Tuesday, 30 March 2010


... happy anticipation.

it's been in my diary for months now, and after seeing singing to the sea by bethan huws, i'm very much looking forward to an afternoon among text, crosswords, installations and a bit of video.

bethan huws il est comme un saint dans sa niche: il ne bouge pas, kestner gesellschaft, hannover 

hehehe, and with such an announcement i am creating a bit of zugzwang* for myself to write about it afterwards.

*being forced to make a move, usually metaphorically

Thursday, 25 March 2010

it's done.

no, not the long overdue drawing assignment 1 but the final one of the three portfolios that so definitely have gotten in the way of markmaking exercises. it arrived safely with my for only a £9 surcharge on the plane and it's unwrapped and photographed (albeit the latter poorly). the forms are filled in and the particular form of german cv writing adhered to (i hope!).

it's been a strange kind of process: sifting through, ordering and framing on a1 board 2+ years of artwork and thus objectifying it, framing it by a narrative of development while letting some (or many?) of the openings shine through.

it made it a lot clearer for me what kind of development process a degree course in fine art is. and what it is not. i have been pondering the statement of 'having a too developed portfolio' and the context of a mature, though self-trained' style. it's stuff i've come across over the three years of reading and following other blogs while feeling my way along with my own and my own art practice.

i'm glad that mine is framed at the moment by an a1 portfolio. feels fitting to where i am. i hope they'll see that in the same way.

here's the slides:

and now to more light and shade and the many gradations inbetween.

the extended cut

up to the now required 20+ number, here's a slide show. the images are just off the portfolio and not high def or clarity... my apologies for that.

putting my work from 2+ years onto large sheets, combining different images from different moment in time, but then also going through them, seeing them next to each other, either one by one or all laid out has transformed these pieces yet again. i kind of figured before and noted what all the fields hanging on the gallery wall did to them and to me staring at them. it's a funny kind of objectification, of externalising and at the same time projecting.

the learning (as well as promoting yourself) aspect of an a1 portfolio is a different one: it's much more focussed on displaying what i did and how this is coherent, a process of development and exploration. and while i know that certain subjects, approaches, media and indeed colours grab me more strongly than others, it's rather curious to see all that staring back at you.

here's a slide show of it all. before it'll be handed over to art school number 2 on monday.

Monday, 22 March 2010

kurt jackon's 'ardnamurchan' in edinburgh

i was asked in my art school interview on friday what current or past artists (probably in context of painting/printmaking degree read: painters) influence my work. and i was pretty quiet on the many varied contemporary painters that do figure.

in some sense the question is almost too abstract for me. it's too close to a 'favourite list of x' question which i usually draw a blank. don't know: it's a recall and represent task that i perform in many other contexts... i know that there are a lot of writers, social theorists or indeed artists that i pay close attention to, feel inspired or annoyed by and thus engage with them. but listing them? a difficult one that one.

in any case. here's one that will, while he generally doesn't lack a busy exhibition schedule, have a show in edinburgh in april. and not just any show. one on one of my top three locations in scotland (that is a list that is easily maintained for a strange reason).

it's kurt jackson, ardnamurchan at dovecot studios, edinburgh, 7-24 april 2010.
i always like the fact that much of his exhibitions are very well documents online: in large size photos of all the exhibits. but this one i will see in real life.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Eldon Group Show 2010

amidst all else, here's final a draft flier for the Eldon Group show 2010. While the group composition is in a bit of flux and may change, the opening preview is set.
Saturday 1 May, 11am - 1pm,
St Andrew's Gallery, University of Glasgow.

All else on this flier

Saturday, 20 March 2010

not quite random

...for the weekend. and after.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

portfolio week

... is now. with a grin on my face i'm mounting this and that. pulling another folder out out of the depth of 'underneath my bed' or 'behind my wardrobe'. oh, yes... i should have another drawing of this. somewhere. (there have been plenty of 'portfolio days' over the past few months but now we're approaching physical handover day on friday).

portfolio making is curating. in an a1 bookformat. as such it is intriguing: to observe the juxtaposition of disparate pieces in approach but in similar palette; to place next to each other sketchbook pages and a relief print from some time later as the latest development of a sketch. and to see and acknowledge the sheer amount of labour that has gone into this - visible and invisible - over the years. as well as the threads, lines of inquiry and departures across a variety of media and approaches.

a pair of fresh eyes, hands and thoughts and the resultant placing of sheets next to each other makes all the difference. thank you, l! though i know that you don't really see the point of painting ;)

this one is one of the sheets. the collagraph at the bottom was the result of my printmaking before christmas. i still need to retry the transfer process, have indeed already sanded the plate down a bit further, and want to try on coloured paper. but placed beside the flattest of flat relief print it starts talking in unanticipated ways. keep it up, i think. i'll be listening. or should that be watching?

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Procedural drawing

in resonance with some of my drawing and markmaking sketches, i was intrigued by vivien's post on a javascript-based online drawing too, mr doob's harmony.
most of my uses of photoshop are to do with precisely that: shopping photos and not all that much more. with perseverance i can produce a map, a layer mask or similar but that's all a far cry from using it as a drawing and painting tool.
i have brushes on my iphone but find that if i fancy a sketch i rather take out the sketchbook than the phone.
but with the harmony surface, and it's limited yet rather complex brush tools, drawing at the computer becomes something different: it's rendering, the shades and lines build up in interesting, and in some of the tools complex manner.

have a look for yourself, here

Thursday, 11 March 2010

so they went

 Victoria 1, 24x50cm, monoprint on Tosa Shi

and the finished print looks like this. it comes in some variation of the background and i also played with the colour of the stencil (some things cannot be photoshopped i am discovering). there's a little spin off off this in a dark umber/grey blue palette. and i may just get away with a post of it in lieu of any watermarks?

i'm fairly busy off screen: writing a long overdue article, making travel plans and assembling more portfolio work, as well as scouting for some more paid work. it's all good but it means my writing up/noting down time seems rather brief these past few weeks.

Monday, 1 March 2010

update on monotype + linocut project

i've been working on the monotype/linocut project a bit more (one early post on planning is here):

- scaling up and deciding on the monotype print (3 layers of hansa yellow/naphtol red from no red to a bit more added); scraped back with knife and printed on top of each other (each print as original and ghost, so in some the layers are stronger than in others, and each image thus exists twice). (see post here)

victoria, wip, monotype, 24x50cm

- developing a pattern and shape for a lino layer to be added on top. i did this in photoshop: creating the shape; then adding the texture (sidecutter marks added unevenly); and deciding on hue for this final layer: i am aiming for a similar value to the darkest orange layer, had thought of green originally but feel this blue (with green tint) works better as it is less naturalistic. (see blog post here)

the lino is cut (if not carved yet) and i'm ready to finalise the image. i may need a few more of the monoprints, but now that i  have established the composition, hue and marks, this seems easy enough to do. i will also try this in a raw umber/ silver blue palette to contrast.

stencils to go: here

this current print project has been one where i felt quite focused on developmental process of the image, and keeping an eye on how much this can be done in advance or during (see an earlier post on my study blog discussing the role for sketchbook work in this).

- the process consists of playing with images in sketchbook, trying to unpack various possible layers
- seeing what polystyrene can (not) do for the project
- trying scratching and line work with knives on perspex plate
- building up scratched monotypes layers of darkening hue

- a very long consideration on how to fulfil the project brief (lino layer on top of monotype), after liking the monotypes rather a lot on their own
- developing a stencil for lino layer in ps; cutting the lino layer.

victoria 2, wip, monotype, 24x50cm

so... all i need to do now is to mix the hue according to my ps instructions and print it on top of the monotypes. these are the biggest prints i've done so far: 24x50cm; it's stretching the limitations of my kitchen counter studio a fair bit, but it just about works. the transfer actually works remarkably well with the perspex plate. very enjoyable indeed. so much so that i think it will drag this out for a little longer: ordered some raw umber to do a different palette (to go with the foggy autumn morning pics i took east of temuco).

victoria 1, wip, monotype, 24x50cm