Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A-Painting-A-Day: Taking Stock So Far

I'd love to be able to say that it was my intention all along to do a big end of month summary of this Painting-A-Day exercise - but the truth is I've been so caught up making art that I just haven't had a chance to update this blog.

The positive of this is that it means the month is going really well. There have been a few changes to the Painting-A-Day "rules" - when you're making it up as you're going along, this is not surprising! First of all, it doesn't have to be a painting. In fact it doesn't absolutely have to be 2-D, although I have tried to stick to this in the main. However, I think that all but 2 works do include paint! Secondly, the daily was never really realistic, unless I wanted to make all the works very spontaneous and quick. Instead I have gone for at least 4 per week and made it to 5 once. By taking it a little more slowly, I think I can get some good "starters" going, things I can return to and look at developing in the future. It also gives me a chance to try out a few different techniques I've thought of or read about in the past 12 months. So the collage above shows pictures of all the works created so far.

Week 1


The first week I made four works, two collages and two mixed media drawings. None of these really work but I did try out some new techniques, including sgraffito using wax pastels and Jonathon Talbot transfer technique which I've mentioned in earlier posts. I've been focussing on developing imagery that I may use in my masters work and there are lots of "bits" that I think I can work with here.

The big disappointment for me was the sgraffito. It's a technique I'm familiar with in ceramics, and while it worked, I just didn't really like the effect - but that may be due to the multicoloured surface I created - you can see it here. It just looks lazy and messy to me.

Week 2

This week was my most productive so far. I was still in an exploratory mood despite my dissatisfaction with the sgraffito, so I tried my hand at a variety of media and techniques. The theme for Illustration Friday was buzz and anyone who knows my work knows I have included a reference to whipper snippers in a past installation - I HATE THEM! So I quickly got the idea to do a Noel MeKenna-esque painting of a whipper snipper in suburbia. I have to say that this was the most fun I've had all month. I had planned to work in acrylics, but was scared off by my total lack of experience with this type of project, so I opted for aquarelles. From a distance I am actually reasonably happy with the result, despite my obvious compositional goof - just don't examine the surface too closely, please!

I also experimented with two ideas I've had for a while. One is using tissue paper to sculpt close-ups of the body, inspired somewhat by Brent Harris - this is harder than it looks, and this one is not really working, but I will experiment further. The second idea shows lots of potential and I am really excited about it. I used Japanese paper dipped in wax to construct a box. I'm really happy with the translucency and am thinking this may be a way for me to work in 3-D other than with clay.

I also managed to complete my "start" for the Library project on Flickr and finished off with a photoshopped work for Artwords, seen in the previous post "graffitti". Okay I know that photoshop is not paint, but it is 2-D and for this one I did experiment with something I've not done before, as you'll see if you check out the post.



Week 3


All right, now we are in the home straight! Week 3.

This week I became almost totally wrapped up in the Library project. I started work on the start that Alex Itin from Brooklyn had sent me. I have to admit that it's been sitting here for 2 weeks and I've been looking at it, coming up with ideas, but terrified of actually making a mark. After all, this is another artist's work I'm about to work on. Eventually I bit the bullet and was able to find some images that I thought suited perfectly, including this map of the world from 1581 in the shape of a flower! (Alex's start included a butterfly with the words "Korea, China, Vietnam, Japan" on its wings.) You can see the completed collaboration on Alex's blog. I also polished off a book page Alex had included, a la the Humument.

By this stage I was really rolling on the collages and dieing to incorporate some of my anatomy imagery. I started a new book cover with the intention of posting it to the Library for collaboration, but was having so much fun that I ended up just continuing on with it myself!

I finished last week with a failed experiment. I had this idea to try a Jonathon Talbot transfer onto Japanese lace paper. Technically, it did work, but the effect is not what I had hoped. Not sure now what I hoped! Well, yes I am. I'm looking to express impermanence, but not in an old moth-eaten document kind-of-way, like this. I'm interested in change, transition. Hence the butterflies, life-cycles and so on. I think the faded effect of the transfer says more about this.

Well that brings us up to date. I am hoping the remaining 7 days will be just as productive. I think I should try to use this last week to experiment some more - then next month I can start to develop some of these ideas. I have booked my first trip to Melbourne to see my supervisor, Kevin White, in March. By then I need to have some solid progress to share.
















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