Further Experimentation with Natural Paints

After experimenting with the natural paints that I have created in my sketchbook, I decided to produce some mountainous images on board. I took the shape of the mountains from twigs, painted with natural substances and also used sticks to apply the colour: articulating numerous relationships between art and nature. I feel that these experiments look very natural and communicate the colours of the earth, browns, greens and tones of yellow. I also managed to create a convincing bluey turquoise colour, using bluebells with which I portrayed a sky feel to the experiments.

These images are possibly a bit too aesthetic and I think if I experimented applying the natural paints with some nature tools that I have created they could be more gestural and even closely more related to my ideas. I have been communicating a connection between art, place and nature and I definitely think these experiments are successful in doing so, I am now thinking about the final outcome for the project and want to sum up my ideas and display my findings. Brainstorming begins.


PDP: Constellation: An Overview and Reflection

Undertaking Constellation this year has been a fairly positive experience. At the beginning of the year we were asked to chose an option related to the different areas of the art world, I feel the choice of options was varied and there was something to feed everyone’s interests. I chose to undertake the “Puzzling out Contemporary Art” option. Before attending these lectures, I struggled to appreciate a lot of today’s contemporary artworks mostly because I didn’t understand what the artist and artwork was trying to convey. This option explained the concepts behind much of today’s contemporary art and made me appreciate the ideas within the work and realise the artist’s intentions. Now when going to galleries, there is still a lot of contemporary artworks that visually do not appeal to me, however that is just subjective and I no longer dismiss this art, I seek out the concept and have a wider knowledge and more educated position to do so. Also, I appreciate artworks incorporating ready made objects much more now, I have learnt that found objects have a history, a connection within them which has benefited my artistic thinking and practice. Having to chose a contemporary artwork and write a short essay about it applying the ideas from the option was definitely beneficial to me, only having a small amount of words to cram a lot of information into encouraged me to summarise and be selective of source material, which is definitely a crucial skill to acquire in preparation of writing my dissertation.

When beginning the Dissertation process, I felt very overwhelmed and slightly anxious at the thought of writing a successful 10,000 word document. The lectures explaining the dissertation were relatively helpful in stating what had to be done, but the lecture I attended explaining the literature review, I felt more confused me than helped. Having now written my literature review, I don’t think the content of this lecture very clearly outlined what had to be done and consequently I have clarified the task with my dissertation tutor on numerous occasions. Since then, it has been very useful having tutorials where I have been able to ask any questions I still had after the lectures and to talk through my ideas. My initial Idea has developed since handing in the pre-proposal form and my tutor as helped point me in the right direction and give me advice on my progress. It was very useful to be advised to focus my question more and not be too vague in my research. This feedback encouraged me to really consider many angles that cross over into the relationship between art and nature and discover why I felt it to be important and what was important enough to base my dissertation on.

I am exploring a connection between art and nature and the way the two can interlink in my subject work and so my dissertation research has been highly beneficial to my practice. I enjoy writing and learning through research and constellation has given me the chance to improve and utilise these skills. I am currently interested in the connection between art and nature and I wanted to find an angle within this topic that would be interesting and important enough to warrant writing a dissertation on. In today’s technologically advancing urban society, I think a re-connection with nature is important and want to examine the role that art has to play in this re-connection. I also want to investigate the effect art has on nature and the environment. As soon as I found a subject of interest that is significant and important rather than just a broad area, I started to piece together different ideas and bits of research and enjoyed writing my literature review. It opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about my ideas and gave me new angles to approach my question from. Now that I have completed my Dissertation Proposal, I am more confident about the prospect of writing my dissertation

Overall, I think Constellation this year has been a crucial part of my Second year at Degree level. I have learnt a lot about contemporary artworks and written a successful essay discussing the theories concerned. In terms of my Dissertation journey, I do not think the lecture covering the literature review was very beneficial at all and I would encourage it to be made a little simpler for next years students. Also, the lecture that aimed to show students how to use the Library and the Summon Database should be optional as I sat there for an hour and learnt nothing I didn’t already know. If you haven’t used the library this far into the degree program, in my eyes there is something wrong and so an optional lecture would be more beneficial as it would focus on only those who needed it. At this moment in time, I am both excited and daunted at the prospect of writing my dissertation but I am sure that once all my research is done, notes are made and I start attempting to write a first draft, I will produce a successful piece of writing demonstrating the best of my ability that I can be proud of.

Experimenting with Natural Paints on Canvas

I decided to experiment with painting my natural paints onto canvas. I wanted to evaluate which is more successful to paint them onto board or canvas.

After this experimentation, I feel that board is more appropriate, the colour seaps into the canvas more and doesn’t sit as well on the rough texture and I will be bearing this in mind for when I am thinking about making work for my assessment space.

Experimentation: Painting with Natural Paints I Made

After exploring the possibilites of creating paint using natural materials I decided that rather than just putting a blob of it on a page and writing down the ingredients next to it, I would try and use it to paint an image with. In my Sketchbook, I have explored blending the paints and using different mixtures of paint next to one another to create a landscape type image where the shape has been dictated by the shape of a twig.

Some of the paint surfaces are quite textural, others quite smooth, they all have different qualities. At first, I didn’t like the bits in the paints and wanted them to be smoother but actually having little bits of nature on the work that haven’t quite ground up makes the fact that the paint has been handmade more evident. I have used darker and lighter colour outcomes to create highlights and shadows and experimented painting one on top of the other. I had to let some dry before I could paint on top or blend the colours together successfully. It is very satisfying to create an image from paints that you have made yourself. These artworks are deeply connected to nature as not only are they painted using natural paints but they are also made up landscapes dictated by the shapes of natural stick forms that I experimented with previously. Experimentation has been key within my project to explore the possibilites of a relationship between art and nature and to create art that has a connection with it and could portray that to society/the viewer. I will experiment out of my sketchbook as well and maybe think about trying to paint with the natural paints using hand-made natural tools that I have created.

Cave Paintings: Art/Paint Originating from Nature

Art actually originated from nature which is highly relevant to my project. Cave paintings were the first medium based art dating back to around 18,000 years ago. People used natural materials to grind to make pigments to paint with. Cave painting paints usually consisted of pigments such as earth/soil, clay and charcoals mixed with a binder such as spit or animal fat. It is interesting that painting itself was developed out of nature and created using products from the natural world.

I am exploring a connection between art and nature within my work and attempting to incorporate the natural world and natural materials into my art making in a variety of ways. Grinding my own pigments would definitely make my work more deeply connected to nature because nature itself would be the components of my paints.

Landscapes Dictated by the Shape of Natural Objects and Made up of Them

In a recent tutorial when talking about the large painting that I have produced where natural materials is mixed into paints, my tutor and I agreed that the synthetic plasticy paint was not creating a reconnection with nature and infact doing the exact opposite. Why was I hiding the natural materials under the surface of the paint if I was trying to reconnect art and nature and society and nature? I should be exposing it. Here I have experimented with creating landscape imagery out of visibly natural materials. I definitely think that these experiments emit a greater connection to nature than the pieces I have done mixing nature into acrylic, coloured paints. Also, Rather than trying to make the natural materials fit into the form or image of an existing landscape or existing mountain and manipulating them to represent a physical landscape such as the Brecon Beacons, I have used the natural shape of the twigs to dictate the shape of the scape, skyline, mountains etc. Here, the forms of nature has dictated the image, the twigs natural shape portraying a landscape and the leaves filling in the gaps, without them being snapped, changed, put under paint or withdrawn from their natural selves. Furthermore, the only colours within these pieces come from the natural elements themselves. This is a fairly simple way of making up an image, almost collaging the material onto wooden board, but I do think it is effective and definitely has a clear connection to nature and exposes the viewer to nature physcially. I have utilised the natural shapes of the objects here, the landscape has almost come out of nature.

However, this is quite a literal representation of nature and I think I would like my work to definitely be an art piece rather than just simply sticking found things to a surface and I feel that I could still include these natural colours and elements out of the natural world in other ways such as grinding them up and making paints from them. I think this experiment has taught me that if I am trying to reconnect people with nature and create a connection between nature and art then I must use natural materials and expose them and be creative about how I do so rather than disguising them within art materials such as paint.

Landscape Drawings Taken from the Shape of Twigs

I decided to draw more detailed landscape drawings from the stick experiments that I produced. These landscape drawings have a deep connection to nature because they are convincing landscape images but they are taken from the shapes of twigs naturally formed in the environment. I have drawn them as I drew the Beacons inspired by John Piper. I have incorporated the mark making within them as these hieroglyphic type shapes that I have picked out from the mark making in John Piper’s Rocky Valley work were very interesting and an element that I should integrate not only into these new drawings formulated from nature but also back into my paints as they have been slightly lost and overshadowed along the way.

It is interesting that these scapes are not existing landscapes but are convincingly so, when in fact the shape of them came directly out of nature in the form of the shape of twigs. I definitely think these drawings are more intriguing as the shape of them has come from the natural shapes of natural elements themselves.