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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

Weeks 4&5: 25th October – 6th November

Hello again and happy November everyone, I can almost hear the Christmas Carols! (Almost). The time really seems to be flying by; I can’t believe we’re at the end of week 5 already, but here we are! It has come to my attention that I may use too many exclamation marks, but as it turns out, I do not care. I am an enthusiastic person and this is how I express myself! So strap yourselves in, because I think this is going to be a long one.

A painting I like to refer to as Crab came into being almost by mistake at the beginning of

week 4. Mixed media on mount board, I was just experimenting with using collage and making a variety of marks. I used a composition I created from a crab shell I had found on the beach and was just playing around with it. The mix of white space, collage, complementary colours and interesting brush marks

create a simple but effective painting with a real sense of immediacy to it.

I have noticed a few issues with some of the techniques I’ve been testing. Firstly: using the rocky sand to create interesting patterns in the paint. It might produce good results, but the rocks on the surface interfere with any straight lines I might want as it prevents the tape from sticking flat to the surface. As such, unless the rocks are a ‘final layer’ they need to be all rubbed off before continuing. Although this isn’t an issue when painting on board, when using mount board the rocks peel the surface off slightly.

I have also been experimenting with trying to reduce the tearing of the surface of collaged paper when using tape on it. I am doing this by covering the surface with glazing medium. Whilst one coat didn’t help that much, after a second coat of glaze the paper didn’t seem to tear anymore under the tape so I'm going to continue to do this.

I’ve now experimented with pouring paint on three separate paintings. On the first, I found that the paint lifted the tape off a bit so, instead of a sharp edge, I got a hazy one. I think this was because the paint was sitting on the surface flat so had the opportunity to seep into the taped edges as it slowly dried. The next two times I poured it down the board and let it dry mostly vertically. When pouring the paint like this, a sharp line remained after the tape was removed.

This pouring technique was how I resolved the painting with the orange ground and I really enjoy how little control I have over the process. After using a tonal thumbnail sketch to help resolve the painting, I as left with a mostly satisfying painting tonally but it felt a bit lacking somehow. The pouring really added excitement to the image and balanced it in a way I had not thought of. I’m excited to continue experimenting with pouring paint.

An artist I am very excited about at the moment is Jade Fadojutimi, and I can definitely her influence creeping into my colours a bit already. I have been looking at her work in Jesture as a whole, as well as individual paintings. I’ve been especially looking at the way she creates light in her paintings as well as her application of paint and her colour palettes. After also starting to research colour terminology, I realised the reason her colour palettes are so successful is because of her use of complementary and analogous hues.

I’ve also begun to look a little at Sandra Blow and her use of collage and paint. I especially love some of the unusual materials she uses in her collages.

After a conversation with my tutor, I researched a little bit about diptych paintings. I like the potential they hold for expressing my intent to my audience and perhaps altering the way they view a painting by putting it together with another. I don’t know if it’s a route I want to go down, but I’m interested in exploring it for now as well as thinking about how creating paintings in pairs would affect how I need to use colour. It would also be interesting to use diptych as a technique to express juxtaposition.

My work is very process driven, so naturally I am drawn to Process Art. I’ve been starting to explore the movement in a little more depth, exploring the ideas behind it, what influenced the movement (Abstract Expressionism and Jackson Pollock) and artists involved in it like Bernard Cohen. His paintings are created by establishing a set process and then carrying it through until the canvas is full: e.g. In That Moment, 1965, oil paint and tempura on canvas, 243.8 x 243.8 cm. The painting was created by drawing a single continuous line until the whole surface was covered. Not only is the painting the process, but even the title refers to it; the moment the line left the page again.

I have also begun my research into Modernism and Formalism, but at present I don’t have much to report as it is all a little confusing to me. I shall elaborate once I’ve got my head around it.

In terms of colour concepts, I’m going down two roads at present: Astronomical and Botanical. I really love how this describes me, constantly looking down at nature or looking up at the sky. I think I will be able to better expand on these once I’ve spent more time investigating and researching colour theory. I have shied away from it for far too long, but colour is very important to me and I want to be able to use it to its full potential.

At the end of week 5 my paintings took a jump up in size from 10x10 cm boards to 30x30 cm boards as I’ve now begun a new painting. As my paintings get bigger, my marks can get bigger and my application of paint can become more experimental.

To move forward over the next 2 weeks there are a few specific areas I’ve identified (partially with the help of my tutor) that I need to work on. Firstly, my paintings are at a risk of becoming too busy. I think sizing up the boards I’m working on will help with this a bit as I won’t be trying to cram on marks that don’t really fit; I’ll have more space. This painting is a good example of one that is too busy and lacks tonally (still in progress).

I also want to explore contemporary abstraction more and look for more artists working in a comparable way to me.

I need to further explore colour, both theoretically and practically. I want to look at the effects of colour, how people perceive colour and colour interaction. I can start by looking at colour field painters and other artists who explored colour, especially in an intuitive way. I can look at painters like Sam Gilliam, Frank Bowling and Wassily Kandinsky. I have also planned a number of practical colour experiments for myself inspired by Colour. A Workshop for Artists and Designers by David Hornung.

I have so much to do, but I have also done and learned so much already. It’s always difficult to say how much is ‘enough’ in art, because there is always more to learn. It is also difficult to say how many paintings should be produced in a certain amount of time, a painting will take however long it needs. As long as I am dedicated to and excited by my work, then I'm doing okay.

That's all for today, folks. I hope you all had a wonderful last two weeks, and I’ll see you next time!


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