Big discussion on Friday morning with the tutor - Colin. Very productive in that he like me, thinks that there is so much more mileage in this project and I could, in theory, carry on until the end of the year. He used the word 'dull' which dismayed me somewhat but this was directed at the colours rather than anything else. I can remedy that by using varnish mixed with the acrylic paint to brighten up set areas - add more lustre. Konstantinia also suggested brilliantly I think, that I add red, yellow and orange to my greys to give more variety. More fun to be had. So, in answer to an earlier post, no - these paintings are not yet done. Here is the work in progress. All paintings give a title based on advice from the Photography week.
The Closes Project
I have to give it a name now that is officially given the go-ahead. I was able to retrieve some scrap board from the Xchange outside ECA and got it all cut to size courtesy of the technician in the Woodwork Shop. Now I have a bundle of differently sized rectangular pieces on which to focus on small sections. There is an offer of hanging space at the City Library for some weeks over the summer. Steve Hunter apprised us but is basically looking for students to take it over. I am rather late in the day getting in touch about it but I do hope to be able to exhibit some of these pieces. Apparently space is limited and what with some folk already jumping at the chance and already referring to themselves as curators I doubt my chances.
Filler Weeks Concluded
Got to the end of the fortnight. Expectation was that some of the tutors would be around today to present to. This was not the case - at least up to 12.30 pm today when I left college for the weekend. Having been in for a solid two weeks and produced six pieces of work without input/support at all, I felt no compunction about leaving early. I am hoping that on Tuesday, I will be able to speak with a tutor and get agreement on being able to continue with this project. The next three weeks are entitled 'Own World' and I get the impression that it will be ok to carry on. I am exploring what is effectively my own world anyway. The three collages, plus fourth adaptation have produced enough material for a series of paintings which I am keen to see to conclusion. It is this that I hope to be able to continue with.
Using a blank mount as viewfinder, there are many compositions to paint from the four earlier development pieces. Sticking to collage, black, white and two hues of white, the paintings present themselves. There are two already taking shape - not sure if they are finished or not.
Play Week 2
Gone from just black and white to black, white and blues! Having compositional issues with the larger square piece I started on a piece of mounting card - much more robust and less 'dimpling' when wet. Compositonally I must NOT split the painting into halves etc - need to be careful with the way the structure works so it is not divisive.
For the newest version - I had decided to try to put the collage on, roughly working out lights and darks and desired textures, then build up a rhythm within the painting following lines and textures provided by the base layer.
In the pursuit of John Virtue
So I am basically just playing! I have lots of collage material in black and white, different textures and patterns. What I am trying to do is recreate the ambiance of the Close in the rainy winter using collage and painting on top with acrylic. I am having fun!
Two weeks of what?
It would appear that we have two weeks of 'filler'! Two weeks of reviews translates into two weeks of no contact time with tutors. It also means two weeks of activity that are to go un-evaluated. Motivation is all!
I arrived at 9.30 am this morning to a locked studio - 'Unusual' yelled David the photography tutor as he strode off to get a key to unlock it. So I was the first one in. I wondered if I was missing anything as for what seemed a very long time I was not only the first one in but the only one in. But no, as other students came in (not that many), I was reassured, I had not missed notification of a talk or a seminar or some such thing.
So... what I got up to today was a lot of playing. Collage in black, white and grey onto card to see what different effects I could come up with. The prospect of 'playing' for another eight days.... watch this space.
Mid-Session Review Art Project
Rather scarily this is the half-way point in first year! We return to a short two week project in which we are invited to do the following:
“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow world of ''meanings.” Susan Sontag
You are asked to revisit one project from Semester 1. Look at your research and the work you produced. (Don’t use the last project you did; the more temporal distance between you and your work the better.) What does the thing you made actually do? Does it accurately sum up your thinking? Does it make you see your original idea in a different way?
Using your original research combined with your current thinking, make a piece of work. You have two weeks to produce something new that will be exhibited in your space on Friday 21st January.
I have decided to return to the So Far project. Steve Hunter had advised me in his evaluation to: ' ...find more contemporary painters to help place your work in context. John Virtue for instance paints cityscapes that contain the weight and 'dirtiness' of the buildings he is looking at. Different from what you were doing here but his free use of materials might be something you could use. '
I looked up John Virtue and loved his work. An image of his is below. His work really reminds me of the smokey, black and white paintings of trains in the 'Railway Inn in Largo which I always sit and admire. Steve Hunter had also commented: 'Your ideas are strong and that can make it hard sometimes to let go and explore equally thoroughly through materials. I only found this out late when I was at College. I think I was trying to 'illustrate' my ideas rather than understanding that the materials were a way of thinking too.'
I am very excited about getting back into the theme of the close, exploring things more through material use. At the end of last topic I got into using monochrome so aim to use collage materials and stick to a simple colour palette.
Unfortunately the weather made sculpture impossible for me as I could not get out of Haddington! There was extra confusion as the college closed early Monday, all of Tuesday and reopened on Wednesday to those who could make it without risk. By Thursday there was little incentive to start a project which would end the following day. The plus side was that I managed to spend the time constructively on the 500 word essay for John Beagles. I fretted about this essay until it was underway then I relaxed and enjoyed it! Still awaiting it to be marked so goodness knows how I fared. Hope springs enternal.
The road and rail conditions made for very exciting travel. I made it in the last two weeks of college mostly through Andrew - he drove me to Wallyford Station where I picked up the train. Luckily he had put on snow tyres on his van a week or so before the weather hit. The irony was that although some students got through many tutors did not as they lived out of Edinburgh and were very much discouraged from making the journey if conditions were bad. Conditions were pretty awful for weeks!
As regards the Intermedia project I wanted to take part in this despite reservations about my attendance for the whole week. Steve Hunter wanted us to make one minute films showing what the studio itelf was all about. Maggie agreed to do a joint project with me. We both had ideas which fortunately converged on key points. Maggie was keen to pursue the idea of a labrynth. I was keen to do something about a journey in the confined space of the college.
The Mural Room in the college has a very dusty floor courtesy of the plaster and clay used. Maggie had printed out a picture of a labrynth which I drew on the floor using clumps of plaster - the lines being pretty much invisible unless you were standing right over them. Then using a mop and a pail of water I went over the lines so the labrynth appeared with the water then disappeared as the water dried out. I thought this had a beautiful ring to it - the studio itself giving the material we needed to make a drawing. Maggie videoed using my camera which proved more user friendly than the college ones. She filmed me in motion then herself walking around the labrynth itself.
The difficulties came with editing. A complex business techinically using the software in the computer suite but altogether more complicated with differing points of view. We also had to edit more than eleven minutes of film to two - and that was with negotiation on our part from the initially prescribed one minute of film. Maggie originally wanted something slow and calming, meditative in nature, but the whole editing process involved speeding up the film. In the end we had rather a humorous film which was fine but perhaps not the best result for the project. Feedback was favourable despite this - the other students responding as we had hoped for in that they were surprised when the camera panned out at the end to reveal the drawing. Steve considered it would have been better to have edited it differently dwelling on the slow, meditative qualities.
I really enjoyed these two weeks, benefitting from having a return session. In the first week I managed to get a lot of work done on the 2 large abstracts but was unhappy with the second. I realised after discussion with John that I had missed out a stage in the development of these paintings in that I had no framework/composition on which to base them. The first worked through happy chance. I had to work harder on the second. John then advised me to take simple drawings of components of the studio and focus on monochrome. The simplicity of these after the complex abstracts was a welcome respite.
Painting - Development Week 1
Following on from the inital drawings, we were asked to do fifteen development pieces. This was fun to do and the source for each was a section of the five collages. It was like translating something from Chinese to French in that the collages were a complete language in themselves. Trying to improve on the textures and colours of the inital collages was a hard task, though the resulting drawings were interesting in their own right.
Carol E Duff