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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

Ideas - 28th Jan 2022

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

It is once again the time of the month that I grace you with my presence and write another blog post. This time I’m going to write down and explore all my ideas heading into my final semester of university. There will be lots of painting (and stress) ahead, but I’m honestly very excited. Let’s get into it.

This semester’s work is all about preparing work for the Degree Show. This means I need to produce a clear body of work that will look good and make sense hanging together. It will need to fit the space and I will also need to think about it's layout in that space. With this in mind, I am potentially interested in exploring the idea of diptychs (pairs of paintings specifically designed to sit together, often to tell some sort of story). Pairs of paintings, each in a different (single) colour, could be a really interesting way to explore my astronomical subjects – and an interesting new way for me to explore colour.

Colour is still definitely a focus of mine and I am intrigued with the possibility of using it to describe different (non-visible) wavelengths of light; using it to describe its energy or lack thereof. It would also be a new challenge to explore colours in pairs; exploring how colours change depending on the colours they are displayed next to. Finding colours that tell the story of my paintings how I want them to when paired together is a very different way of working with colour than how I did last semester and could be a good challenge for me.

This idea of expressing non-visible wavelengths of light with colour as well as the potential of diptychs is part of me trying to bring my work closer to science. I want to more accurately represent my subjects. The pair of paintings in a diptych could display the vastly different views of an object scientists get when observing in different wavelengths and thus show two different sides of the object's story.

I’m also interested in using abstract painting as a tool to more accurately represent an object than say with astrophotography. A photo will often show a pristine, perfect, beautiful object hanging peacefully in space; it does not often portray the violence and heat and insane velocities and obscene distances and forces involved in the make-up of the object. Space looks pretty, but space is a very hostile and inhospitable place. A galaxy looks like a peaceful sparkly object, but in its core is a star munching monster with gravity so intense it effects time itself… not so nice after all.

Researching the science is really important to me this term as I think art and science complement each other beautifully. I also think they both have something wonderful in common; the ability to bring people together and make them forget their differences. I want to research my subjects more to help inform my paintings better. Don’t assume this will mean I leave no room for imagination though as I am still all about the emotional experience (both my own and the audience’s).

I want to play around with moulding paste this semester as I observed some beautiful effects when it came to thin paint pooling around protrusions on surfaces. In terms of size of paintings, I think I want to stay around the 24 x 24 inch mark as it is large enough that it is dramatic and demanding of attention, but not so big that it would be impractical. (I still hold my dream of painting so large it fills a whole wall, but I do not feel that now is the correct time to pursue it.)

I’m also debating working on a smaller series of just black and white geometric paintings along side, but I will see where the semester takes me. I have lots of ideas, but one thing I have learnt to accept about painting is that the paint may lead me in a different direction to the one I intended to go; that is okay. The process will take me where I need to go and I need to trust it rather than try force things. Regardless of whether I end up doing every single thing I have talked about above, or whether the final exhibition work is not even remotely similar to it, I am excited for where this term will take me.

Have a wonderful next two weeks, when we meet again, I will be well into term time.

Anna, signing off!

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