students there also had a strong commitment to study design and art. Jackson Pollock, Rochenberg, Lloyd Cunningham all had links to the summer school at Black Mountain. American Modernism, Abstract Expressionists all tie back to ideas and lessons that originated from the Bauhaus School and its teachers and students.


4th October 2022

What did I take from our last session?

To See – is a process of observing and recognizing

To Look – is to actively make meaning of the world

Semiotics are a representation – a scientific study of production and use of signs

The interpretation of signs and language – visual literacy

We are meaning makers – Homosignificant.

Well thats a lot to think about in those simple statements. As artists we need to be aware of what we create and how a simple change in an image, like a colour or adding a badge, change a word in a slogan can seem very simple, but have huge connotations in the meaning.

Rolant Barthes Term “Death of the Author” – nothing counts more than what the reader understands and does with the sign. (Baldwin J Roberts, 2014) Adding text to an image fixes it’s meaning to the one most likely.

Understanding semiotics and how an observer is likely to interpret your image and give it meaning, is useful for political advertising and propaganda.

The advances in technology over the past 60 years and how production processes can be blended changes expectations in how we interpret work. Also looking back at some of the examples with hindsight and modern perspective, there are many adverts or images that portray a different and sometimes uncomfortable representation of the world. That back in the 1940’s and 1950’s portrayed society as it was in the rules then, like the segregation of black passengers on public transport in America, which would be frowned upon today, unless it was being used in the correct historical context.

For most of us Semiotics are seen every single day in Road Signs. We know the caution signs for Children Crossing, Elderly People, Horse Riders and the instructional signs, for giving way, one way, priority to oncoming traffic etc.

Images and Meaning

27th September 2022

What do images mean to us? How do we analyse them? Do we actually see what we are looking at? What are the images trying to tell us? Are they are storyline? Part of a visual language?

As an artist and a photographer, there are ways to help you draw the observers attention to what you wish them to notice. These can be subtle or more direct. In general we can use the rule of thirds, leading lines, and perspective to help create a storyboard and direct the eye. We can use a warm or cold colour pallette to enhance a generalised feeling or indicate a season.

With the onset of the digital age we can edit and manipulate the original image, and create composites. There was a time when people used to say the camera never lies, but in today’s society with so many people being concerned about how they look on social media platforms, it often does. Commercial advertising is airbrushed, we can add filters to our own selfies with our phone cameras. We can get apps for our phones that will remove blemishes, change the lighting etc. We can change the background to be somewhere else entirely.

We do all of these things because we want to convey a story, we wish the world to see us in a certain way, or we are unhappy with how we look.

There are times when I struggle to actually see what the photographer or the artist are trying to convey, and that isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, having a different perspective to the original intention of the image can lead to conversation and enlightenment.