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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

Week 6: 7th - 11th March

Hello again lovely people. I’d be lying if I said the last week had gone wonderfully according to plan. For starters, I didn’t get to go to the open day at NTU that I’d been looking forward to, so that was disappointing. Ironically, despite the week being not my most productive, because I couldn’t go on the trip, I actually spent more time working than I would have done if I had gone. Swings and roundabouts!

I am very happy to announce that my artist statement is complete and approved and has been sent off ready to go in the exhibition catalogue and be translated. Yay! That was a major win for this week and one less thing I now have to worry about.

I’ve been working further on my Sgr A diptych. Once again, the radio painting has been developing more slowly than the x-ray, however I’m not worried as I’ve been so organised that I am finishing things almost too fast. It’s all going so well that I have a so much time left of the semester I'm a bit stressed about what I'm going to fill it with… Perhaps my hyper organisation is going to come back to bite me on the butt. We will see…

I did find an issue with the colours I chose for Sgr A radio at the start of the week; the shade of purple was very opaque and had a lot of white in it; it was very ineffective as a glaze. I solved this by mixing a transparent purple as close to the original colour as I could make it. I can now glaze with the new colour and use the original in areas I want opaque colour. Problem solved. I decided to leave any further painting on this one until next week so I could have a play with it on Affinity Photo first.

I doubt very much it will stay like this, or look particularly similar once resolved, but this edit has definitely given me confidence moving into next week.

Like I said, Sgr A x-ray moved on a lot quicker than its pair. I have noticed this about the higher energy paintings, they tend to be faster to create. I think it is probably because the immediacy of the marks lends itself to the portrayal of the energy in the image. I think this painting may be resolved (I say think, because the lighting was not good on Friday, so I want to give it a once over when it is dry and in better lighting before making my final decision). That being said, I’m feeling pretty excited about it. Firstly, I put in a bit of a nod to my first painting of the semester. While the overall quality may have been less than the later works, it had a beautiful textured curved mark in it the felt very appropriate to recreate on the new painting. Secondly, all of the science I put into it. The inclusion of a feature representative of both the fast orbiting nearby stars, and the possible source of some of the area’s x-ray flares. Then we have the vertical structure that is reminiscent of spectral lines as well as representing all the dust that obscures our view of the galactic centre, potentially hiding a good amount of the activity going on in it. Also, visually I find the lines very satisfying; making the ‘light’ seem to push through from the centre and make it glow from within. I find it unlikely I will add anything further to it.

Above are some details from the Sgr A diptych.

The research I did this week, both artist and science, had a noticeable influence on the progress of Sgr A x-ray this week. The discovery of a paper suggesting a possible cause for some of the x-ray flares we see from Sagittarius A was the inspiration for the important and dramatic mark, and focal point, on the painting – the textured curve. The theory is that flares are emitted when orbiting stars pass through the accretion disk.

Researching Shara Hughes also helped me decide to put the bold vertical lines into the painting. I’ve loved Hughes’ work for a while, she has a wonderful way with colour, but to include her into my artist research I had to make her relevant to my paintings now. I loved her use of vertical lines in one painting, creating windows for light to push through and making the image have more of a glow. The lines also created a nice depth, pulling forwards and pushing the lit areas back. I also was very interested with how she created a sense of claustrophobia, even within the very visually attractive and appealing paintings. Her use of compositional lines all pushing inwards with only a small area of left as space makes them seem enclosed. I want to think about this claustrophobia when progressing my radio image next week. She makes her images experiences, compact and claustrophobic yet large and beautiful worlds.

I also looked a little at one painting by Joan Miró. It is a good example of what space as a subject can do for the artist, not just the viewer. This painting was an escape (from WWII) and shows the power of space in giving relief to one’s mind. Both art and astronomy can take you to worlds beyond our own.

Next Week I really do want to find some more astronomy artists. I didn’t really do much of that this week, so next week I really want to make an extra effort. I also want to potentially resolve, but a least progress, Sgr A radio so by the week after I can make a decision from all of my exhibition pieces, which I want to be photographed for the catalogue. I also want to have a good think and discussion with my tutor about the additional suite of works I need to complete as it is still completely up in the air at the moment. And last but not least, I want to make more progress on the essay for my RPP module (the same module I’m writing this blog for). I just don’t want to leave it to the last minute. I want to give myself time and options for writing it.

I feel like the reduced amount of work I did this week is reflected in the length of this post, but that’s okay. Not every week has to go perfectly. I’m feeling optimistic (and importantly a lot less tired) going into next week and I am sure it will be great. I hope that you all have a good week too.

Stay happy, creative and curious, and I’ll see you next week!


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