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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

Weeks 8 and 9: 22nd November – 3rd December

I can’t believe I’m already writing the week 9 blog post. Time has absolutely flown these few months and it’s terrifying quite how close to Christmas we are! Not because I don’t want it to be Christmas, I would in fact challenge you to find someone who loves Christmas more than me, but because it's so near to being the final semester of my degree!!

I’ve been really enjoying getting my teeth into these astronomical paintings I've been working on and so I'm actually pretty frustrated with how little of the semester I have left to work on them. I could look on the bright side though, there has been a trend over the last year of me getting my best work out at the end of each term which means there’s hope yet for my degree show!

While I’ve done a lot of writing this past two weeks, I’ve done a disappointing amount of painting. I’ve done some, and I’m pretty please with how it’s going, but I’ve got a lot of pent-up painting energy as a result. It seems I get a bit grumpy and on edge if I am unable to paint…

This all being said, I’ve finished two astronomical paintings and one primary colour painting and have another of each on the go, alongside two more primed boards ready to be started next week. So I may have felt like I’ve not done much, but I’ve still done a decent amount.

In the three finished paintings, I really focused on explore all the different juxtapositions I was talking about in my last blog. In my painting based on the ant nebula especially, I went a bit wild with it, but I see it as an unleashing of all the things I wanted to try and do with my paint. It’s like I let it all run wild on that one so I could hone in and explore the ideas more closely after I let out that initial burst of energy. In that painting I was feeling excited and set free and I think that definitely come across in the paint. On the flip side, the painting I started a little after, and was working on alongside, is much more controlled and has only controlled burst of energy which ended up creating quite a dynamic piece.

I am also excited by my primary triad paintings, but have a gut feeling that I should round them off and put them to bed for now (Although I am sure I will return to them in the future). They do bring me so much joy with their building block colours and cries of childhood freedom and imagination. There is something beautiful I have discovered with this series, but I’m finding the working with two threads a little tiring and would rather come back to this when it feels natural and I can give it the undivided attention it deserves. For now though, I feel I owe it to the girl who dreamed for years of the stars, to pursue these astronomical paintings further.

Since my first two astronomical paintings from weeks 6 and 7, I have started actually using deep space objects (reference images from Hubble) as the starting point for my work and I am looking to take more visual inspiration from my source material looking forward rather than just the basic composition.

In terms of artist research, I’ve been looking at Beatriz Milhazes and therefore also at Sonia Delaunay (I’m just starting to look at Bridget Riley too who was also an influence). Milhazes paintings have everything I want from an abstract painting: immediate impact and a demanding of attention from the viewer. They also are wonderfully colourful.

I took the time last week to compare some of my favourite artists that I’ve been looking and looking for the similarities and differences in their work (and what I particularly like about them). It was unsurprising to me that most of the things they had in common were things I aim to do in my own work: colour, marks, texture, emotional response… Despite these similarities though, each artist is so unique; while nothing is original, everything is unique because the artist’s hand makes it so.

Looking forward to the next two weeks (the last two weeks of term… AHHHHH!) I want to focus a bit more on (like I mentioned earlier) taking a little more reference from my source material as well as making the most use I can out of tools like photoshop to help me resolve paintings. I also want to think carefully about empty spaces in my paintings. The spaces are as important as the marks as they can really make or break an image by balancing or unbalancing it. I hoping to get at least two more paintings done before the art school closes and have prepared some more compositions for them.

I hope this blog has been of interest to you, it’s been a bit more rambly than usual this time due to spending less time painting. I hope you have a lovely next two weeks and are feeling as festive as I am! See you next time.


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