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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

Week 1 – 4th to 9th October 2021

Hello again lovely people, from now on my blog posts will be slightly different. (At least until the end of third year) For part of one module this year I am required to keep a blog. Naturally being a marked aspect of my course, there are requirements I must stick to and thus from now on my posts will be recaps and summaries of what I’ve been doing and what artists I’ve been looking into and nothing more. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Although I didn’t have any classes until Wednesday, I didn’t want to waste my time so, first thing on Monday, I looked up all my modules on blackboard. The Research and Process in Practice module had clear instructions of how I could get started and so I began.

Throughout Monday and Tuesday, I worked on my Self Evaluation, evaluating all my work from second year and seeing the progression and continuous themes that ran through it. After initially writing paragraphs of work, I later simplified and summarised my thoughts. This not only made it easier for me or someone else to skim through, but forced me to think really carefully about what was most relevant and accurate about what I’d said. Simplifying my thoughts forced me to understand them better. From this I began to think about my Proposal and the direction in which I wish to move forward.

With only broad ideas going forwards thus far, it made sense for me to go look for some visual inspiration. So, on Wednesday afternoon, I did what I always do when I’m in a rut or in need of inspiration; take my sketchbook for a walk. The only aspect of my work moving forwards that I’m fully decided on and committed to is finding my structures in nature rather than from architecture this term. In terms of this town, I feel as if I’ve rung it’s buildings dry and nearing the end of second year I was really struggling to find new things in it that I found interesting. Not only that but I really want to try be closer to nature. I don’t just want to combine man made structures and nature, I want to find the structures of nature, inspired a lot by going to see Dippy the Diplodocus this summer. With all this in mind, I took a walk in the woods.

Thursday: Inspired by a workshop on Cecil Touchon and his collaging of words to make new abstract forms (concrete poems, as he calls them) I cut up and began experimenting with collaging my different found compositions from the woods to create new structures: new places that only exist on my page.

Taking these new compositions, I made tonal drawings of them, exploring how they changed depending on the tone of different sections.

Since the end of second year, I got two new colours in my paint collection and so I needed to test them out before going forward. In my sketchbook I mixed every colour with each other. There were some surprises, notably the wonderful shades of green made when mixing phthalo blue with burnt sienna and raw umber. This grid will be a good source of reference for colour mixing and inspiration.

On Friday I listed the main artists that have influenced/inspired me over the last year, I noted themes that connected them: abstract expressionism, etc. and used this to create a list of new artists for me to investigate moving forward. I shall of course come back to some of the old ones as well as there is always more to learn, however finding new things to inspire me will help keep things feeling fresh and exciting.

On Saturday I began my artist research and I started by looking at Mark Rothko. He uses more natural colours like the ones I wish to use more in my own work this year, although his paintings are much darker and more intimidating than I wish mine to be. Rothko (usually) painted on darker backgrounds – when using paler colours over dark colours, the painting still looks darker than when the paler colour is applied first (I tested this theory in my own paints). This is where the intensity of dark comes from in his paintings. He painted simple compositions based around colour interaction so I think he will be a very useful artist to continue to explore over the semester when it comes to my interest in colour especially.

I also started to look at Paul Cezanne. I love how he uses colour to create a warm sunny atmosphere. In his paintings, you feel it’s not just light touching the ground, but warmth. He uses many colours to describe each surface, not just the one that we perceive the surface as being (e.g. brown: oranges, yellows, browns and pinks/purples). This something I want to explore further through my own experiments.

That’s it for now. That was my first week. I can’t decide whether it seems like a lot or barely anything, but the important thing is I’ve started and I finally feel as if I might be on a bit of a roll. I will (as usual) update you again in about two weeks. I hope you have wonderful week and are happy and healthy.

Stay creative, and I’ll see you next time!


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