Exploring Concepts Project Review

My brief for this project, in order to improve areas and create and work within a project of my choice. The outcome is to resubmit this work for formal assessment to enable me to pass Exploring Concepts.

Part One 1.1 Take an A3 piece of white paper and spend 5 minutes with a stapler and pair of scissors cutting and folding it into a shape. You might concertina part of it, spiral part of it, cut holes in it, fold it into an ellipse – just do whatever you want until you have an anonymous 3 dimensional object. Now place your paper sculpture on your backdrop curve so that you have a white on white still life. Use a table lamp or desk lamp to light your still life so that the paper form is dramatically lit and shadows are cast onto the space around. Now spend TWO HOURS drawing this still life on a sheet of A2 paper. Make sure you use at least a drawing board and preferably an easel. When you draw make sure you can see your drawing and your subject just by moving your eyes – not your whole head as that can distort things when you are trying to make measurements. Use a putty and hard rubber and don’t worry about what the end product will look like, just keep rubbing out and redrawing – do whatever you need to do to make a drawing that holds the whole surface of your paper and is as accurate as possible. Don’t try to leave any of the paper white as that sets up too much tension which can lead to a reluctance to make changes in case the white is ‘ruined’. When you have finished the drawing pin it up in your studio on in the area of your house where you work and leave it up there for the duration of this project. When you have time, write succinctly in your log (bullet points, no narrative) about what worked and how the drawing could have been improved. 1.2 About two or three weeks later, do the exact same thing as 1.1 again but use your own commentary as a guide to make sure that this version is much better, more potent and cuts to the visual chase than the last one. Be ruthless. Again spend TWO HOURS. Set a timer – it’s a really long time. You can use the same paper sculpture or make a new one – it’s up to you. When the drawing is finished, pin it up next to the other one and leave them both up there so you can see them. This helps to keep them in mind and gives you more time to reflect on them. 1.3 For your third drawing, I would like you to divide your A2 paper into a grid with a pencil, as many squares as you want but 10cm squared is probably as large as you would want to go. I would now like you to select three primary colours, just one that you like to work with, and a white and an earth pigment like ochre or umber. Using a very large palette ( I suggest a plastic clip frame for framing a poster – just slip a sheet of white paper inside and then you can clip off the plastic and wash it each time) squeeze large blobs of your 5 colours along the top. Using a palette knife which you repeatedly wipe with a piece of kitchen roll to keep it clean, start making little pairings of these colours in various combinations underneath the original 5. Make sure you are engaged – don’t just do it randomly, think about the likely results and see if you can predict them. This will teach you about how colour mixing works. When you have these little ‘doublers’, draw them down again in different combinations to make a third generation of colours (pale blue plus dark orange or whatever) A palette will be developing, see if you can aim for a colour and get it now, looking at what you have. Once you have a really nice set of harmonious and interesting colours, fill in each of your squares with a different colour so you have a harmonious patchwork. This will have taken you two hours so just leave this to dry and use it as a ground for your third drawing to be undertaken in the next two hour slot. Let me know if you need help working with paint on paper. If you are keen to use oils, you may be better off using canvas or board. 1.4 To tie all this work together, your final piece will be a drawing in paint or your paper sculpture, made on your patchwork. Mix a few whitish pale colours and nice greyish colours and just draw your object on top of your patchwork. Continue to be as sensitive and rigorously accurate as you were in your previous drawings, but also feel free to respond to the patchwork a bit if you want to. Remember to take the usual TWO HOURS . Write succinctly in your log about how you feel about this process as an artist. What relevance might it have and what might you use what you have learned to achieve for yourself in the future? Why not start the future now and get cracking in your sketchbook? Summary Over the period of these four two hour sessions I hope that you will learn about how to push through with a drawing to something which has the history of its construction embedded in its surface and at the heart of its meaning. By investing time and effort and not fussing about revealing evidence of your own authorship, 2.1 Aim: Create brightly coloured abstract paintings which enable you to channel physical movement or response to tension. Develop compositions which embody the notion of being pulled or stretched, possibly to the point where something new is revealed. Sketchbook: Hunt out things in the world which are pulled or stretched. Hunt out things which are stretched to bursting or so thin that something else is revealed. Take photos and stick them in your sketchbook. Paint onto some of the photos. Don’t write anything at all. Say it all visually. Use clingfilm, balloons, pva and acrylic paint etc etc to make experimental studies and see what compositions you can achieve which have a stretched or ruptured element. Take photos of things if necessary. Consider dancing? Videoing yourself stretching things til they burst? Logbook: Research artists who use these visual tropes. Katy Dove http://luxscotland.org.uk/news/katy-dove-1970-2015/ Jason Martin http://www.lissongallery.com/artists/jason-martin http://www.galerielelong.com/sites/default/files/press_release_-_edge_order_rupture_2013.pdf http://www.alyhelyer.com/index.htm When you are looking at this work, pay attention to what is written about the artist and think about whether that is something someone might write about you. Respond in your own words – remembering that this is a degree level course. 2.2 Paintings: Using palette knives contrasted with softer areas of paint applied by sponge or rag, explore the notion of pulling, tension, and revealing using abstracted forms which you have collected from the world around you. Use your palette sensitively to imbue the compositions with drama and emotion. Use cut out paper templates, masking and drawing round found objects to describe edges to ensure that your underlying drawing doesn’t make the composition go wobbly. Make sure you are really focussed on what you are doing, and take time to reflect on each piece and build on its strengths. The work will be trying to tell you something and you must listen and respond. I won’t specify how many paintings have to be made in the section as it is developmental – I am expecting a lot though. 2.3 & 2.4 Once you have explored the first stage of the project, and written concise notes about your outcomes, we can look at how to bring the project to its best conclusion. This may involve the re introduction of imagery or figuration – we can see once you’ve done lots of experimental and critically reflexive making.

Artist Statement

Drawing a still life 1.1 For this exercise I used 2 A2 pieces of paper, taped together to create a larger A1 piece, I placed this against a wall, leading onto the table top and taped this in place. This is the base for my still life. Using an A3 piece of paper I spent little time, quickly manipulating, cutting and stapling the paper into an abstract, 3D shape. I placed this on top of my white paper backdrop and light from the right with a lamp. As this exercise was completed during the evening the lighting became more dramatic, ensuring all other lights in the area were off. I spent 2 hours drawing the paper sculpture with a range of pencils, from 2B – 6B and a hard rubber, the lamp sat on the right of the sculpture and therefore I placed my easel on the left ensuring the whole backdrop could be seen easily. Following these 2 hours the drawing is now taped to my wall where I can revisit it in the morning within natural light. What worked:

  • No distractions allowed for good timekeeping
  • Entirely new subject
  • Limited medium
  • Close proximity to subject
  • Strong lighting adds more interest to subject and backdrop
  • Exploring pencil in flat areas

What could be improved:

  • Range of marks
  • Even shading within shadow areas
  • Sense of depth
  • Starting lighter rather than darker


Drawing a still life 1.2
This exercise continues from Still Life Drawing 1.1, the still life object remains the same, not wanting to create another sculpture as this one has dropped and become slightly more worn over the past 2-3 weeks I wanted to capture the difference in the drawing as well as the difference in the sculpture.

Looking back on my previous commentary I focused particularly on the sections of what worked / did not work to guide me in this next drawing. Following the what worked was easy as setting the same area and working environment took a few minutes, my concern was more with what did not work:

  • Range of marks
  • Even shading within shadow areas
  • Sense of depth
  • Starting lighter rather than darker

Actions taken to correct these areas:

  • I started this piece at a later time, the lighting was more dramatic against the darkness outside, therefore I hoped to create more depth this way
  • Aiming to start with a HB and work up to darker pencils
  • Really emphasising the crumpled areas with a range of marks

Setting up IMG_1656

Starting with a HB to measure


Moving to 2B and 4B


Final drawing of paper sculpture


Comparing 1.1 and 1.2

IMG_1661 Keeping the drawing 1.1 on the wall and viewing this over a period of time really helped to put this task into perspective. After looking at 1.1 I began to feel the medium used could be seen as charcoal, and I wanted the paper sculpture to move forward more rather than appear as an abstract shape. Beginning my second attempt I not only measured the sculpture with my pencil but used angles within the sculpture to compare with other angles further back in the piece to ensure more accuracy. Starting lighter enabled me to ensure the form of the sculpture was kept more from sinking into the shadows on the paper behind. Although there are qualities of the first that I like, such as the boldness of the shape and the overall roughness to it, I am pleased that the second is more accurate and identifiable as a sculpture.

Painting a ground layer 1.3

Painting my sculpture onto a grid 1.4
Following exercises 1.1 and 1.2 where I drew and re-drew my paper sculpture for 2 hours at a time, I painted a grid for 10cm x 10cm squares on A2 for 1.3. Combining harmonious colours created with acrylic, mixed with a palette knife and applied with a soft brush. My patchwork paper is the base for this final piece, again I have taken the paper sculpture which has been lying around the house for a number of weeks now, slowly flattening and changing from my first original drawing. Using a similar colour palette to my patchwork – with added raw sienna and cadmium yellow, I wanted to keep the palette as I enjoyed working with these colours, but also to look at the other properties of this palette by adding white and creating more grey tones.
IMG_1914 After mixing pale colours using this palette, white with either 1 or 2 colours, I mixed up black by mixing cerulean and cadmium red and later adding a small amount of cadmium yellow. Beginning the painting on such a colourful and straight edged base was difficult, distracting and therefore I begun as if the colours of the background were irrelevant, to enable me to paint in the shape and measurements of the sculpture. Once this had been done I felt I could respond to the patchwork, allowing areas of colour to appear through the painting, depending on whether the square was light or dark and whether this matched with the light and dark of the sculpture and by using the paint in a way which created a translucency. I liked this effect, especially over the yellow ochre square which I felt complimented the colours of the painting and the method then became more apparent. Taking this a step further I used a blue tonal wash to create the shadow around the paper sculpture, however this did not compliment the accuracy of the painting, as it was vague and unsure. An area of learning – to be more specific. This process has taken a number of weeks to enable me to get to the final painting of the sculpture, looking back I can visually see improvements. I have found the final painting challenging, and used colours I would not usually been drawn to, mixed with a palette knife alone as felt easier, the paints are cleaner and the process is quicker without having to rinse a brush each time and finally able to create a range of harmonious colours by using a selective palette. I created a selective palette for the sculpture to, using white as a main element for this, to make the sculpture ‘pop’ on top of the grid and bringing dimension to it, keeping tones harmonious to allow for the both areas to work together without overpowering. All of these skills and techniques learnt can work towards paintings and preparation for paintings in the future. Filling a large piece of paper with a drawing is usually daunting for me, faced with such a large sheet of paper and armed only with a pencil not a brush, however ensuring the same amount of time given for each drawing, same subject, light and medium has given me the opportunity to see improvements in my work. Being as accurate as the previous drawings proved hard, and because of this I feel my drawing skills, measuring and composition have improved during these past exercises. Using soft brushes I began by creating the lighter areas of the sculpture, moving from light to dark and a range of white tinted colours in-between. Looking carefully for so long at one object, I found the light created many colours even though the sculpture was white, reflections from the room, table, light and within the paper were clear, hints of green, orange and purple. Following the previously exercise felt more confident in being able to mix these with a palette knife, particularly the dark colours, without the use of black acrylic paint.

Potters Wheel Course – Wales

Yesterday I attended a half day course in Wales with ‘Siramik’ learning to use a potters wheel and subsequently make various items throughout the morning. I enjoy manipulating papers and paints within my art work and wanted to take this a step further, learning how to use clay and the techniques to successfully creating a finished object.

It was a chance for me to revisit another art process and use my hands in a different way, very precise, delicate and interesting form of art, I enjoyed the experience and feel that this is a skill I could include in my project work at the moment. Drawing out my emotions and changes on a physical object working 3 dimensionally – air drying modelling clay would work best.

Ceramics / sculpture has never been my strong point, however yesterday give a boost and the outcomes were reasonable considering all was learnt in 4 hours. However within my work the outcomes will be different but the confidence to try this medium has grown. When the 2 chosen items are fired and delivered I will upload the photos.

Project 2.1 and 2.2

In line with my artist statement I will work on a project, the key words which underpin the work I will do are:

Emotions, Feelings, Energy, Intensity, Colour, Relationships, Changes, Role.

Looking at the change in physical objects through movements such as pulling, tension – what is the breaking point? My relationship with objects or movements? Does this affect the change in my role or my emotions? Inspiration will be taken from my close environment, with the use of found objects, abstract forms, mark making and manipulation.

Found objects and materials stretched, and pulled till breaking point:


The physical act of pulling and stretching beyond the capacity of the objects and in cases too the capacity. Using saturated colours, materials link important events with emotional ties, tasks and roles conveying feelings and social relationships.

  • Pink balloon – Celebratory engagement balloon
  • Swimming hat – Charity swim-a-thon
  • Material – Dressmaking

Found objects tend to have more meaning and therefore a stronger emotional element for me to work with in which these can be conveyed in other ways to compliment the physical. Manipulation captured on video, allowing me to view the process and how the stretching takes its own force and that on my hands and arms. New areas of interest are created below the rip or tear, exposing new shapes. Text is distorted and returns to its original form. The colours are bright and inviting, an element which can be conveyed within my work for this project.

Physical act of pulling, stretching, twisting: https://vimeo.com/132858553

An interesting response to pulling and stretching, using video to show the pull of gravity in conjunction with the physical pull of a person. Another role and another skill, a fast motion spin, creating energy, abstract shapes, new forms, movement, layers and emotions. The body creates a shape which is interesting and new.


Result of tension on a physical object, this tension was created by this toys owner, a found object within my own. A normal everyday execution of a stuffed animal. I found this object particularly interesting due to the natural, unplanned tears, the change in composition this now gave and the bursting and spilling out due to the high amount of stuffing and pressure within the object. Where the object has torn – at the neck, its almost symbolic of death, dramatizing the bird further.


Beginning with a pencil drawing homing in on the section of interest, allowing me to capture detail and form of the bird.


Making the bird more interesting by adding tension with a piece of wire wrapping around the exposed filing, pulling, tying – final execution? Adding another dimension to the chunky object with a delicate material which could pressurize the bird further.


Painting over photograph, learning the shape and tones of the bird in a simplistic way.


Drawing into paint on wallpaper, this paper is bird paper – although you cannot see it that clearly a happy paper in comparison to the object itself.

Drawing with line is representational of the wire used previously. I feel line is important in the way it is painted it can convey calm, tension, aggression. Creating a monochrome form of abstraction.


Following the pottery workshop I wanted to get my hands working with clay, recreating the bird again simplistically, changing the medium – changing the form, this sculpture now has a different role to play, pressure and tension are clear, but in a way that the clay keeps hold of the details and prints of the making.


 Pencil and black pencil drawing of the clay bird.


Layered drawing on tracing paper, line and shadow. Picking out elements using different thickness of line and a translucent paper, the image changes on the lifting of the top layer. Working with line is enjoyable, I feels it can represent and be abstract so easily.


Line and mark making on tracing paper, single layer, exploring mark making and adding colour to the form.


Quick painted line – wrapping, movement, vibrations, monochrome. Mounted tracing paper to see how the layers respond to each other.


Creating another sculpture, spontaneously from the same clay used for my bird sculpture.


Another angle of the small clay sculpture. Even though this sculpture was made spontaneously I feel that it shows movement, and there is something natural in its form. The circular element could have moved from the top of the moon shape? Like a  wave crashing.


Line drawing, slow accurate line and fast pencil marks.IMG_2500

Movement the clay again to form a spontaneous shape – using the clay as an object for stress – drawing out emotions onto a physical element. Whilst making this piece I thought about all the pressures in life, the different tasks that need to be completed and how there is never enough time. This was the result.

Using physical objects and movement to convey energy, emotions, feelings as a grounding for my abstract paintings. The objects used stress the importance of the roles in which I have change daily.

Within my work for this project I want to capture the important of colour, mediums and movement – movement in the physical way in which I work and the movement of the medium on the support. Conveying personal interests and the changing of roles within my life, letting them resonate within my work is important to me, inspiring and motivating whilst learning new ways of working and experimenting with abstract, materials and found objects.


Stretching a balloon and tissue across the paper, pushing around a variety of mediums and adding a piece of wire, wrapping this around the tissue and twisting it, adding more tension. A contrast of delicate materials with a sharp cutting wire amongst a piece which rips in areas. I enjoy this piece, the colours create a sharp contrast, the layers create texture and the wire gives a slight sculptural element. IMG_2532

Pushing thick paint downwards with a palette knife, layering it so that under pressure the previous layer is exposed and bursts through. It was harder than expected trying to keep saturated colours clean and bright. IMG_2528

Pushing 2 acrylic paints across textured paper in wave like motions, a therapeutic piece to create, fresh and vibrant, a simple technique which exposes low layers of colours as you continue to push the paint. Starting from left to right you can see the colours are slightly more clean and towards the right they muddy creating a purple tone. Depth is created here with the deep areas of cobalt.IMG_2529

In the making of this piece the paper ripped, as this is in line with my brief I did not want to throw this away, I felt that mounting the paper onto black paper would give the piece structure again and highlight the wet areas of the painting which snapped under the pressure of the mediums. IMG_2530

Using ink and a hairdryer I moved the colours around the paper, forcing them to thin and move, it makes me thing of being underwater and looking up. I added a layer of paper to add more delicate lines and dull down the tones of the ink. I feel this works better than ink on white paper. It brings it together and mottles further.


Again ink, this time I moved the page around, I like the bleeding of the lines. I feel they add changes to the medium, channel the movement into other areas of the page. Ruptured veins of colour. I would add more to this piece if I wanted to take it further however this is only an experimental painting.

As well as working with object which has been pulled and as a result have changed, I have videoed myself movement and changing using a pole. It drives me to become stronger, challenges me emotionally, it can be as sensual as you want and it is quite empowering!

Exploring the different relationships I have and responding to them appropriately within my work.


Abstract forms created by using a camera on the floor.  IMG_2393

Strong positions which are interesting and convey movement, pulling and gravity. From this position it seems like a pole has been thrown through the body.

I have used these shapes created by my photographs to produce some abstract pieces responding the mediums I am using, movements and the changing of the mediums within the piece. Exploring the qualities of tools and mediums and the tensions within them.


Creating a range of tones that work harmoniously together, a busy piece created using a palette knife. When dry I drew over this with a white acrylic pen, the shape of the wire used earlier – just as it sat. Like 1.4, painting on top of a grid of colour. I found this grid easier as the colours were not precise in shape or order, the paper was covered in a loose style using palette knife. Drawing my white line on top of this was, delicate. Again it seems painting on top of a base layer which has many colours and has taken time to create makes be approach the piece differently – with caution and therefore the outcome is more delicate than if I approached a blank canvas.


Starting with a cut out photo of a figure, using black lines to move around the figure creating movement. The final layer is a magenta and white thick paint moved around with a card to create waves and texture. The whole piece has a large amount of movement and different techniques. I feel the central area of this painting works, as the black lines show throw and give clear visual insight into movement. As the painting moves away from the centre the edges seem to lack interest. This can be rectified by making the paper smaller. Sometimes I feel my work can get busy, and I can overwork pieces where they may have worked at an earlier stage. I need to stop and come back to my work to see if this prevents me from overworking.


Walking away throughout the making of this piece, it is less complex and busy. Using the same shape of the figure as in the previous work. Drawing with blue pen I walked away, coming back to add the black pastel with water and then later again returning. Itching to add more, I have stopped, this piece conveys illustration, line and movement, without filling the entire page. I have grown to like it.

Action painting came into play here with the flicks and movement of the loose water on the paper.


Again another figure in simplified form on tissue with acrylic layered in a vigorous way. It is not obvious that this is a figure painting however I like the piece as a full abstract painting as I feel there is a slight sense of composition.


Monochrome version of the green painting following research into the work of Jason Martin. A simple layer created with tissue painted with acrylic and PVA. The contrast of the flat cobalt with the textured layers is interesting, a figure is not longer visible and I see a flower and a bird. Is the blue persuading me into thinking of these natural forms? If this was painted red, would other images spring to mind?


Limited colour palette, moving, flicking, pushing, scraping and ripping the papers and paint.


How does line relate and move in conjunction with palette knife marks? Layers of paint with finer lines create a form from marks.

Here is a video I found of a pole expert, the video is artistic in the way that it is filmed and portrayed.


The pole expert is Karo Swen, a dancer who is shown defying gravity through a routine of moves in a mesmerizing high-octane video to a dub step track. Swen moves rhythmically to the music undertaking more complex moves as the routine continues. An inspiring video, the music is dramatic which is mirrored in the way that she moves to it and dramatizes points within the short video. Throwing herself with one hand and perfecting her moves with sharpness and strength convey a feeling of matrix, a battle between her and an invisible appointment, I feel she is competing with passion.

Captivated by the artistry that can occur within a sport and the way in which it is performed, her clothing reflects the simple surrounding, exposed brick work, raw and monochrome.

The strength and passion in which this clip has is an element that I want to use within my own work, channelling this physical movement, adrenaline and fast paced actions.

An appropriate line of enquiry following my exploration of this movement is spontaneity and action painting. A quote which echoes with me  “just as there is no beginning or end.. Sometimes I lose a painting, but I have no fear of changes, of destroying the image, because a painting has a life of its own.” Jackson Pollock

Work produced as an outcome to this way of thinking can flow into the exercise 2.2.

Movements in the style of Karo Swen, monochrome, complex movements, defying gravity and conveying interesting shapes using my biggest tool – my body. IMG_2507

The light captured here is interesting, it envelopes the foreground of the photo – palette knife to create translucent areas?

IMG_0863 A move that is visually sensual and appealing, however it contrasts with the pain created through holding and executing successfully. An interesting mix of emotions visually and internally. In line with my brief for this project I will continue to explore an abstract way of working alongside my creativity. I like this quote by Paul Klee which emphasizes insight into moods, emotions, inspiration and motivation behind abstract works.

‘Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.’ Paul Klee  

A contemporary artist who works mainly in monochrome, movement and form is the key factor and influence in his works is Jason Martin. Martin’s work enthuses me, the thick textures, 3 dimension he gives to a flat base and the energy within the way that he has created his marks and waves, Limited colours, materials and compositions he continues to create a variety of marks, the work makes me want to touch the mediums, some appear with a shine and others velvety and mat.

Martin’s influences are the sea and natural forms, this is evident in his work, the way in which the medium is moved across the surface reflects forms which are simple and undisturbed. His work is exciting to look at and can influence me in my own work with the mediums available to me, to create this form as closely as possible, using PVA and layers of painting papers could create the depth along side acrylic.

My motivator is movement, tension, changing, pulling, contrast in roles I feel Martin’s work feeds in to this and I can take what I have learn and push this into my body of work intuitively.

The work of Jason Martin:


Iron X Dance – Acrylic on paper


I feel this piece is successful in the way it conveys such a strong energy, it splashes, spins, pulls and pushes. The paint becomes thin in places exposing the paper.

Taking an earlier painting which was quite busy and complex and editing this using a computer programme to bring forward the dancer shape I am working with. This creates a more simplistic shapes and set of colours bringing it closer to the work of Martin.

As I will be creating further paintings in line with my enquiry I wanted to take the two paintings I think are successful, manipulate them again using technology to see if this inspires me to create again from this image with more drama and emotion.



Strong colours with line and flicks of acrylic paint. After editing the tones still work well today, they appear as pastel, faded tones. Structure and an element of freshness has been brought to the piece.

IMG_2534 IMG_2522

Simplifying the painting, colours and form. I have softened the shapes focusing purely on the higher and textural layers to dramatis the piece. The light areas softly approach the colours. This image has been changed completely with technology. Unlike the previous image I feel this becomes more interesting, as you focus on line and movement. The computerized images which have more simplified form with a smaller colour palette leading me to the work of Katy Dove.

Artist Katy Dove uses video and music to convey feelings, atmosphere and meaning into her art work, her art is hypnotic in the way the music repeats and the visual elements move in conjunction with the speed. Simple lines, shapes, silhouettes and colours are used. It’s not often I have come across videos made by artists, especially those that display abstract 2D forms. As there are layers to the visual elements there are layers to the music therefore speed and movement can change and still work with the music.

In her video ‘Meaning In Action’ 2013 she uses her body and the shadows of her arms and legs to convey loose, swinging movement from the left and right of the video.


Within her work Dove explores shapes and ideas which she relates to the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ mental space, she presents this in her work through capturing different movements and actions, geometric shapes, mark making repeated on fabrics, she films mediums drying on fabrics. Mixing shapes with footage of bodily movement, mainly arms and legs.

Dove’s process for beginning her work is to create intuitive mark making, drawings and watercolour shapes. This is her grounding for her animations. Dove’s work is mesmerising and reflects her interesting in psychology and well being, working in Mental health her work sits well with me and the qualities of emotional wellbeing is apparent in calm tones, movement and shapes she choses. Looking at reality and expectations, changing of roles and the tension that can be caused by all of these things Dove’s work is refreshing and motivating within my own work. Her use of silhouettes is a visual way of presenting roles, in an effective way. Bringing this in line with my own work, no matter what the ‘role’ or how many changes occur, physically or mentally, a persons identity remains the same. Similarly to my previous work, the figure can be used to convey this, pushing this forward another idea was beginning to form and I want to explore this. Shadows creating a change in roles which resonate with me displaying appropriate actions, photographs taken on the wall of my home:

Fitness, Pole, Physical Health IMG_2559

Mental health, open communication, body language, supportive IMG_2555

Responsibility, expectationsIMG_2554

Another contemporary artist Kumi Yamashita, a Japanese artist based in based in New York, in her work she sculpts with light and shadow, constructing art through manipulating objects and placing them carefully in relation to her light source. Her work is a mix of sculpture, installation and photography. Born to an artistic family her father was a sculptor and a professor of industrial design I can see the influence within her work, the materials, surroundings and simple monochrome props Yamashita uses for her works allows the simplicity of her manufactured forms to compliment the more complex figures.

C_kumi-yamashita_CLOUDS-818x1017‘Clouds’ 2005 Cut aluminum plate, single light source, photo by yuuki naka


A strong piece with minimal detail, a close relationship, working together, a team, the shadow descends and becomes blurry, giving the impression of spray, rain splashing – emphasised by the use of the singular prop. Her work is strong in terms of impact, clever in imagery and installation.

Creating further paintings from my previous explorative work using palette knives and contrasting these marks with softer areas of paint applied by household objects such as a sponge or rag, to explore the notion of pulling, tension and revealing, using abstracted forms which I have collected from around me. I will use my palette thoughtfully to infuse the compositions with drama and emotion.

To undertake this exercise I will use cut out paper templates, masking and drawing round found objects to describe edges to ensure that your underlying drawing doesn’t make the composition go wobbly. A contemporary artist who is inspired by layers of impasto paint, pushed around the surface is Elfyn Lewis, his work is bright, bold and textured, using only layers of paint rather than other paper mediums. Lewis allows paint to overflow, drip, layering thick impasto paint. His forces his paint to create an ‘object of desire’. His inspiration is landscape and colour with an intention to ‘transfix’ the viewer. Works by Lewis: http://www.axisweb.org/p/elfynlewis/ Lewis’ work has given me more confidence to use edges and shape within my paintings, he has a translucency in certain works allows the hard edges to show through as well as his layers of impasto paint. Within his work he presents different push and pull movements, slow and fast, strong and weak, his variety is never ending and this is an element I want to use within my project, to work rigorously. Another video showing a balloon bursting, I have slowed down the video to show the transparency in the balloon. My step son featured her as an alternative to myself, I felt that him undertaking this would be more appropriate given another role of step mother and how this relationship can be difficult. Children can push the boundaries and apply the pressure when they want, a sometimes fragile position to be in. He wore his colourful summer clothing with an angry face on this tshirt whilst bursting the balloon, I felt this worked well highlighting the subject matter and with the colours working well together as bold and similar in tone. https://vimeo.com/133901735 Following the balloon bursting I instructed him to pick up the deflated balloon and pull it as hard as he could. Another layer of pressures, pulling, adding tension after a breaking point. https://vimeo.com/133901736 Interesting shapes, colours and movements to work with for more abstract paintings. Make sure you are really focused on what you are doing, and take time to reflect on each piece and build on its strengths. The work will be trying to tell you something and you must listen and respond. Abstract paintings as a result of research and my own experimental videos:

IMG_2656Stencils, masking areas, using palette knife, rags, sponges and line. Chaotic, movement, darker areas creating shadows and contrasting the different methods of applying the paint and moving this across the surface. The colours work well together and it was interesting working with a different palette, however after using bright colours I felt this painting looked ‘dirty’. The masked white areas moving across the page is the area where stencils and masks are used, after completing this painting I prefer the other areas of the piece. White gives such a stationary look and therefore the surrounding areas have more movement and interest.


‘Bird at point of tension’

Taking a bird stencil and using this to move upwards across the paper, layering palette knife marks are soft sponge areas. The marks become more cutting as they move towards the top of the paper where the birds head is stretched and broken. White here is used softly with a sponge, there is no set shape and it is used in a translucent way, this works better than as a solid masked area. The bottom area of the painting feels more revealed, it is exposing all the underneath layers of paint, stencils and line. I like this, the contrast between the upper and lower, the upper painting becomes busy, stronger and more opaque. Exploring movement in many ways. My paintings for this exercise seemed to be landscape only, I positioned this painting to work portrait. I wanted to explore moving upwards instead of sideways and responding to this I felt different, it gave me a less vigorous approach.

IMG_2655Using a photograph and creating a mask from it, painting the base and applying the mask, to ensure full coverage I used a thick household white paint. Emphasizing movement and recreating the light from the photograph I use a palette knife to scrap grey tones across the top. Only sponge and palette knife used to create this painting.   IMG_2652Working from the centre of the page, no masks or stencils, working on scraping, sponging and layering the paint using sweeping movements.

IMG_2653Following the video of the balloon popping in slow motion I created this piece. In particular the moment when the balloon has just burst and there is a transition between full size and deflating the balloon becomes translucent and the outline and the crumpled area are visible at the same time. This is a really interesting movement in seeing the stretch and the slack and the change in colour. Taking the parts of this shot which interested me I created stencils and masks of the balloon and shapes within the entire picture I wanted to recreate. Saturating the colours and sponging these on, creating layers with the masks and highlighting areas with a palette knife. To recreate the textured deflated area of the balloon I used the balloon to print with, painting it and pressing it onto the paper. It created interesting texture with more shape than a sponge or rag, the paint did not soak into the balloon which made it easier to re-use.  I particularly like this painting, using only coloured paint I kept the translucency of the layers and recreated the balloon in a fully abstract manner. The painting represents change, pulling, tension however there are other things I see here, a helmet, clouds, smoke, a cityscape, the viewer can recreate the next part of the story with this piece.

Having created paintings which infuse movement with colour, abstract qualities and techniques of painting, masking and layering, all seem fairly busy and complex in their final compositions. Research involved looking at the work of Elfyn Lewis, his transparency, colour, shape and simple compositions resonates with me, his aim being to ‘transfix’ the viewer, I can say I feel his work is successful and mesmerizing. Using Lewis as a force of motivation and inspiration within my project I pushed myself further into creating work which is less complex, clean in colour, yet still use the skills learnt.


Cool colour palette, limited to resist over complicating. Palette Knife, rage, sponge and brush, this painting represents the stretched balloon being pulled by my step son. Layered with straight lines to ensure tension within this piece is taught and at its full capacity. This piece is canvas, due to the layers of paint I wanted to use a durable base to allow for the palette knife to scrap the surface as many times as it needed to without pulling away at other areas.

The line and direction of this abstract excites me, its energetic and I feel the tightness I wanted it to portray in the way the paint is pulled across the canvas alongside the use of straight line.


Taking a shadow photo and creating a stencil from it, again for this piece I wanted to create a limited colour palette, layered with another approach to movement still using a less complex make up. Masking the black canvas with the stencil I sponged around it creating a build up of colour where possible, some areas this naturally collected to form a line, Scraping and blotting around the mask this formed my second layer. I returned to this piece after drying and began using a brush and deflated balloon to create marks and line. Allowing the black and masked areas to show through.

Painting 2.3 and 2.4
During these exercises I will explore further the techniques used in the previous paintings and exercises, such as masking, stencilling, using clay sculptures to connect with my subject with movement and actions. There are many more aspects and research that could be added to this project such as the origin of pole dancing, the sexual stigma surrounding it and the changing perspective and popularity of the now ‘sport’ empowering and strengthening both females and males… however time is an issue with this project review, it would be interesting to explore and exhaust this topic.

Life Drawing

Exploring the shape and movement of the figure closely and over a long period of time:

IMG_3185 IMG_3186

Drawing myself in a mirror proved quite difficult, pins and needles and numb feet! However this exercise was a learning curve in being honest when drawing the figure and adapting to movements in the subject whilst studying.

Using a range of pencils and strong lighting (first drawing) to give shadow and definition in areas, I sat very close to the mirror to view details without moving a great deal.

What could be improved:

  • Sense of depth
  • Range of marks (second drawing)
  • Accuracy (first drawing – arm is too long)

For my next life drawing I chose to draw a model, from a photograph, chosen for the movement in the model, the pose and in particular I enjoyed the lines created through the position of the body:


Throughout exploring the body, my concern is not with the face/head, as I feel this could lead of other emotions through expression. This project is focused on movement, pushing, pulling, tension of the subject and the medium to express this, the body is more than capable of doing this strongly without the use of the face.

  • Figure seems broad
  • No sense of depth
  • Strong shadows and line

This figure has captured me more than the others, I want to move this forward and explore it further alongside other figures.

Life Drawing Class

To gain further insight into figure drawing and guidance I attended a drop in Life Drawing class in Cornwall, the whole experience was refreshing and inspiring. A mix of shorter and longer poses to capture with my choice of medium, beginning with pencil, charcoal and finally graphite which quickly became my preferred medium.

Capturing the figure with an expressive manner and interesting line qualities is important to me and I became able to portray this in the last few pieces completed with the class.

IMG_3646 IMG_3647 IMG_3648 IMG_3650 IMG_3652 IMG_3651

Photo Editing

IMG_3151 IMG_3150Edited photographs to enhance the shadow, hide the face and to highlight the white areas, editing these photographs supports me to focus on the body and the shapes created by light and dark, the overall shape is much more interesting to work with now as only partial part of the body can be seen.

IMG_3275IMG_3274Using the third life drawing I traced over the strong lines and shadows to create an abstract shape and pull out the areas of interest to me from my original drawing. The positioning of the legs is long and straight, reminiscent of my previous masks and stencils created within paintings to represent the pole and anchoring the figure.

I feel this image is exciting and can be used in many ways to explore techniques, shape and layers within my final paintings.

Masking using a stencil

IMG_3309 IMG_3308

Moving forward with the figure I have abstracted it further, enhancing the sharp, strong lines which attracted me to this particular drawing, from viewing the body as a shape which portrays the strength and movement which I want I created a stencil.

Using the stencil I worked with pastel and paint to move around the page and see the outcome for that particular shape. Becoming more involved with this shape and understanding it further in a more vigorous way I created a small sculpture using air drying clay and small sections of bamboo sticks so pull forward the strong lines, I felt the stick created tension, the broken ends are sharp and where they crossed each other created a contrasting texture.




Drawing the sculpture, using the same techniques as the paper sculpture in exercise 1, light from the side to create shadow and placed on a large sheet of white paper.

From this detailed drawing I have created a number of line drawings using pen, pencil, charcoal and chalk to explore the different qualities of creating line and techniques, moving loosely and expressively, drawing on the tension in the sticks and the softer areas of clay, contrasting together.


Pen Drawing of sculpture IMG_3325

Pencil drawing IMG_3326

Charcoal and chalk


During the first exercise I looked at Karo Swen, a dancer moving to a dub step track, moving forward with this area of interest, here is another video found on Youtube exploring colour, marks, movement, shape and stretch:

A female is body painted, not in the usual manner, but painted in a way which could be portrayed as tribal – loose, marks, pattern, bold and luminous.

The dancer is painted with a medium brush, uses the pole, moves around creating shapes, abstract patterns and silhouettes, she returns back to the artist who paints again, this action is repeated, therefore even if moves are repeated the same shape and pattern with marks cannot be, each is original from the last.

The artist paints the body with an almost carefree attitude, the colours aren’t mixed and the body keeps its vibrancy. I’ve enjoyed watching this concept happen and feel that the colour palette used is similar to my original video of the materials being pulled. It would be interesting to revisit this original palette and use this with my next pieces of work.

The body here is almost invisible and the person is no longer a person, I see this as a shape of patterns, moving around, bending, watching the paint stretch, layer and overlap each other is an interesting concept.

A softer colour palette can been seen here in a lit photograph of Bendy Kate, a well known former UK pole champion. The lines of white/blue next to the pink highlighting areas of the body to define certain shapes, this is an element I can use within my own work in line or stencil.

Former World Pole Sport and Fitness Champion 'Bendy Kate' of the United Kingdom performs during the finals

John Hoyland an abstract expressionist painter within the contemporary period, 1934-2011. Hoyland likes to work with the basics of art and believes this is the true and raw form of creating paintings. Watching his video on iplayer helped me to understand and connect with the artist, video is more powerful than a silent website. Hoyland talks about how he creates and the atmosphere he needs to ensure his mind is as switched on as possible, like Hoyland I hate to work in silence, it can become like a block to a writer and he explains that noise prevents him from over thinking the art and process. Hoyland works spontaneously, colour is the key to his paintings, he believes choosing colours are not an intellectual choice and that the artist is responding to their feelings, thoughts and other colours within the composition – ‘a simple state’ and use of colour.

I enjoy watching him work and the way in which he carries out his processes, he believes nothing is random even the size of the canvas you choose but a decision you are making is informed based on other things.


John Hoyland – 48inches x 48inches


70-79_3.1.75 48 x 40 Acrylic on canvas


Acrylic on cotton duck


90-99_Riverman 15.7.99 100 x 93 ins Acrylic on cotton duck

Paintings based around movement of figure, paint, moving and stationary lines from the sculpture created. Reverting back to the colour palette based around the original objects. Exploring composition, shape and layers on paper with acrylic, chalk, charcoal and oil pastel.

IMG_3390The left side layering works well and the contrast of the palette knife marks on softer areas, however the centre seems lost and a little messy.


A foggy appearance, paint has become dull and overworked, again figure and line is too central and areas are less interesting in a way that does not add to the overall painting.IMG_3389This painting is more successful, the colour palette is reflective of the brightly coloured objects pulled and ripped. The figure is visible – maybe too identifiable for my liking. Using stencils and masks I created the lines representational of poles and sticks used in the model.  IMG_3393

Over painting a figure mask, using colours from my own palette and inspired by bendy kate photograph, I feel there is a range of marks creating movements but I don’t like it, it doesn’t flow as an overall image and looking at it makes me feel uneasy and confused.IMG_3392

More of a primary palette with heavy charcoal line loosely resembling the shape of the clay and stick sculpture. Slightly too messy and there is no area which is identifiable with a figure or object.

Using all these paintings to work towards a larger piece on cotton canvas to explore on a bigger scale elements which I feel have worked well.

Final Painting 1

Using a range of stencils based around the figure, one simplified shape and the other amended to work in line light and shadow and the shapes it creates on the figure. The stencils were cut with a knife to ensure crisp edges and like previous exercises this canvas was revisited each night to prevent overworking in one go, which may have led to the colours becoming muddy and dull.

This piece has retained its vibrancy and has the right about of abstract – to recognisable elements. Like Hoyland working with the colour as it happens and reacting to this in a way which is expressive and shows movement, a range of marks using a palette knife, sponge and brushes. Painting on cotton not restrained by the edges of paper or stretched canvas allowed me to work as large as I felt appropriate and moved around the material on the floor. The original composition was different however as I began to move around the floor to paint different sections, to me, this became the natural composition.

Final Painting 2


Second final painting, drawing on a slightly different way of working, keeping the sensitivity of the female figure contrasting with the vigorous movements of the paint creating tension, structure, space and movement. The bird painting is a particular favourite piece which I feel was successful and I wanted to portray elements within this piece, the primaries, strong and opaque in areas, however still using the colour mixing skills learnt throughout this project. This bending figure in the right corner is the main area of interest and this is brought forward by the white and the cadmium yellow and magenta kept clean. In other paintings I experienced some muddying of the colours, final painting 1 is clean and vibrant and I wanted to explore a slightly more muddy palette on cotton canvas whilst still remaining bright in most areas.

Working on cotton canvas has been a great experience compared to the almost plastic of the pre-stretched canvases, especially using acrylic as the drying time was extended and using sponges and rags the paint was able to continue moving around creating softer areas.

Final Painting 3


The final study for this project is on cotton canvas and mounted on card, the primaries are limited here, returning to the softer pastels of the first painting. The figure element is subtle here and the use of charcoal heavier, a warm colour palette which works harmoniously to portray elements of movement created by the way the paint is applied to the canvas. Using a palette knife to work against the canvas so that the knife drags and sticks in places, pastel over wet paint to draw into the colour and remove it. Stencils, masks and mixed mediums to push translucent and opaque qualities whilst portraying the sensitive figure with a large amount of movement, strength and passion.

Final Assessment

For assessment I have selected to singly mount chosen pieces which I feel are the most successful, show a journey and range of techniques explored in order to achieve the end result. Appropriate preparatory and materialism work, alongside sketchbook and reports have been added to my submission. Final painting 2 is mounted on card for ease of posting and Final painting 2 is too large to stretch or mount, this project will be submitted alongside my old work (original submission) for Exploring Concepts to show the improvement in my work, methods and developed learning.

I am pleased with the project review and feel this has been a steep, much needed learning curve which has allowed me to develop a sustainable and more interesting way of working. Creating a project of my own, writing an artist statement and pushing this through into final paintings has been exciting and refreshing.


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