Another idea I was working on before Christmas which I will continue to work on as I get time. I was intrigued looking through photographs of myself over the years by the number of different roles I seemed to play. I went through some of the images and cropped my head and shoulders to create a series of ‘mugshots’. I am now working with these, initially painting them in the same format as they appear on the computer printout.
I had a useful chat with my tutor about the final show, where he helped me to work out that I just need to do what comes naturally. I need to paint what I want to paint (or make what I want to make) and the show will come together in its own time. ‘Thinking’ ahead is not good for my creative process. I need to ‘do’ first and ‘think’ later when it comes to my art. I feel a weight dropping from my shoulders …
Finally, after a month of snow, ice and freezing temperatures, I made it back into the studio today. I am now gearing up to prepare for my BA final show. I had hoped to be able to take some of the little pictures in to college, but unbelievably they are still not dry. Clearly oil paints cannot dry in sub-zero temperatures.
I did manage to pick up a paintbrush, and started two more of these little paintings. I’ll post pictures tomorrow; I forgot my camera today.
I am also trying to visualise how I will display them. It is not enough just to paint pictures and hang them on the wall. The way in which they are displayed, how they are organised, and the space that they are in will all affect the way they are experienced and read. So I’ve started by doing a sketch to visualise how they might hang in a space. I had an idea of painting the space a dark green/grey colour to create a sense of intimacy and delving into memory. However, having painted a little sketch of how this might look, I’m not so sure.
I want to give the viewer a sense of surveillance – how perhaps snapshot photographs become a form of surveillance in the way that we experience them being taken, and being looked at afterwards. Also, I wonder whether we use them as a form of self-surveillance. Surely everyone sits up and pays more attention when they see a photo of themselves. What are we thinking? I know what I’m thinking most of the time – too fat, too grey, what-a-stupid-smile.
Not sure how this project will turn out, but I’ll blog it here as a way of helping me think about it.
Gran - acrylic on paper
This painting completes the series of six, which I will be displaying during the Hebden Bridge Winter Open Studios next weekend 5th/6th December 11am – 5pm at Northlight Art Studios. I will also have a couple of paintings in the ArtsMill Winter Art Market opening the same weekend. Open Studios is always a good time to visit Hebden Bridge, because there are four major arts organisations opening their doors for visitors to poke around studios, visit exhibitions and buy totally unique gifts.
Balcony - acrylic on paper
This is part of a series of six (at the moment). Many of my paintings are leading me to ideas about how we feel being photographed. I don’t know about you, but I have always felt very self-conscious in front of a camera. What sort of expression should I arrange my face into? How should I stand? What should I do with my hands? The problem with having a camera pointing at you is that you know there is going to be a permanent record made, a photographic image which you will then have as ‘evidence’ to judge yourself against. And with digital cameras, camcorders, mobile phone cameras and CCTV, we are very often in front of a camera, and a lot of ‘evidence’ is being made. What does this do to our sense of self, and how we present ourselves? And just how many images of ourselves are ‘out there’? Then, of course, we put our photos onto the internet. Who knows what happens to them then? My painting has led me to a whole discussion about surveillance and identity. Next stop – the library!
Acrylic on paper 12″ x 16″
I am still making work, and am excited by this series of bright paintings. One of the things I am curious about is the way that the type of paint I use changes the way I paint. When I use acrylic, my style is more spontenous, sketchier and brighter. When I use oil, I am more careful, more detailed and more sombre.
I can also be more playful with acrylic, for example in this I have used natural sponge to create the effect of splashes of floral colour and foliage. In ‘Nets’ below, I used a textured medium for the beach. It’s good to be playing again.
'Nets' Acrylic on paper
Acrylic on paper. I enjoyed using a textured medium for the sand, something that I can’t do with oils. I find I do quite different paintings with acrylics and oils. To a large extent, the medium dictates the formal qualities of the picture.
Acrylic on paper, 12″ x 16″
Time I put more work on here, I think! This is part of a series I am working on.
Bathtime baby painting
Oil on canvas, 2′ x 2’6″
It’s quiet around here, as I am busily preparing for a number of shows – of which more later. I recently commented on Ronell’s website about the difficulty of weighing up how much you fiddle with or ‘fix’ a painting, and how much you leave the initial marks. This is one of those where I’ve decided to leave it alone.
- Bouncing Baby Painting
Oil on canvas 2′ x 2’6″
I’ve been extremely busy of late, but have managed to find time to visit some fabulous exhibitions during a weekend stay in London. I will be writing these up, as soon as I can.