Tutor Feedback – Assignment Four

13/07/17

Response and Reflection on Assignment Four

I have taken excerpts from my tutor’s report that reflect areas for improvement and/or suggestions for research and/or experimentation. My responses and reflections are noted beneath each.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

  Task 1 [project 11]

“I believe you are using oil based inks, reflect further on how you are choosing colour. These inks mix well on a slab. I recommend exploring your colour choices further.”

I note that on the next project, I am asked to explore unusual combinations of colour, so it should be more at the forefront of my mind. I agree that colour has not been given enough importance in my printing so far. I need to address this more within my development and planning process.  As the simplification of shapes and images are necessary for a successful print, this then puts colour as a major component in the success of the message I am trying to convey.

TASK 2 project 12

“You really have taken on the world with this theme Gina!

You have produced technically able and well inked collagraph prints .You have a lot of pressure on these prints, I’m presuming you have access to a press. You need to set the pressure to the highest surface on your plate or board to run through the rollers. The paper is nearly ripped! You are showing very good inking skills at avoiding oozing and uneven inking.

I recommend reflecting further on how you use and mix printing ink. Oil mixes very well. I would take some more time honing your colour pallet .You have picked a vibrant and bold colour pallete. I’m unsure if this reflects the message of the work.

Language has inspired you to the make these prints I’m curious as to why you didn’t include text? Donald Trump has caused such controversy by his choice words these ‘quotes’ may have proved more powerful than being representational in your approach.”

Three points to tackle here. Firstly, the pressure used when printing. I had to smile when I read that I may have access to a press. Unfortunately, I don’t at the moment. When taking the first couple of prints, I used a combination of a clean roller and the heel of my hand to make the impression. It became obvious that I was losing a lot of the texture and ink between the collage materials and the prints were looking “empty”. From then on, I used the same as before, plus my thumbs and fingers to negotiate the lumps and bumps beneath the paper. Some aspects needed such intense pressure my hands were throbbing! It was just my sheer over enthusiastic attempts to eek out as much detail as possible that almost tore the paper. I had soaked and blotted the paper prior to printing and this helped enormously, although I realised I had to ease off a bit as it was rubbing away the damp surface.

The issue of colour again. I had actually tried to incorporate the choice of palette in the design, however, it may have missed the spot on the final image of the three in particular. I had considered more sombre colours ie greys, heavy purples and blues and these did find their way into the final print. The problem was conveying the “warming” aspect of global warming. I spent a long time looking at the different colour treatments of the prints for the final image. I think the second print may have had the right tone for the sky, in that it looks more foreboding. I rejected it because of the ridges that appeared – I think from the overly thick layers of glue on the block. I also thought the foreground was not strong enough. In the final print for the last image, I now think – with hind sight, that the yellow was too prominent and “sunny” in character. If the setting sun was more red, it would have been more dramatic and “angrier” against a darker sky. So on reflection, I had considered the colour quite a bit, but have not really made the best choices to fully illustrate the message.

The last point was regarding the omission of text. I did touch on adding it within my idea development, although, I think my main concern bubbling around in my head, was how to incorporate it within a collagraph. I tried it out in a thumbnail in my sketchbook, but it looked more like something that would work in a linocut rather than a collagraph. Maybe I should have taken up the challenge? … Why on earth did I not even think about using the man’s tweets as quotes??? I still can’t believe I missed that!

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

”  You are using your sketchbook like it’s a really important part of your process and thinking. It’s good to see you combine text, evaluative reflection and visual ideas in this book. As you develop you may wish to build on your imagery – by this I mean work out as many methods and compositions for your concepts through experiments and drawing as you can. Reflect upon why you reject something and not other ideas.

You have a great deal of pencil drawings in this book I would vary this to include biro and fine line pens. This will give a different energy to the drawing.”

I think I am beginning to work out variations of my ideas and am more open to changing my mind and swapping ideas around and documenting it in my sketchbook, although I need to reflect more on those decisions.

I will try and use other drawing materials and not just pencil. I will need to put these out ready to hand as once I get going, I just pick up the nearest thing to draw with and that’s usually a pencil, but yes, varying line will help put life into my thoughts.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context

” I spent a good while looking at your log trying to find a ‘response to tutor feedback’ section. I might have just not seen it. This may help you reflect upon what’s written and if you wish to reject or include actions in your new work. I would also look in detail at the artists recommended.

Squeak Carnwath maybe of interest to you for the way she uses objects and her approach to painting, selection and composition.

http://www.squeakcarnwath.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSPWbgdkqj8

The point regarding responses to tutor feedback is a very valid one. I do look at the suggestions and follow them up but am lax at documenting this. I have rectified this now by creating a Tutor Feedback – Response and Reflection tab in the menu under Printing 1 – Introduction to Printing. I have retrospectively documented responses for each assignment of this course, which incidentally has been very useful coming up to Part Five as many of the techniques will be revisited here. I will continue to add this under subsequent courses.

Squeak Carnwarth – I can see why my tutor thought this artist may interest me. Apart from the mountain of quality work spanning four decades – the use of text, the incredulity of DT being POTUS, the inspiration of song titles and lyrics and probably many more things that my initial perusal has missed. I like the return to familiar motifs and themes, the reworking and multiple layers. I will have to return to her many times I’m sure.

I enjoyed the video – I always like to see and hear artists in their studios, watching them work and hearing how they think. Very interesting to hear that she never plans her work (I’m a serial planner!), yet she won’t entertain any other method than paint. Even as she said this, a lot of the work appeared to be collage, but it is all paint!

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

“Have a look at the Guerrilla girls and how they use text and graphic imagery to discuss and protest. They also have a response to Donald Trump’s policies.

https://www.guerrillagirls.com/projects/

Barbara Kruger is a pivotal artist for combing text and image

http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/64897

Guerilla Girls – Informative but extremely depressing. Things have not moved on much have they! The graffiti wall of quotes (was not aware of most of them prior) was horrific. It certainly is an eye opener and a catalyst for future themes.

Barbara Kruger – Although I understand why it was suggested I look at this artist, I found her work did not speak to me as much as I thought it would. Maybe I’m a bit “researched” out at the moment. I did save a few images to Pinterest for future viewing ie: “Your Comfort is my Silence”, “Questions” and “You Make History When You Do Business”. These provoked the most reaction in me at the time.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making. Keep asking yourself what am I making work about and why. You could introduce mind maps to expand you thinking.
  • Make your themes [personal voice] more overt in your log.
  • Spend some time writing up a reflection on feedback and the suggested artists .Are they of interest and why or not?
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery include biro and marker pens in your line work.
  • The next assignment is combination printing with chine colle, this is a collage type process involving glue. You may find Japanese rice glue the easiest and most effective. Some of my other students have found pritt stick glue effective as well

http://intaglioprintmaker.com/shop/japanese-rice-paste-nori

I like the idea of Mind Maps – even as a finished piece.

The other points are in my mind for next time and onwards.

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Three

12/07/17

Retrospective Response and Reflection on Assignment Three

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

 

 Task 1 [project 8]

This is an ambitious lino print with 2 images requiring good technical skills as they mirror each other on the paper. Your choice of paper is excellent as is the space you have given each image to breathe. This demonstrates a good understanding of composition. Your choice of text although autobiographical is powerful and poignant and therefore resonates with a wider audience.

I attach a link to contemporary artists that make work incorporating image and text – this may be something worth expanding on

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2009/aug/04/words-book-text-art

There is a great book, if you can get a copy cheaply, that contextualizes the relationship of image and word, showcasing many artists that explore and expand on these possibilities. Art and Text, Aimee Selby, Dave Beech, Charles Harrison, Will Hill

https://www.waterstones.com/book/art-and-text/aimee-selby/dave-beech/9781910433188

I read you are disappointed with inconsistency of printing, practice makes perfect and out of quantity comes quality. With reduction print I would advise printing at least 10 prints and hope by the end 1 is perfect.

This has been an exciting project and could lead to even more advancement with text if it’s something you wish to follow-up.

I personally was pleased with the text aspect of this print, although I wasn’t entirely sure if it was “cheating”. I really must get out of this purist mind-set – for that is what it is. I remember being told very distinctly that I should not use white in a watercolour painting, I should not use black paint at all, I must not colour outside the lines etc etc. Why not? I must question more! Anyway, hopefully the book mentioned by my tutor is winging its way to me and I am excited to see how text can be an image too and how other artists have incorporated it.

I have also created a Pinterest board called Text in Art for pieces that have text in or as art. I have included the artists noted in the Guardian article. Most of these are using text as art rather than just within it. I am not wholly sure if I like this as much as using it to enhance an image, mainly because mostly they come across as comedic to me. Not that I mind that, it maybe seems more shallow? I will have to source some more examples, maybe I react to the more ironic?

I have kept the possibility of including text in mind, and as these are retrospective responses, I can say that I considered it for Assignment 4, but at the time could not see it working.

 TASK 2 project 9

“You have used quite an array of unconventional cutting tools evident on your blog for this task. Looking at those implements I’m astonished the outcome is so delicate!

I’m a little perplexed by the quality of surface of the print, but I think the marks haven’t indented into the lino/surface enough to cut a mark away. You have certainly been diligent in your experimentation .You have also achieved good inking. I can see from your blog you are having trouble sourcing materials on Lanzarote – you are doing very well with what you have managed to find. I’m interested to know what inks you are using? These are giving you slightly unconventional results for block inks.

You may wish to work further into this block even adding a word to each rectangle!”

I always enjoy the experimentation of mark making with random and found implements. It is never predictable. The inks I’ve used were brought from the UK and are oil based Sakura Japanese inks. I only have four colours, Red (19), Yellow (3), Prussian Blue (43) and Black (49). Unfortunately, Prussian Blue is the only blue I could get at the time, it is a strong colour but hasn’t caused too much of a problem so far. My other option is to use oil paint to mix, and I usually add linseed oil to the inks so this helps them blend nicely, particularly Titanium White. I also have some water-based inks by Speedball (which I may be able to have delivered here) in some interesting colours ie Brown 3606, Orange 3607, and Copper 3616. These have been useful, particularly when I was monoprinting and for some of the lino prints. I also have a small, fast disappearing tube of Black 3400 in the same range. If a larger range of colours is needed, I brought a tub of Daley Rowney System 3 Block Printing Medium with me from the UK to mix with (freely available) acrylic paint. This has been a life saver, although it is a challenge using acrylic at times in this heat, even with the medium! Unfortunately, I am also halfway through the tub but I am hopeful I will be able to order this online – fingers crossed. So far I’ve only come across one other printmaker here but that was before I completely moved over, so I didn’t think to ask where she got her materials from. Everyone else I work with are either painters, sculptors, photographers or potters – I will maintain the search for the holy grail of printing materials!

TASK 3 project 10

“You have resumed imagery developing personal themes and interests for this task. I like your reference to freedom of speech as a theme in your blog. I’m wondering if further experiments with text and words would have resulted in more powerful work for you. There is nothing wrong with obsession.

I quite like the dreamlike quality achieved in this print. Your choice of paper is excellent and is helping the ink .I’m interested in your choice of colour’s, scale of work and movement achieved. I’m unsure if the ‘world’ shapes are needed they are somewhat obvious.”

I did respond to this in an addition to my assignment reflection, of which I have added an excerpt here:

From my tutor’s feedback, I now feel that I was too close to the print result to really assess it clearly. The feedback was positive on the paper used and how it helped the inks work better. Regarding the image itself, it was interesting to see that the elements I perceived as “wrong” or not working were the elements that worked better for my tutor, with the planet shapes considered possibly being too obvious. I actually see that myself now and as I review the prints, I am more positive about them. Instead of re-working for this assignment, I think I will leave this as a moment in time and return to the subject in another project. My tutor is keen for me to explore more text and words in my work and I think this would be an interesting route to explore further.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

  “You are using your sketchbook very well and clearly demonstrate emerging themes and concepts that feed your visual work. You may wish to expand on these further by including bibliographies and references around your thinking. I really like your use of thumbnail sketches that explore imagery before committing to print, this is working extremely well for you. I would expand on this even more – you may wish to use tracing paper to copy bits of the images and overlay these with others to form new patterns and shapes. I would push your choice of imagery even further in the sketchbook. By this I mean expanding on imagery for your concepts and working out as many different ways of representing ideas visually as you can think of. Continue to combine reflective text with imagery as you are doing.”

This is interesting – I read this at the time, however, I didn’t really think I had absorbed it. However, as mentioned, this is a retrospective response, it appears to have subliminally filtered through. I say this, because in assignment 4:

  • I began to note books and sites I had referenced in my sketchbook
  • Used tracings to place over drawings to expand the ideas
  • Used drawings to explore different paths for an idea before deciding on the final images

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context

” For development I would recommend a greater amount of text around your chosen themes [personal voice] this text in many ways should be as detailed as your process text. You could develop your bibliography and research sources here.

It may help you to look at how reviews of exhibitions are written to look at the language used. I attach a few-

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/oct/25/paul-nash-review-pain-wonder-menace-tate-britain-london

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/feb/12/david-hockney-tate-britain-review-retrospective “

I am beginning to include the personal voice aspect of my ideas and their development in my Learning Log. However, I completely agree that I shy away from referencing research sources and influences. I will try and include these points in future reflection as well as sketchbook work.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

Have a look at how artists are using text with imagery, there are so many good artists I name but a few –

Roni Horn

https://art21.org/read/roni-horn-words-and-pictures/

Tracey Emin

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/emin-exploration-of-the-soul-t11887

Ian Breakwell

https://artmap.com/ianbreakwell#_f0y6b

Kurt Schwitters

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/kurt-schwitters-1912

Scarlette Homeshaw works extensively in reduction techniques cutting small areas of lino away before printing again her work is heavily layered. You may find her imagery interesting.

http://www.scarlette-homeshaw.com/kent-collection

I have captured, where I can, some of the images for my Pinterest board – Text in Art for future reference. Whilst looking at some of the suggested sites in this feedback I have had sparks of inspiration and noted them down in my notebook for future themes. This is what I have been missing, noting sudden light bulb ideas for future reference! I was particularly smacked between the eyes by an image by Ian Breakwell called Maxim 2003. The coloured pencil drawing was simply a circle with the words along the curve internally “It is better to be hemmed in” and at the bottom curve, externally, “than to be hemmed out”!! Now what aspect of current affairs could that possibly illustrate, I wonder????

I was completely captivated by the stunning work of Scarlette Homeshaw – absolutely beautiful – I will return to it.

Pointers for the next assignment

 

  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making. Keep asking yourself what am I making work about and why.
  • Make your themes [personal voice] more overt in your log.
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery and compositions further.
  • Reflect further on your choice of colour and include this in your reflections.
  • The next assignments focuses on collagraph – be aware that sometimes less is more when placing shapes and collage materials on a surface, its easy to get carried away sticking. The results can lead to an inky mess without planning and control. Begin with ideas and keep exploring your themes that will lead to more sophisticated work.
  • Take multiple prints from your plates exploring different colour options.

I will continue following this advice – particularly now focusing on colour – again as retrospective, I know this comes up again!

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Two

11/07/17

Retrospective Response and Reflection on Assignment Two

Demonstration of technical and visual skills, quality of outcome, demonstration of creativity

Task 1 (Project 5)

“It is very easy to underestimate the skill required to make good quality lino prints. The inking would be improved further with better quality paper even a 200g cartridge paper would help the quality of your work. This clip by arches papers may help you understand the impact of paper on a print. I’m not advocating you spend a fortune but even a thicker cartridge would help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSJO9ctCi5A “

I watched the above video and began to understand how the quality of the paper can really affect the printing results. The sizing and weight of the paper makes a big difference.  Since then I have considered which paper to use consciously, using Somerset printing paper, heavy weight water-colour paper and quality, heavy weight cartridge. All have given me much better results with subtle differences that I am beginning to recognise and exploit.

“Angela Cavalieri’s large scale lino work shows incredible skill at cutting and printing it’s worth watching this video to help with technique.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0oWrgfd9iE&nohtml5=False “

I watched this video several times with incredulity, I hadn’t even considered it possible to product prints of such dimensions and not putting pieces together like this. I, of course, do not have the space or a ready and willing band of helpers to add press and reveal the print. However, it has opened my mind to possibilities. In addition, I like the fact that if a section does not print perfectly, it is fine to fill in with ink afterwards, and also to paint in the background colour. I did find a reference to this video in my blog here ,  under Preparing Your Design.

Task 3 (Project 7)

“The work presented for project 7 is a leap in sophistication from the other prints submitted. The bird motif is well composed and despite your critical writings you have mastered the technical requirements of lino printing extremely well. I would consider further your choice of colour in these prints. They are tonally similar in strength, have you considered adding more white to one of these colours? There are many more options compositionally that could be achieved from these plates either through the use of colour or placement of the blocks. Reflect how these images could be read by a viewer and are these achieving your intentions? The imagery is quite beautiful but ‘safe’.

It would help you to develop more drawings and thumbnail sketches in your sketchbook before deciding on your compositions and symbols. Draw them quickly using a biro just to get ideas down on paper before making a print.”

The multi-block lino print had to be very carefully planned, thought through, cut and registered. With all this, I must confess, other than reproducing similar colours to those I saw in front of me, I hadn’t overly considered them.  It is another aspect to add to the list! Other than mixing red and yellow to create orange and layering the blue over the yellow to hopefully achieve green, I hadn’t thought any more. My supply of oil based inks is very limited as I bought the primary colours whilst still in the UK. I didn’t think to order white – I thought I just left the paper showing! How “green” was I!? Anyway, going forwards, I just added Titanium White oil paint and, so far, have got away with it. I am having trouble sourcing oil based printing inks here on the island. Although there are legends of two more art shops in the capital of Arrecife, I haven’t yet physically found them in the maze of old streets. The only one I have found, (after some tricky language barriers – Spanish for printing inks is tintas de imprenta apparently), the answer was “No”. By that time whether they be oil or water based was irrelevant. Online ordering is also drawing a blank for delivery to the Canary Islands of oil based inks. So for now – it’s all I have – I will have to use my paints to expand my palette.

Again, I see that I need to think about my themes/subjects more carefully. Why am I making this, what am I trying to say? The suggestion of using more thumbnails and development of ideas in my sketchbook fired me up and now it is a crucial part of my work process. It helps me work through fledgling ideas and move them on to something that may work in print. I can make decisions, change my mind, prove myself wrong or right before committing to the print block.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and visual skills, demonstration of creativity

“Your sketchbook is developing with each task .You are displaying new conceptual ideas emerging for future projects. Continue to combine reflective text with imagery.

You have extremely competent drawing skills that I would continue to use a source of inspiration and development. I would recommend before launching into making a print produce further drawings around the idea first. There is always more than one way to represent an idea and multiple ways to deconstruct a composition.”

Response as above.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical Essays

Context

“You may be interested in the work of Jackie Berridge who has explored themes around power and control using animals to discuss her narratives in an unnerving manner. I especially like her drawings with donkeys. These are extremely powerful and moving.

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/drawing/2011/silly-ass.html

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/drawing/2011/Sad-Cow.html

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/canvas.htm

 

Your writing also reminds me of Marcelle Hanselaar’s work.

http://marcellehanselaar.com/etchings-2015-crying-game/

 

For improvement reflect upon the artists you are researching and ask yourself how and why their work, methods or thinking influences your own strategies for making.”

Jackie Burridge – I must admit that I did look at these when I received my report but didn’t quite get it then. I think my tutor is more in tune with where I was heading than I was at the time. Now I look at these, particularly the drawings and understand or interpret them in a way that means something to me. The crowd mentality, not accepting anything/one that is different ie “Birds of a feather, flock together!”. This is particularly prevalent in today’s social media society and, I think I alluded to that during my work reflections. With regards to the paintings, it was a shame I couldn’t expand them to see the work in detail, however, a couple made me smile and ponder, these I’ve added to my Pinterest Contemporary Printmakers board – even though they are not actually prints. It was interesting to see the initial drawings that would become the paintings.

Marcelle Hanselaar – The Crying Game series of etchings is hard-hitting and extremely thought-provoking. I see now why my tutor drew parallels with my writing about possible themes and subjects. There is a lot about the exploitation and value placed upon women, however, we can see women as symbolic of all of the disadvantaged, innocent and manipulated. Not that I think women are all these things as individuals but as a perceived global whole, those of us who are “lucky” enough to be in forward thinking, fairly safe environments are shielded from much of what goes on – or are we? Who knows what goes on behind closed doors. A powerful and limitless theme. Marcelle’s etchings are fabulous at putting across the pain, the inner strength, the struggles, the injustice – I hope to be able to emulate the simplicity of the image that clearly expresses the complexity of the subject. A very big ask, but the challenge is laid down!

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

 

“Jackie Berridge for themes around power involving women.

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk

 

Marcelle Hanselaar’s work for powerful use of themes in contemporary printmaking.

 

Ana Marie Pacheco for symbolism and narratives in work

http://www.prattcontemporaryart.co.uk/ana-maria-pacheco-2/

Ana Marie Pacheco – This artist can certainly tell a story, in paint, sculpture and print! Her sculptures were very disturbing, particularly for me, The Banquet and The Man and His Sheep, especially given their size. Her print series were all exceptional and full of meaning – I have to admit that I was not familiar with some of the stories/themes used for inspiration. However, the ones to which I could relate to more, were “There Was This Jaguar”, a common tale where a majestic beast is brought down by humankind because of perceived fear and danger, “The Miraculous Journey” following journey of the vixen from fear of the unknown, her manipulation and exploitation through to her discovery of herself and realisation of her dream, “Domestic Scenes” which were anything but the visions that may spring to mind from the title, no domestic bliss here but again, exploitation and dominance over the weak.

Pointers for the next assignment

 

  • Continue to reflect on the wider context of your work, keep asking yourself why and what is it about?
  • Continue to use your log in a reflective and evaluative way
  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making.
  • Reflect upon the scale and shape of your work are your images this shape because that’s how the lino was sold in the packet?
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery.”

Am taking these forward with all projects.

Tutor Feedback – Assignment One

Retrospective Response & Reflection on Assignment 1

Demonstration of technical and visual skills, quality of outcome, demonstration of creativity

Task 1

You may like to research the work of Terry Frost and Richard Diebenkorn, particularly for their use of colour, composition and work that is both abstract but rooted in figuration.

I can remember looking at these artists’ work in relation to this feedback, and may have made notes in my sketchbook. I need to re-visit them for this purpose.

Sir Terry Frost – As soon as I saw the images, they came alive in my memory again. Beautiful vivid colours and designs. As Terry Frost was one of the Newlyn artists in Cornwall, there is a strong sense of the sea, boats, and dramatic skies. His compositions have movement and action with a lively feel.

Richard Diebenkorn – This was an interesting suggestion as I had been to the 2015 RA Exhibition of his work. I hadn’t immediately thought of him as an influence for printmaking, which is now a strange thing to say, as these are all images, just created in different ways. This made me pull things together rather than compartmentalise according to media. I had enjoyed the exhibition, a little extract of my write up:

“I have to admit, I am true to my roots, in that I particularly loved the representative work, the life drawings, the figures, they all had so much energy, I enjoyed the workings over and over. I thought the still life in interiors were great (maybe because that is where I’m up to in my course – the negative shapes that built the structure and the patterns that weren’t ignored but celebrated as an excuse for more colour).  I was drawn to the “Ashtray and Doors” 1962, such a simple, almost throw away subject but it was beautiful and had narrative (no smoking ban in those days!).

In my humble opinion, I came away thinking that Richard Diebenkorn was a master in composition and colour, my example would be “Cityscape #1” 1963.  It has pattern, light and shapes that are recognisable yet don’t have to be – it makes sense to me, the flattened perspective works and still somehow manages to represent distance.  The seemingly cross over work, abstract-representative-abstract, is accepted by my brain, I’m getting a few steps closer! Looking at those of the Ocean Park series that were displayed, I did struggle, I warm to curves rather than angles and straight lines. However, I was drawn to the Ocean Park #27 painting for some time – there was more to it than geometric shapes, I liked the under painting and reworked lines and shapes – I felt absorbed but am not sure why.”

Task 3

“You are exploring multiple subject matters in the prints displayed, it will be worth reflecting on what really inspires you to make-work so you can begin to develop your artist identify. Try to push an image further and further with experimentation and possibly into abstraction. If you have access to a photocopier blow and image up 200% and continue to do this with each new image until its completely unrecognisable. It will give you an opportunity to develop something quickly.

You may be interested in the work of Pat Steir and Prunella Clough both for how they develop ideas into work

http://www.cheimread.com/artists/pat-steir  “

I started off looking at Pat Steir’s work and added to my Pinterest board of Contemporary Printmakers at the time of my feedback report. I have revisited and found a few videos that touch on her creation process. https://www.revolvy.com/topic/Pat+Steir&stype=videos

The above video is a little long winded an explanation but it explains the balance or partnership between experimentation and process.

Having just looked at the printmaking of Prunella Clough – I think I may have missed researching this artist and printmaker at the time – I have been inspired to continue with my climate change them (Assignment 4). Many of Prunella’s prints make me think of overhead  or birdseye views that I may explore, with layers of colour and texture.

I have created a Pinterest board for Contemporary Printmakers.

Context

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical Essays

“Your log is an excellent example of your organisation. Your process and challenges are clearly charted. You reflect well on artists that have underpinned process. This log could be developed to include greater reflection on your ideas and context of images.”

My Learning Log has been developing with me and I am including more of my thought processes within it, rather than just relying on my sketchbook notes.

“Pointers for the next assignment

  • Continue to use your sketchbook as an integral part of your process.
  • Continue your log but try to add more reflection on themes and context of subject matter
  • Reflect more fully on the wider context of your work and what you are making work about.
  • Think about developing your subject matter”

My sketchbook is my “go to” tool for  brainstorming, developing, and experimenting with ideas.

As mentioned above, my Learning Log has become not just a record for the processes, outcomes and assignments but I am beginning to build in more reflection on what and why I decide to make my work about. I am bringing “me” into the process.

My subject matter is becoming more personal and therefore I have many routes I could take, if I don’t follow some at a particular time, I can always revisit and push it further.

All in all, I am very happy with this first Tutor Report and have many things to consider for the next part of the course.

 

Tutor Feedback – Response and Reflection – Introduction

11/07/17

Introduction to this Section: Tutor Feedback – Response and Reflection

This has been an area where, from having read somewhere that it was not desirable to post your tutor feedback without their permission, I have neglected to at least respond to areas formally. Previously I had alluded to feedback and subliminally applied advice that was given, but not categorically responded or reflected upon it in my Learning Log.

This is in itself a response to my last feedback – as my tutor struggled to find any cross referencing to any previous comments. To be honest, so did I, although I have viewed suggested video, artists and taken advice on board, it is very sketchily documented if at all.

In an effort to rectify this, I have created this section to note suggested actions and processes and my responses. I fear I can only apply this to my current course of Printmaking 1, and will try and back track to previous reports. What I find I will document, however, retrospectively it may not be of the quality I would like, but from here on (Printmaking 1 – Assignment 4), I will include this in my Learning Log process.

Abstract Painting Classes

January – May 2017

Abstract Classes

I had the chance to join in weekly abstract classes here on the island. There was a core group of three students who attended regularly, with others jumping in for various weeks depending on their stays in Lanzarote. This in itself is interesting as abstract painting is so subjective, it was fascinating to witness how different the students’ interpretations of similar themes were to one another. Two of the other students had been attending the classes for a couple of months before me and had come to grips with certain aspects, whereas I was a total novice. My only foray into this genre was a couple of projects in the Practice of Painting course, however, these were very basic.

Initially, we looked at various abstract artists’ work in books to see what sort of things appealed to us. I was drawn to colour, especially red, and more loosely worked paintings. Some of the many artists we looked at over the weeks were Frank Stella, Sonia Delaunay, David Hockney, Frank Marc and Vasily Kandinsky.

Action shots taken and kindly allowed to be reproduced her by photographer and tutor Betty Rawson.

Mindlessness

I was so out of my comfort zone it was almost frightening – I had to forget everything I relied on – observation, sketching, planning – and let my mind go. I found I didn’t trust my colour sense anymore and, to be honest, began to think I never had any! Our first lesson was drawing random shapes and adding colour. I really struggled, I didn’t know what I was doing – I didn’t have an end result in my mind to work towards… but there was no going back!

The next week promised to be more fun. Our initial class of five dropped to four, our two experienced students and another novice and myself. We had been warned that we would be outside in a field so to come prepared . This was January in Lanzarote, so although warm enough, it was windy and we had previously had some rain so trainers, jeans, fleeces and aprons/coveralls were the order of the day. We advanced, armed with rolls of paper, brushes, pots of water, water-soluble paints and canvases, everything had to be weighed down with stones and insects had to be discouraged from landed in the paint.

We began with a long roll of paper between two and just splashed, dribbled, splattered and daubed to our hearts content for the first hour. We then set up our canvases and with a little more thought, began to make our paintings.

Field work for abstract course - experimental mark making and beginning my first canvas

Field work for abstract course – experimental mark making and beginning my first canvas

The painting on the canvas above was worked on over a few sessions…

Third session on the Squares and Circles canvas

Third session on the Squares and Circles canvas

A bit more work was done on this, along with some glazing with a dilute PVA substitute tinted with various colours.

Squares and Circles - maybe finished, maybe overworked - still not sure which way up I prefer it. Interesting start though.

Squares and Circles – maybe finished, maybe overworked – still not sure which way up I prefer it. Interesting start though.

Time to move on – we had another experimental session with a small piece of work made with sticking coloured shapes. Some shapes were cut from paper we’d painted and some from patterned paper and magazines. Again, I floundered – my fellow student below was doing so well as her colour sense was developing beautifully – in the beginning, it always took me until 20 minutes before the end of the class for me to “get it”.

Cutting, colouring and sticking shapes onto small card to make small abstracts as reference for a painting.

Cutting, colouring and sticking shapes onto small card to make small abstracts as reference for a painting.

Following our planning and experimental stage we took reference from this to begin our next painting…

I called this Wash Day in the end as it reminded me of clothes being blown about on washing line.

I called this Wash Day in the end as it reminded me of clothes being blown about on washing line.

We always had a little critique at the end of a session and regarding the above, we all thought that the dark shape in the middle was trying to dominate. This, however, was not necessarily a bad thing as a little challenge in an image can work – we nicknamed this challenge the “Party Pooper” as it’s trying to suck the joy out of the rest of the painting.

The weather was lovely so another outside session for us today. We started with a warm up by using brushes on the end of sticks and made marks paint on paper. The sticks were heavy and it was more like sword fighting at times. In fact my brush broke and had to be taped back together at one point. It certainly loosened us up for our canvas though.

Extended brush painting, outside. This was fun and bordered on dangerous at times but a good warm up exercise!

Extended brush painting, outside. This was fun and bordered on dangerous at times but a good warm up exercise!

Using the garden around us as inspiration, not to mention the fabulous view of the mountain in the distance, we began our main event canvas. This was worked on for a few weeks worth of classes and has a little more to be done for improvement. Many methods of mark making were employed in it, from wiggling a paint laden brush in a semi-uncontrolled way across the entire canvas, to drips and runs being blown and guided by turning the canvas this way and that. It has been glazed with dilute PVA with an orange tint several times. The shape and size of the canvas gave the painting a little more scope for experimentation.

This has had many interpretations in the class, what started out as a garden/bougainvillea inspired piece of work has become darker with wicked forest, to horses galloping across it carrying knights...

This has had many interpretations in the class, what started out as a garden/Bougainvillea inspired piece of work has become darker with wicked forest, to horses galloping across it carrying knights…

I was going to give this another heading, however, it still does come under Mindlessness.  In this week’s class, we were to bring a piece of music that made us feel something. We had a pretty full class for this one, five of us at our work stations with ear phones listening to different music and just painting – making marks that we felt came from our music. Nobody knew what the other was listening to. We worked on our canvases for most of the class and at the end, we looked at each other’s work, listening to the music that inspired it. It was fascinating as we were in a larger class than usual, yet we were completely absorbed in our own world of music and paint.

I titled this after the music I was listening to - Titanium. The track I chose was Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia.

I titled this after the music I was listening to – Titanium. The track I chose was Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia.

I felt that it was about overcoming outside negative influences, being independent and pushing yourself upwards and onwards – never giving up.

The range of music was vast, from my dance track, to a gentle classic piece, to an African uplifting beat and vocal, to an oriental and mystical composition. We could all see the influences from each in our paintings, although we would never have guessed what they were.

Themes and Where to Start

This week we were down to two of us – I think everyone else knew how tough this would be! Our challenge – whether we chose to accept it or not, was to make a self-portrait – not only abstract but in 3-D. Back to square one then! After looking at each other blankly for a few minutes, we started looking through magazines, patterned papers and other bits and pieces for images, textures, colours that appealed to us and that may be descriptive of us. Even this was really difficult for me. I started cutting and ripping things out and gathered a pile of samples of stuff! We made a base, which we could either paint or cover in other papers. We then began building our self-portrait. This was really tricky, the only things I could fixate on were colours I liked and chocolate! Anyway, this is what I came up with – not very impressive I know…

3-D Self Portrait - is what it's meant to be, but even though I made it and it's about me - I don't get it!

3-D Self Portrait – is what it’s meant to be, but even though I made it and it’s about me – I don’t get it!

This week, I was allowed some comfort back. We were allowed to draw a still life!!! My turn to be happy and for my lovely classmates to groan :0)

Betty had set up a still life of an orchid, with a starfish, a lantern and a few knickknacks. It was actually quite complicated as we had a few minutes to draw it from one angle, and then move around to capture others. Fairly straightforward, but the first few were to be without lifting the pencil, charcoal, pastel or whatever from the paper. (Even more groans from the back – my revenge was complete!)

The last drawing was to be done without looking at the paper – and just to make sure – we had to use white oil pastel! Once this was done, we took our white on white drawings to the table and, using watercolour paint, we were to put down whichever colours we liked, wherever we liked on the drawing. The point being that the paint would be repelled by the oil pastel wherever it met. Unfortunately, I got carried away and decided I wanted a wet in wet effect. The paper was dampened with water and paint added. It seemed that the extra water didn’t allow the oil pastel to resist the paint so well, so my first attempt was a fail…

Overly dampened paper with watercolour on oil pastel

Overly dampened paper with watercolour on oil pastel

 

So, much to the consternation of my fellow classmate, who had done the same, we had to redraw in white oil pastel and start again.

This time, I ensured that the pastel was thicker, although I couldn’t look at it, and did not pre-dampen the paper.

Watercolour was added randomly at first and the resist from the oil pastel was much more successful. I then swapped to a finer brush and traced some of the lines left from the resist. This was very therapeutic and satisfying, and illustrated how something representational could be used to create an abstract work.

 

 

Still Life Orchid in white oil pastel to resist watercolour

Still Life Orchid in white oil pastel to resist watercolour (with a surprise dolphin!)

More drawing this week! We had a plate of peppers plus some other edible items that I can not remember – and as they were abstracted, the drawings don’t help!!

Our method of beginning an abstract painting this time, was to draw the shapes we saw, no particular detail and no tone, just shapes. We made three large thumbnails on a piece of paper and working in shades of black, white and grey, roughly filled in shapes that we had drawn or added.

Monotone shapes drawn from still life - peppers etc

Monotone shapes drawn from still life – peppers etc

I felt that no one of my drawings was what I wanted, so amalgamated all three into something more pleasing to me as below:

Amalgamation of thumbnail sketches

Amalgamation of thumbnail sketches

The drawing was transferred onto some gesso coated hardboard 62 x 45 cm and then painted in acrylic, again with shades of black, white and grey. This is not yet finished but I’m looking forward to working on it again.

Large painting from thumbnail sketch

Large painting from thumbnail sketch

In our final lesson of the term, our last method of starting an abstract painting was to use colour. We had to think of an occasion or event that had a big impact on our lives. With that in mind, we had to relate that to a colour. We then mixed some tones of that colour and made a swatch of those tones on a piece of paper. When we had done that, we needed a contrast colour with mixed tones to add to the paper as below:

My swatch of emotive colour tones with its contrasting colour tones.

My swatch of emotive colour tones with its contrasting colour tones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, I had not brought a canvas with me, so had to use a spare one of Betty’s which was only 20cm square. Although, I probably wouldn’t have finished anything bigger in one session. The event that had a dramatic impact on me was related to water. Specifically, my first experience of a water slide into a pool when I was about ten years old. Prior to this, I was a complete “water baby”, and couldn’t wait to have a go. Not really knowing what to expect, I got in line with everyone else and was soon skidding down towards the water. The complete, all-encompassing wave of water that engulfed me, took me completely by surprise and I barely managed to surface and recover. I still like swimming but have a fear of being out of my depth and overly choppy water, be it in a pool or sea.

Water Shock

Water Shock

That’s all for this term but I am looking forward to the next one.

What I’ve taken away from this is that, I need to let go of the controlled way of working sometimes and go with what I feel rather than what I see in front of me. Art is an emotive and subjective form of expression and if it’s not created with feeling then I can not expect it to be viewed with feeling.

 

Assignment 4 – Collatype Collage Block Prints

27/06/17

Assignment 4 – Collatype Collage Block Prints

Task 1 (Project 11)

Present two prints of your textured collage test block with a descriptive statement

Descriptive Statement

Test block sectioned with items glued down ready for sealing

Test block sectioned with items glued down ready for sealing

 

The materials are listed from left to right, top row first.

Number one, the double stripped trim printed well and depending on the pressure used when inking, gave a variety of marks ranging from parallel fine lines, to more solid, thicker ones. It was easily malleable into shapes and could be twisted for interesting patterns.

Number two, the textured knitting yarn printed as a broken line mostly which occasionally linked up, it was very flexible even more so than number one.

Number three, the wide gauge embroidery mesh was stiff and unyielding, its main properties were that it gave a distinctive grid and could therefore mimic harder substances such as iron mesh or bars. It could easily be cut into specific shapes and would stay stable when being glued.

Number four, the gauze bandage was extremely easy to manipulate. It could be stretched, twisted, laid flat or layered and easily frayed at its edges. It could give the impression of flowing movement and shapes and was particularly useful for describing tone. I was a little disappointed with the straight relief inking with the black ink, however, when inking with a dabber and wiping, the results could be very versatile.

Number five, the ribbon. This was great to use as it was flat and the longer strip lent itself to being twisted and was still sufficiently stuck down with the glue. It worked well with the relief printing but I particularly liked the effect when the ink was gently wiped away to some extent. This then gave lovely highlights and really replicated a silky texture with the edges being more defined.

Number six, the bubble wrap was quite interesting particularly where the polythene creased. I was less drawn to the more solid bubble shapes than I was the twisted and stretched appearance. It was also flexible enough to twist although it needed a fair amount of glue to stabilise it. From this I think I would also like to try using some cling film, scrunched, twisted or creased

Number seven, the netting used to package supermarket fruit was a great texture. It was similar, although stronger to the gauze bandage and wouldn’t fray. It would particularly print well with the black ink and gave a random texture that could be very useful.

Number eight, I was unsure as to what results the handmade paper would achieve. It is a lovely texture that when torn, behaves almost like fabric in the way that it frays. I have used it before in mixed media painting where water-soluble paint clings to the frayed edges in an interesting way, hence my trying it here. In effect, it gave a nice texture but in a way that the source was not identifiable.

Number nine, the buttons were a fun addition, although, they really did just look like printed buttons so maybe not as versatile as the other materials.

Number ten, the dress making pins printed much better than I anticipated although again as the buttons, I don’t think I would use them very often.

Number eleven, dried spaghetti also printed well. This could be really useful where straight lines are called for, they can be broken into different lengths, used at angles, spaced apart or brought close together for texture.

Number twelve, porridge oats. I had obviously raided the kitchen cupboards for these few materials. These were a little disappointing in pure relief yet with more ink added and wiped, they could be useful for textures and tone, and also for using in conjunction with other similar materials of differing sizes (see number fifteen).

Number thirteen, long grain rice is a hard substance when raw and is surprisingly random when printed, great for texture, tone and highlights if wiped. The grains also printed very cleanly when printed in relief.

Number fourteen, Florists’ Winter Fauna is the name on the packet. a useful dried bundle of organic matter that florists use to enhance display designs. Theoretically, it could be used as a collage material in a clump or pulled apart to separate the strands as here. However, although it printed well the main challenge is getting it to adhere to the block as it is so curly and not overly flexible.

Number fifteen, gardeners’ potting grit. Fairly small-grained grit that gives a lovely random texture when printed. It also sticks down very well.

Number sixteen, dried, broken egg shells. These have been saved over time and are really useful for collage. If the pieces are too big when being stuck down, they can break down further and give an interesting, almost tortoise-shell effect.

Second relief print of test block with black oil based ink

Second relief print of test block with black oil based ink

Mix of relief and intaglio printing in multi colours from test block

Mix of relief and intaglio printing in multi colours from test block

 

 

 

 

 

I have selected print two of four for the black and white prints and print one of four for the coloured prints. A slightly different choice than previously made at the end of the exercise due to the clean appearance of the black and white relief print.

Task 2 (Project 12)

Present three versions of your collatype collage block print exploring a representational theme and a variety of collage techniques accompanied by a critical statement about your choice of subject and the way you have translated it into print.

After deciding to create a triptych type print series for my project, I have selected the three images below to represent my subject.

Final three selections from each image for assignment 4

Final three selections from each image for assignment 4

Critical Statement

I initially quote from my write-up of Project 12 itself:

“Over the time my previous assignment was in transit and with my tutor for feedback, I began thinking about what subject I would like to tackle for this project. Many things were in the news at the time not least the effects of climate change and the continual, nonsensical 140 character ramblings of the new president of America.  This one particular morning, the two collided once again, and the short-sighted lust for dollars over having a sustainable planet for the future of humankind hit the headlines. I had my subject.”

The more I explored ideas around my subject, the more I realised that one image would not suffice to put across my intention of drawing focus to this potential backslide to planetary destruction. Attention had to be on the misuse of power, the concern that this attitude may grow and continue in the wake of such an influential climate denying government and the dramatic results of such. As with many messages conveyed through the visual arts, I have tried to simplify and symbolise the message.

The portrait of POTUS stands as a figurehead for all those that ignore, deny and seemingly despise the science and evidence before us. Going back to my initial sketchbook thumbnails, the objective was to create a portrait of Donald Trump to illustrate the smugness with which I perceive he has taken power of one of the largest nations on the planet. That planet is under threat by human hand and he and his band of climate deniers are ploughing ahead with many policies to further the business dollar at our future’s expense. I need the portrait to describe this smugness and for his image to be recognisable. The use of some of the collage materials, in my mind, lend themselves to a pixellated image not unlike a comic book illustration. The use of orange flesh also help to give the impression of the real life caricature I see. It also serves to remind us not to dismiss the apparent incredulity and initial ridicule that we may think protects us from such people’s attitudes and opinions, they are not alone.

The combination of the portrait and landscape in a more linear image serves to illustrate that the shapes that we make and the decisions that we take are intertwined with all that is around us. Eventually, we as humans will become part of the landscape. We as individuals are merely blinks in the eye of time. We are transient but our attitudes and actions have repercussions and will carry on – we need to ensure that we make the right ones for humanity’s future. This I have tried to describe by bringing the two outlines together with stripes of colour, loosely relating to earth, sea and sky. No one human being is all omnipotent – hence the amalgamation to reduce their self-perceived power, the natural world will overcome its challenges, if given the opportunity.

The final image is to represent the earth’s warming, the melting ice caps, rising sea levels and the decimation that may ensue if we allow it, such as encroaching deserts and then little by little, in the loss of our familiar flora and fauna and so on…

Reflection

Overall I have enjoyed this particular section of the course. I feel it has allowed me the freedom to experiment with many types of materials and techniques without being overly process driven. This, now I read it back, seems contradictory as I have begun to develop my own process. I have acknowledged the need for organisation and structure to produce better quality and clean print productions. However, what I think has happened is that I am now doing this more naturally and everything feels less forced.

Measures against criteria:

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills – I have become less concerned about the lack of specific materials in my location and have begun to see this as a way to think differently and be more creative in how I achieve outcomes. I am more patient, and in particular in Project 12, by expanding the brief and creating different images, I have been able to organise the stages of work and maintain productivity ie performing a process on one image whilst another dries etc. The sketchbook work has also allowed me to improve my design and composition, by visualising images and simplifying them for printing.

Quality of Outcome – allowing myself time  to experiment with technique and material options, to work through ideas and visualisation and very importantly, to change my mind as a result, I feel I am closer to realising my ideas when I commit to the final work.  In these projects, I have had less mishaps with the actual printing and the results have been cleaner and sharper than in those previous.

Demonstration of Creativity – previously, I always felt that my skills were very representational ie drawing from observation etc, and my real shortcoming was when asked to use my imagination and create from scratch. I now feel that once I have my subject, I am brimming with ideas to illustrate its concept. As for the subject itself, combined with finding my personal voice, I’ve discovered that as long as I have a passion for that subject, I can drill down into it and find a “hook” to work with. From being able to draw fairly well, I now feel I can actually be creative from within myself. The more I do this the more confident I become.

Context – I realised some while ago during this learning process, that I am naturally a reflective person, I am also very self-critical – particularly negatively. This has good and bad connotations, although I am learning to turn that criticism into a more objective trait, particularly with making choices about ideas to take forward and selecting my work. I still enjoy the research aspect and have learnt to filter out what I need and want from it rather than become swamped in data. I try to keep my learning log succinct and easy to navigate, not least for myself to refer back to past projects.

Going forward, I feel more in control of my own outcomes, not least in having learnt to let go of the control and let things evolve. I like the elements of contradiction and experimentation that have emerged from these projects.