Monday, January 10, 2011

Assement set-up

"My studio has a personality of its own. It can be a monstrous clutter from one end to the other or, at times, the very model of simplicity."
-Harley Brown

Well all my work has been set up for my assessment tomorrow, Tuesday the 11th at 11:45.
Looking at everything set up in this photo makes me feel ill. It doesn't look like I have a lot done. It takes so long to do so little. I just want everything to be perfect.
Hopefully it looks ok and my work will go down well tomorrow.
I'll be glad when it is all over.

Artists Statment

My work on this project has always been about the dying earth and the growing city.
It started out on more of the emotional side, trying to illustrate the frustration of a dying land, and the closterfobic feelings one has when in the full of people, and pollution.
It then turned more surreal after I focused on the wild animals that are learning to adapt in their new urban environment. Such as the fox and the hare/rabbit.
I wanted to focus on mother earth, combining her image with that of animal and human, living amongst the city.
I wanted to tell stories, and to explore hidden worlds in the city streets that we as humans choose to ignore, and forget about as we grow older.
In the end the pieces I created focused on nature, and that even though it is delicate and fragile, in reality we are the delicate ones. It wouldn’t take much for nature to wipe us out and to start fresh.
We are small in her hands.

"The studio, a room to which the artist consigns himself for life, is naturally important, not only as workplace, but as a source of inspiration. And it usually manages, one way or another, to turn up in his product."
-Grace Gluek

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ode to Joy, - Fin

Just some photos of my sketchbook for this project.
 Its stuffed and its spine is broking.
A well loved book and an enjoyable project even if the original\subject might have been a bit dry and challenging.
 I think I made the most out of it..:O).

"Learn to draw so effectively that it becomes second nature – almost another language. Carry a sketchbook at all times"
-David Curtis

My Final Piece!

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." 
-Kahlil Gibran
Below are photos of my final piece for this project. I hope it goes down well with my tutors, its hard to create something in two weeks or less. I started comparing paintings of the Virgin Mary and of the more Pagan styled paintings of the green woman by Brian Froud.

I wanted to create an image of Nature herself, a person of living energy. Holding a city plucked from a dying world in the universe's garden.
I wanted the city to be small in her hand. showing that even though something so big and that is growing so fast, can easily be plucked form history, wiped out by a single wave of the hand......

"This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature had proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself.... We've got to be stopped."
-Michael L. Fischer, Harper's, July 1990

For the background I printed out a whole bunch of lyrics by Iron and Wine and some poetry on Nature by Emily Dickinson, then pasted them in rows, from top to bottom, left to right, onto the board.

Close-up of background

I then painted it with a thin layer of gesso. Thin enough so you can still see the lyrics, but also creating a surface to paint over.
Using a sponge I painted a layer of gold mixed with slow drying fluid retarder to thin it out and such.

The original drawing

I transferred the drawing onto the board

I taped the edges so I could get an even line when I painted the dress.

I mixed slow drying fluid retarder with the paint so it would go on very thin. The added gold stars to the dress.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. "
 -John Muir
I stupidly didn't take picture as I was going along, but this is it before I added the horns and city.

Close-up of face after I added the antlers.

Close-up of Antler. The antler is made with hard moulding paste creating a relief. I also used he molding paste for the hair that is wrapped round the antler. I've never used moulding paste before so It was pretty cool that I got to use all these different mediums and such for this piece.

Close-up of texture on antler.  I mixed the base colour with the paste then when it was dry, I sponged on the darker colour so it got in all the nooks and crannies, then using a lighter colour I sponged it lightly so the top bits lightened up.

Close-up of city. I used found photos of down-town Manhattan and New York, cutting and pasting the images together. Then I placed them inside a pressed rose. Its funny I got the rose when I graduated from primary school. All the girls were given one. So I might as well put it to good use I suppose. I painted the rose with gold paint and added a bit of red on the edges. I wish I did more with the city. Maybe build it up with a bit of cardboard at the back. Unfortunately I didn't realize this until it was to late, if I had more time, I'd have to press another rose, and basically start all over again......

This symbol is in the bottom right hand corner of the painting. I thought about putting in on her forehead or something but decided it balanced out the painting a lot better to put it in the corner. The symbol is the Ruin symbol for love. I also thought about using another one which is the symbol for healing. But I chose love. Because without love we are nothing, how can we heal without love, even if its just love for ourselves..

The Final Product

"A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just a bigger father with a bigger fist.  If an omniscient, all-powerful Dad ignores your prayers, it's taken personally.  Hear only silence long enough, and you start wondering about his power.  His fairness.  His very existence.  But if a world mother doesn't reply, Her excuse is simple.  She never claimed conceited omnipotence.  She has countless others clinging to her apron strings, including myriad species unable to speak for themselves.  To Her elder offspring She says - go raid the fridge.  Go play outside.  Go get a job.  Or, better yet, lend me a hand.  I have no time for idle whining." 
 -David Brin
Sketchbook: Comparing pictures of the Virgin Mary to more Pagan paintings by the artist Brian Froud. Looking at how hands were positioned.
Hands are good at telling stories all on their own.

Sketchbook: Initial Sketch with reference photos

Sketchbook: Experimenting with Conte pencils and looking at other artists who used conte on their own and with acrylics. I didn't have much success as I am not very familiar with conte pencils and decided that it wouldn't work.

Sketchbook: Close up of head. Looking at other abstract portraits that other artists have done

Sketchbook: Text used for background, paint and cut-outs.

Sketchbook: Testing colours and paint.

My workspace while working on this piece.! Complete chaos! Beautiful! :O)

All the palettes I used for this painting. I put this in because as corny as it sounds we need to all remember were we came from. Were our roots lie. Whether we came from nature or from a dried up palette of paint. It makes us who we are.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
-From the television show The Wonder Years

It may sound silly but it is worth it if you listen to this song while looking at the final painting, it really brings it alive!


"Divine Nature gave the fields, human art built the cities."
-Marcus Terentius Varro, De Re Rustica

The images below are from previous pieces that I did earlier in the year. The only difference with these is that they have been 'drawn with thread.' I should have a lot more of them, but alas I ran out of time. I wanted to make a picture book out of them. I'm disappointed in myself only because this project isn't finished and I hate not completing things, Maybe after assessments I'll have another go at it.Still, presented on their on they work out well.

"This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air."
-William Wordsworth

Sewn Hare

Close-up of Hare's head. She has a button for an eye.

"In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time."
-Somerset Maugham

Sewn Rook

Close-up of Rook's head, with a button for an eye.

"Cities are the abyss of the human species."
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile

Wired Hare

"All cities are mad:  but the madness is gallant.  All cities are beautiful:  but the beauty is grim."
-Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins

Sorry about the poor picture quality. Hopefully you can see what its about.

The original sketch is below. Its of a hare leaping over the city buildings.
For the final piece I drew out the image on a piece of cardboard, which is about the size of an A2 sheet of paper. For the city I used oil pastels and acrylics, also a bit of white spirits. I've never used that combination of mediums before, so I wasn't sure if it would give me the desired effect. I think it worked well in the end, it may be a little flat though, as long as it doesn't take away from the hare itself, then that's all that matters.
The hare is made out of fine jewelery wire, sewn through the cardboard with a needle to create a ghostly image of the hare.. Unfortunately the cardboard is slightly bent, you can see the crease in the photo. It annoys the heck out of me!
All in all I think the image is successful, only because it is something different.

"Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo."
-Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo

Friday, January 7, 2011

Flower Power

"Earth laughs in flowers. "
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"

Here are several paintings I did on Board. They are of various flowers that I see a lot around the city, the only one I don't have, which should be there is the butterfly bush. If you look they are all over the city, growing out of chimney's and out of roofs. They are hard to avoid. Unfortunately I ran out of board, It was badly planned.

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. "
-Terri Guillemets

The boards are 71/2 x 51/2 inches. I cut out various bits and pieces from newspaper articles and magazines, with negative words and sayings, and glued them to the boards, then I painted over a thin layer of gesso.

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life."
  -Jean Giraudoux

The first three flowers I painted were done in acrylic. I didn't like how they turned out. I wasn't spending time on them, nor was I being very pathient. The only one I liked was the daffodil, I think what really turned me off was the fuchsia. So I decided to use watercolours instead. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, I'd never used watercolour on gesso, and I wasn't sure if the surface would be suitable. Turned out it worked out quit well. The flowers are slightly faded, which is good it sends the right message. That even though nature is fading as the urban world is growing, its still there, refusing to leave, it will find a way to fight back.
All in all I think they worked out well.

"Flowers are without hope.  Because hope is tomorrow and flowers have no tomorrow. " -Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Dying Daffodile in acrylic

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."
  ~Lydia M. Child

Dying Rose in acrylic

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." 
-Gertrude S. Wiste

Dying Fuschia in Acrylic. I really dont like this one!

"Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?"
 - Maurice Maeterlinck

Dying Daffodile in watercolours

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance."
~William Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," 1804

Dying Fuschia's in watercolours

"Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul." 
-The Koran

Dead and dried out Hydrangia in watercolours

"The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
Of Gods
In languages of rainbows
And secret silence..."
-Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations,

Dying Marigold in watercolours

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." 
 -Susan Polis Shutz

Dying Rose in watercolours

"Why do people give each other flowers?  To celebrate various important occasions, they're killing living creatures?  Why restrict it to plants?  "Sweetheart, let's make up.  Have this deceased squirrel." 
-The Washington Post
(I thought this was really funny!)

Dying Sweetpea in watercolours

"Have you ever seen a flower down
Sometimes angels skip around
And in their blissful state of glee
Bump into a daisy or sweet pea."
~Jessi Lane Adams

"Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed."
-Walt Whitman

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Home (JVTP)

Safari Book

"An Artist is a sketchbook with a person attached."-Irwin Greenburg

This should of been posted a while ago. This is my Journal/personal/analytical sketchbook.
I believe the last entry was on December the 25th 2010.
I should of started keeping a journal as soon as I started college, but alas it wasn't on my mind at the time.  At first it started out as my analytical sketchbook, for this project, then it gradually turned into a journal/personal skecthbook. I try and write in it everyday as well as draw. I think it is very important to draw at least something, even if its just a doodle everyday. Just to keep in the right mind set and to keep your skill strong.

Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good." -Cennino Cennini

I put everything in my sketchbook, from newspaper clipping or pictures that I like, quotes, names of books or songs I should look up, dreams I've had, dates, notes to myself, memories..lots of memories, my feelings on what I am currently working on, etc.and of course drawings.
Usually I spend time in my sketchbook in the evenings, watching telly and trying to keep warm in the sitting room. Its my way of mellowing out.
I draw what I see around me, usually one of our many cats or our little dog. sometimes I'll draw from magazines or from old photo's, and occasionally I'll make collages.
I'm not trying to make anything pacific, its just practice, a way of getting ideas or thoughts down on paper, so you can put them away and deal with them later, or in some cases never I think of them again.
Sometimes my mind needs a good cleaning out and this is a good way to do it.
Its only recently that I have really started to enjoy keeping a sketchbook, I feel sorry for the person who has to look back through them in the future. I wonder what they will think of me!?
I was pleased with myself, I have a very bad habit of not completing sketchbooks, I nearly always leave a few pages blank at the end, this one is filled from back to front.
I started a new one right after I finished this one, I have to say there is nothing more liberating than a blank book, with pages waiting to be filled, but there is also nothing more frightening or intimidating.

"Sketchbooks in general... seem to contain mainly studies for paintings... For me, the sketchbooks are more like a secret and wholly spontaneous jeu d'esprit and some of them I like as much as anything I have ever done. They are invariably without premeditation. I mean not only that I have no plan when I make them, I also have no plan to make them."
- Robert Mother well

"The sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook." -Robert Henri

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bleeding Heart

“`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on. `I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least - at least I mean what I say - that's the same thing, you know.'”

-Lewis Carol

Another ceramic figure that I did earlier. I want to apologize for posts being so late, My computer and Internet connection can be a bit dodgy, so I have work around my computers inconvenient mood swings!
The body of the figure on the left is made out of a solid piece of clay, they head is made out of a pinch pot, the ears were made separately out of small thin slabs.
I left holes in the face so I could glue in bits of wire for the whiskers. She is painted in acrylic, since again, I was to late to put it in a glaze fire. Before the first initial firing, I place a pink marble were her heart should be and two glass beads in her eyes, they melt during the first firing. I was please with the effect I got, The heart marble bleed nicely, I was only slightly disappointed that the eyes didn't bleed as I was hoping it would look like tears. Looking back I should of used a red marble as the colour of the pink one has faded. The figure was modeled after the wash-off I did earlier(pictured below) and inspired by Lucian Freud's paintings of large women. (below)

Lucian Freud's Painting

Earlier work.

Figure Before First Fire
You can see the marble and the glass beads in the eyes.

Finished Piece

Close-up of head

Back View

"Mad as a March Hare." - Old Proverb