I’ve designed and sorted my business cards ready for exhibition and trying to be more of a professional from now on because that’s what I am. Also going to try out selling postcards of my work (postcards are related to my actual paintings as well which makes it more of a good idea). Ordered 3 designs of them today so fingers crossed they look good.
This week has been a focus on the exhibition which is fast approaching. A frequent thing is that I’m not sure on a painting when I’ve finished it. I have to take that step back, which may be a couple of days, before either adjust parts, leave it and like it or completely scrap it. It’s happened a fair few times in the last couple of weeks mainly as my work slowly approaches the limit between de-figuration and pure abstraction. I don’t think myself as an abstract painter so I guess I still have some restraints over this natural progression.
I got back to Aberystwyth yesterday and had my first tutorial in a week weeks today. I hadn’t had one before the holidays so where I was panicking I haven’t got anything new to show, I actually had 4 paintings waiting. Spent the tutorial discussing what I want to say in the exhibition catalog statement, why the names are what they are and why I choose the image references (particular zoomed in bits). In all, it’s helping me prepare my artist statement and a presentation I have to make next month (I’m not a crowd speaker so I’m terrified). I have 5 more prepped boards waiting to be used and I’m going to get started on them this week.
This week I spent time prepping some more boards ready for when I come back from Easter holidays and wrapping up old and new work (dry of course) in bubble wrap to prevent damage and protect from dust. Issues of studio being in an old building (even though I spent my Undergrad dreaming of a studio space in it). I also managed to do two more paintings, even if one took me longer than I usually like and I’m still not sure if I like the outcome. However, working is productive even if it’s not my proudest work. With a few works completed I could start working out the names for the pieces which is a lot harder when the names and depicted images do not correlate.
Last week I have managed to produce three paintings and prepped a load of other boards, finally feeling confident again in the route I’m pursuing. Returning to step A of my project but now I actually have a fully realised intent for its purpose. Working from postcards (currently ones I wrote to myself) that are reproductions of old photographs, I then reproduce a zoomed in section of the image, abstracting what the image and the item is. I have reverted to my old way of painting, which as discussed with my tutor, adds a filter to it that brings the idea of it being a memory again. But this works for me, bringing my work together whilst they are separate bodies.
On Friday I held a tutorial with a lovely undergrad as part of one of my modules. I’ve been quite excited about this part of the course out of curiosity of other’s work and to see the how the teaching aspect works. I was really intrigued in her work and i could give some advice that I’ve learnt along the way in my own practice. Also quite flattering that she remembers my work from Undergrad.
This week has been a mix between playing with the order of my paintings and which of those will go into the exhibition and editing photographs I have taken over the last few weeks to look like my paintings. A kind of stylised filter effect. I edited 11 photos in total and had them printed on a decent printer and photo paper ready for portfolio or exhibition (I don’t think they will work in it), it’s part of an extra 10 credits for the module. I think they work well. I don’t want to display them with the paintings though because the idea of these is to make photos look like my paintings not that my paintings are to look like these photos and I feel people will get the wrong message. We’ll see though, it’s all up for debate.
“Okay, I’m going to fix the painting started last week.”
Well, it was a nice idea as I walked into the studios at the beginning of the week. I kind of forgot that having left it for just under a week, thin layer of oil paint and an absorbent surface meant it was completely dry when I got to it. I didn’t have the energy to repaint the whole scene nor an image I really wanted to do for a complete paint over. Can’t say I didn’t stare at it for a while like it would change on its own. I actually tried using dish soap on a section to see if that had any affect on the paint. I don’t know why I thought it would work. It didn’t.
I decided to do a light grey/purple coloured wash over the entire painting to try to get the misty effect another way than blending. I then dribbled turpentine down the board before repeating the wash, just to see what it looked like when using an old technique of mine.
I have definitely stepped back from trying to make it work since knowing it’s not necessary for me to have an extra painting. It’ll be a board for another project I guess.
My final two boards arrived earlier in the week so I prepped them and began one on Tuesday. I wanted to try and include another Aberystwyth landmark in this painting. However, my composition was off from the beginning. Firstly, I had centralised the land and sky meeting point. It put me in a bad mood staring at the beginnings of this painting and not knowing how to fix it before blending. So, I followed the advice of my tutor to ignore it and start the other board, otherwise I will not be in the right frame of mind to make it good if I waited till I finished this one. Go back to it if I needed to.
This plan did work, I got a good composition going, working with aspects from previous paintings like the railings, the buildings going into the distance and the little details, I completed a painting I was happy to add the suite I have going. There was some colour adjustment needed on the sandy area when after I took a break from it but easily fixable. I can at least say I have enough paintings to choose from for the exhibition, even I can’t fix the first one from this week.
I know, this seems unheard of from me. I had managed to half prep one of the boards last week and then finished preparing it on Monday and began prepping the next. I can do it when I know what I’m doing and work with less of my procrastinating breaks. Got my motivation roll going.
I Have a New Escape Plan, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.7cm x 91.9cm
Don’t Kill My Vibe, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.7cm x 91.8cm
The first was a play with compositional aspects with the pole creating a cross with the horizon as well as going up and out of the composition. The railing as a difficult one, had to be careful with angles and the blending. Also had to change the tone of the pole because it was originally white and that wasn’t what it was in the photo and didn’t work in the painting. The second was one I’ve been wanting to do for a while because it’s from around where I lived in first year, and where I met some of my closest friends. I’ve decided to play with the titles and name them from quotes of conversations with my university friends, happening on or near the seafront. Still working on them but you’ll notice soon enough that all these pictures will finally have captions.
It has become no secret to my friends, green is not my favourite colour to work with, especially after some last week’s first painting attempt. And there was one painting last semester that didn’t match the image in my head too well, lacking the depth and well shape I wanted. This was Travelling: Home to a Home.
I used the same colour palette of last few paintings to go over it since last week went so much better. No regrets. I could have cooler and warmer tones in it and fade the distance out better than the green that just made the sky tinted. It may lack the vibrancy of the Welsh landscape I wanted to capture but now it feels a lot more real as a landscape to me.
They Make Everything Better, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.6cm x 91.4cm
I started this week thinking “I wanted to paint this scene I see everyday when it’s beautifully sunny”. By the middle of the week I was thinking “I absolutely hate this, I can’t dare show this in my tutorial”. So I didn’t. I covered the green landscape with a greyish purple and didn’t let that dry as a ground coat before beginning the next painting and spending the whole day working on it. I got it done in time for my tutorial and I was most certainly more please with the outcome than the original one. Did have a laugh showing the progress photos with the sudden jump in colour. If you don’t like something, change it, especially if it’s just paint.
I will admit, the green landscape looked better before the blending stage, but it didn’t work for my project for that reason. I am definitely jealous of artist’s who seem so natural working with brighter and vibrant colours, I’ve only managed a one of beauty with those. Maybe that’s my issue, I expected it to look like Passing Moments of Seasons but green. I need to hide that one from view in my studio so I stop comparing my new work to it. I have no regrets painting over it because I currently love the grey mist and the little details that fade into it. Definitely found the route I want to take these paintings for the exhibition.