The open exhibition opened a few weeks ago and I still haven’t managed to make it over but with a week before term officially starts again, I managed to get over and see the artworks. The exhbittion has some really great work on show and was a pleasure to see my artwork amongst other artists. Below are a few of the artworks that particularly caught my eye.
After a three week illness it’s time to get back to work. Having a very limited time to write an essay and a few more days to do some more paintings and finish some old work, it’s safe to say I won’t be getting any sleep this week.
Recently I have been revisiting the streets of Aberystwyth, something which I looked at during my second year of study. Inspired by artists such as Andrew Gifford and George Shaw. The street studies have given me a way of searching for new compositions, new angles new colours and tones aswell as the introduction of more complex perspectives. I don’t particularly want to push this work down to the photorealistic style, however I feel that through observing and drawing my other work will continue to progresss. I see this type of work as still very abstract consisting of abstract shapes of colours tones and empty spaces. What is interesting is my abstract paintings tend to be organic shapes however this work is very geometric. I still feel that when I start a painting of a particular subject, I subconsciously think of the way artists have traditionally tackled the subject and I’m now trying to push forward and paint for myself rather than be constrained by the traditional styles. In turn , hopefully find a way of bringing all my work together.
back to the street studies and along the same theme of the painting I did before Christmas, I’m looking at the effect light plays on a street view. Buildings are static, and one of the main things that inspires me to paint is movement, so trying to find something that makes me more interested in the subject is by looking at the light,as the light is one of the elements that is always changing. These two paintings are from the same view, 12 hrs apart. What I found interesting is the impact of artificial light on the buildings, and how the colours change in turn. What is light in the day time picture becomes dark in the night time, and what is dark in the day time becomes light in night time. This could be a path i follows for the exhibition.
For once I am not so nervous about the portfolio review. Something which I haven’t left once before with out feeling disheartened. There’s nothing like the feeling of taking criticism on your own artwork, as in a sense it is part of you. However through my masters so far I have started to push myself out of my comfort zone and not be so afraid, and for once I walked out of my assesment with a smile on my face- not because everything they said to me was amazing, but I could understand their points of view.
The question they asked me which I still don’t have an answer to is
-Which of these styles of work is more you?-
It’s all me, I painted them all. It confuses me as I don’t want to push my self into a style, sometimes I want to paint abstract and expressive and some times I want to paint realistically, I don’t know why, but I don’t think it matters. Throughout all the paintings I can see connections to one and other, I don’t feel as if they look like opposites and there are plenty of artists who work in lots of different ways, I feel it can help you push forward help avoid artist block and help not getting “bored”. I enjoy working in series, but I don’t see the point of sticking to something if I have already learned everything I can from that style of painting for now, which isn’t saying that I won’t come back to something, but when I do come back to it I will be more informed fro what i have done since. One thing I know is I don’t want to fall out of love with painting, and the answer is to keep painting- no matter what . The answer is always in the paint.
The final week before going home for a week or so. Involving tutorials, essay writing, and finishing paintings. I am definitely in need of some kind of break, even if i am going to be working a lot over Christmas. It will be nice to let my mind not think about uni work for a small while.
Wednesday: A small A4 Study i decided to paint on a pink ground. Really enjoying the night time light at the moment, as well as street studies. I think its because of the challenge of drawing the perspective, and also it has given me a way to break away from traditional compositions. I am quite pleased with the end result of this semi abstract painting, perhaps it could be a route i continue to push. The space where abstraction and realism meet has always intrigued me, and at the moment my abstract and realistic paintings are still very separate. I hope that some point in the near future they meet.
Artist Inspiration of the week.
Towards Kairaouine Mosque, Fès- Study I 2016
Oil on Panel 13½ x 14 inches.
Feeling a bit unwell this week, winter flu seems to be in the air and getting my motivation levels down. However today I decided to get back to some street studies, I haven’t painted anything like this in a long long while. Drawing things that are straight is normally a no go with me as I don’t have the patience. But today I decided to do a muted sepia study-( no black is used - I never use black in any of my paintings). I’ve noticed that the liquitex titanium
White seems to be different- has it changed? If so I’m not enjoying the new formula.
Anyway back to the painting- i like to draw buildings as it is always a challenge for me, I’m not all about the fine details and am aware that things aren’t perfectly accurate , but I kind of like that.
The abstract smoke over mountain paintings are at the stage where things aren’t quite working , but that’s something I enjoy about painting. Soon they will fit together , I hope.
I’m also working on some semi abstract road scenes which are currently undergoing a lot of work so perhaps they’ll be on display in my next blog.
14:00 I swear we just had an earthquake.. not like the normal wind you hear in the old college, the building shook! Or possible sonic boom?
Anyway, update on the abstract series this one is another one which is part of the four which I aim to have finished by the time I go home for Christmas. Taking inspiration from Peter Doig perhaps.
Oil on canvas
Starting to really enjoy painting square compositions. These abstract studies are based on smoke over mountains with trees. The main interest is looking at the possibilities paint has, letting it drop and letting it move around. I enjoy this kind of painting but often in my representational work I begin to over focus on the detail. I like both types of painting but I look forward to the day they begin to overlap. Where abstraction and representation meet has always been an interest of mine, and trying to push it is my intention in the work I’m producing at the moment.
Strangely roads have begun to enter my paintings, which is strange as normally I like to look at the power of nature alone compared to the man made elements, making them less important in a composition. However, I’m
Just going with the flow at the moment and letting the paint lead me. And at the moment the paint is leading me towards roads.
stusy from earlier in the week back to squares and looking through windows and looking at the drips to create atmosphere
Return trip from Colwyn bay- Aberystwyth. ( photo somewhere near Dolgellau) .
On Wednesday of this week, i decided to make some abstract studies, these two square paintings pictured above were made from applying paint and then responding to each mark made, until i felt as if the painting had reached a point where i was happy with the compositions and the marks. Although these could have elements where you may see representations, or you may interpret in certain ways, from the colours used/ marks made etc. This was not my intention, they are merely just an exercise of me responding with paint to paint.
Over this weekend i have been doing a lot of travelling, which doesn't leave me a lot of time to paint. From friday, Aberystwyth to - shrewebury- to Surrey to colwyn bay- to aberystwyth- Sunday. Although i didn't have time to stop and take studies,i was spending the majority of these journeys, looking at the landscape, taking blurry pictures, observing the colours. I have been trying to look at the landscape differently to normal, looking at the shapes as building blocks of a painting. I always find that a strong abstract composition behind the representation or whatever medium of artwork. Will make the image far stronger. If it works abstract, it will work in representational painting, is my theory. Back in the studio on Monday i made 12 small 8x8 inch studies, which are in no way finished paintings. Each looks at the light in the golden hour as the call it , focusing on the shapes. Some worked, some don't, and in turn i now have the relevant information to proceed in to my work to come.
Art Inspration of the week.
John. Constable, Seascape Study with Raincloud. 1827.
I do not own the rights to this image,
When painting the sea, i often find i stick to the same kind of traditional compositions, where as when i paint other things such as portraits or other landscapes, i play around a lot more with the composition. On Sunday i was looking through my window, which had been egged on Halloween ( yes i still haven't cleaned it) Through the egg wash and the condensation and the rain, the image through my lounge window intrigued me, how things get distorted and blurred through this window,everything seemed to be in line for a painting and i thought why not try painting it. In second year my tutor once told me, to try and paint everything, imagine leaving art school with out painting a tree, well i though i have never painted a van, so why not try. Although this painting turned out fairly realistic, i started it from just shapes of the basic colours, and let the paint do the rest of the work. Pouring diluted white paint down the board and blending it with a big brush to get a sense of blurriness, and then applying small details where necessary. I always find that there is no one way to paint a painting, this painting could have been done with tiny brushes building up the layers, but when this took approximately half an hour to produce, why not let the paint do the work for you:?
In contrast, i went back to one of my Borth watercolour studies, and decided to try and tackle it using thick paint. This is just made of one layer or paint.not allowing any of the other layers to come through. The paint made all opaque so that each layers still built up, but in a different kind of way. interestingly this painting also came out more realistic than some of my other work. Which isn't necessarily what i enjoy about painting, For instance, i knew this painting required more detail on areas, but i became quickly bored of it, as the main intention for this painting was to purely represent, it doesn't have any of my personality, or my feelings towards it in the painting. However, is still a good excercize to do. I find at the moment im working in a lot of different ways, and hopefully there will come a point where these begin to crossover in one image rather than as if my paintings were made by multiple artists.
Thursday: With the idea of getting back to the coast, and looking more at the sources, i headed to the beach to start some studies. Packed a flask as i knew it was going to be a long day. Took my sketchbooks my paint, my boards. and realised id grabbed the pencil case which contained my printmaking tools, rather than brushes and pencils. I decided to get a little inventive and use my etching pen to draw on some stones. The chalk that comes out whilst drawing on is fun to work from, however when washed off, they are merely stones with a thin lines in, which perhaps may have been good to take a rubbing from and print, but i just placed them back on the beach. nevertheless, this was still a good exercise of looking and observing, light and shapes, which is all very helpful when it coems to painting in the studio.
I then returned after lunch to the beach and got my paint brushes, It was absolutely freezing, which in turn makes me paint a lot faster than i do in the studio, trying to resolve the image as much as possible on location. I feel this painting is a lot more about my experience, and less about the representation, although aspects of the painting are representational.
When returning to the studio, i played around with some of the drawings i made, and tried a different style composition. Letting the paint be paint, moving it around and allowing it to drip etc..
This image in turn is completely different to the other on location study, i don't feel you get the same sense of atmosphere in the work, but i feel that aspects of this painting will help me move forward in the paintings to come. Getting back to the idea of not forcing paint in to place, and enjoying the happy accidents.
This week i wanted to get back to painting the sea, after doing a lot of travelling back and forth on the train, this week i am finally put in Aberystwyth, which gives me the time to be able to get out in to the landscape and explore.
Wednesday afternoon. In the studio, looking out at the sea, and suddenly beautiful light started to appear, so i rushed out of the studio to grab some sketches and photos to work from. The light changes so quickly that to capture it in that moment i couldn't paint it there on the spot. Photos worked as a good reference point to bring back the memory, however a lot of the colours i tend to remember and then transfer in to the painting.
This is one of the small studies i made from the blue light, the photo makes some of the colours look black and a bit deadened, but it is just very deep blue.
I then began to make a larger study, using big 3 inch brushes, trying to remember the power of the sky and sea from my sketches. The sketches i make i tend to emphasise on aspects of the landscape which were stand out to me. For instance the clouds clustering in this heavy way. Then when painting i can work from those ideas, this painting required thick paint to get this point across, where in other occasions i will use thin layers built up. This painting is still a work in progress but i am enjoying how it is starting to take shape. I will probably leave it for a while and move on to something else for now. I tend to find sometimes when i come back to a painting in a few weeks, i will see it differently and know how to answer it.
When returning home i was looking at one of my older quick studies in oil, looking at what used to interest me about the sea, i think it used to be a lot more about the power and the forces of the waves and trying to get that across in the painting. i feel i have started to let go of this kind of energy in my work and i want to try and get back and include some of these marks in future work.
At the moment I’m still currently travelling back and fore to home at weekends to work. Which involves lots of time spent on the train which I generally spend thinking.
For the majority of the journey there isn’t any phone signal, and limited WiFi. So it is some of the only time I get where I’ve not got my phone beeping at me.
The train journey has become the main focus of my paintings that I’m currently working on, which is not saying that it shall continue to be this way.
I enjoy painting my life, as I find it much easier to connect with and make a painting if I have experienced it. And my life at the moment consists of zooming through the landscape.
I have always been interested in capturing movement in a painting, but I have never thought of capturing it in a sense where the view is moving through man rather than nature.
This idea is still raw, but it really is helping me engage with my work. Creating new problems which I have to resolve in the painting. Trying not to creaate a static image, it has to give the feeling of being on the train. Where the image is there but then it’s gone and you see something else.
Previously I have looked at the ways the movement is occurring in the landscape through the forces of nature and light movement, with this addition of travelling i have created my self problems in which I’m determined to resolve in a unique way.
this image I have worked more on since last week, in explanation to behind the work I have tried to capture a stillness that still incorporates the element of movement from the train. The foreground is where both I have detail whilst also containing blurriness to try and get that sense of movement, but through a large scene of the landscape.
For instance, sometimes the view seems to last much longer than other views, because of the scale of the mountains-/fields etc.. where as compared to
My other painting, that image view would have only lasted a few split seconds, and then it’s gone.
All of these ideas are still in working progress, I’m not 100% certain of what I’m looking at and why, but I have ideas and problems that I am trying to resolve through paint, whilst creating imagery.