REFLECTION: Painting Performance

I decided to undertake the painting performance module to push the boundaries of my practice and explore new ways of creating artwork. I was a little nervous about what to expect but eager to get stuck in to the challenges that were to be presented to me. I learnt to utilise my own body as a tool for painting and push the limits of ways that I could apply paint and discover what marks could be made.

In my subject work, I find it difficult not to think about the outcome and to be free in my approach to producing art because I get quite stressed about doing well and so worry that if I loosen up a little the outcome may not be as successful. This module has taught me that being less controlled in my approach to creating artwork is a positive attribute and can also lead to successful outcomes. I have learnt that exploring the possibilities of art making is highly important and that actually an artist’s experimentation can be more of a success that a final culmination of that experimentation.

The first session of practical painting performance work that I undertook was inspired by the work of Yves Klein. I was determined to explore the possibilities of making marks with my body and really move the paint around in inivative ways. The exercise where I was encouraged to paint using a brush and use my left hand to make marks made me consider the role of a paintbrush and to what extent it controls me. I felt much closer to the artwork applying the paint with my body and realised that using a paintbrush or artistic tool to apply paint actually somewhat removes the artist from the work.

I had the opportunity to work from an aerial perspective by dropping paint from a scaffolding block. This removed any control I may have wanted to have on where the paint landed on the paper and forced me to create a completely free piece. I learned to remove any preconceptions of what my outcomes may look like and to be surprised by the marks the paint created and the marbling of colours that occurred when one ran into another for example. Working with amplified sound made me consider the possibilities of combining sound and painting.

Collaboration and working with artists from different disciplines was a crucial part of this module and taught me vital skills about working with others which will undoubtedly benefit me indefinitely. Collaborating and feeding off the ideas for others encouraged me to think outside the box and to learn from the ideas of others. Paint performance is a highly enjoyable practice and not only did I gain personal confidence but I learnt that the process of creating an artwork can actually be more interesting than the final outcome. I learnt to appreciate the process of art making. The Process that has been undertaken to create a piece of art is worth knowing as it can change your view of an artwork. Documentation was a crucial part of my experience on this module. I didn’t feel that the outcomes created would give the viewer an idea of how they were produced and so videoing the process allowed for that.

One of the sessions encouraged me to experiment with my choice of materials and push the boundaries of what can be used to make marks in art. I learned that you don’t have to stick to conventional art materials to make art and that sometimes it is more appropriate to use materials not typically associated with art to convey a certain message or image. This I feel may be relevant to my subject work. I am more confident in experimentation now and want to explore my materials and not just stick to working with tubes of premade paint in my subject work. I have just started experimenting with creating a connection between art and nature in my work and this field option gave me a chance to incorporate natural materials into my final piece and mix natural materials into paint etc. this is something that will influence and further my subject work.


VIDEO DOCUMENTATION: Final Performance: The Disharmony between Nature and Urban Society

I have produced a film collating the video documentation from a variety of different cameras and recording devices. I spend a substantial amount of time editing the clips together and adding cross dissolves between frames. Editing means you can cut out all of the irrelevant parts and produce a video that documents what you want to show. I definitely feel that my piece documents our final performance successfully and gives the viewer a significant insight into what took place.

Photographs taken throughout the Paint Performance Module by the Tutor

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DOCUMENTATION VIDEO: My Experiences of Paint Performance

I have taken footage from each of the paint performance workshops that I have attended and edited them together into one video to document my experiences throughout the module and the marks and work that I have made. Unfortunately, after the title page, the footage from the Yves Klein Blue Session seems to be missing, showing a grey screen. This is something I will have to address after the christmas holidays.

FINAL PERFORMANCE: The Disharmony between Nature and Urban Society: PHYSICAL OUTCOME

I have documented the physical outcome of our final performance piece. It is interesting to consider whether the performance and the outcome on paper have a symbiotic relationship or whether one becomes more important that the other. In our piece, I feel that both the performance/Process and the trace left behind are equally important. Both the process and the physical trace document the disharmony between nature and urban society, only in the performance it is conveyed through action and in the outcome through aesthetics. You can look at the outcome and see that there are two sides that are disharmonious from one another and that the order (the line) has been merged in with the disharmony and so is successful.

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The outcome is successful both visually and conceptually in my opinion. It is not like making a painting or a drawing as it isn’t fully planned, you cannot know what marks will be made and what the outcome will look like, you can only know what actions will be performed. In terms of colour, there is a clear disharmony between the sides of the paper, one is very organic in colour and the other brighter and more man-made. Also in terms of marks and materials, the disharmony is evident in that one side is made using organic materials as drawing materials and making natural movements and the other is purely evolved from the human body. I think it is very visually appealing because of the variety of marks within it and because you know it was a performance, you question how the marks within it were made. The brooms scratching into the paint have added texture to the piece and given it another focal point. The line is more visible in some places than others and even though this wasn’t planned I do feel it shows how society can be more disharmonious to nature in some areas and maybe become more harmonious with it in others. Overall, I think the process and the outcome portrays our learning as well. We have incorporated many elements from the practical workshops and had no previous experience of paint performance before.

FINAL PERFORMANCE: The Disharmony between Nature and an Urban Society: PROCESS: STILLS

Here are the photographs captured from the final performance that we produced on Thursday. There will be more to come from other cameras and devices of the university and my peers but these are my personal shots that a member of another group kindly took for me.

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The Performance Piece was highly successful and I feel like we delivered it very well. Everyone was very aware of their bodies and the marks being made whilst having our concept in the back of their minds. We managed to achieve what we set out to do and even though we couldn’t visualise what the outcome would look like, I think it definitely shows disharmony between the sides which represented nature and urban society. 

In comparison to our plan, there were a few things we didn’t do, but I think performance is about what happens in a moment, the here and now and so cannot be too vigorously planned. We set out to swap sides once Sarah had walked along the tight rope line, but we ended up two of us making marks on one side and one on the other. All of my group had never really delved into performance art before and so I think we all successfully managed to learn from the sessions and create a successful performance based both on what we had learnt and the work we were doing in our on subject areas. Importantly, our audience appeared to be intrigued by and engaged with our work.

If I was to do this performance again, there are little things I would change in order to improve it. I think I would have put more organic material at the side of the paper, so I didn’t have to walk up and down the piece as much to get leaves and twigs to add to the piece. Also, I would ask Sarah to walk slower so that we had more time to switch sides and make more marks but these are only small and really insignificant things in comparison to the large successes of the piece. On reflection, I am very proud of what we achieved and how much we managed to take on board from the sessions and apply to our own work.

NEW WAYS OF APPLYING PAINT: Paint Performance Module Integrating into my Subject Work

Within Paint Performance we have been learning about new ways of applying paint. Even though we have been working abstractly within the module, I felt like I could apply what I had learnt to produce some more figurative yet uncontrolled painting experiments documenting landscape.

The three elements I have taken influence from are:
– Painting with my left hand – unnatural, more difficult to control the paint
– Painting with the body – (in this case, in the form of finger painting)
– Painting with something other than a brush – (in this case, a stick and a palette knife)



Painting with my left hand initially produced a more free, less controlled painting. I found it difficult to control the paintbrush and my hand didn’t seem to know how much pressure to put on the page. I really like the loose, squiggled and scuffed line work that this has produced in the first image. However, when creating the second image, I felt as if my left hand got used to painting a bit too much and so the outcome was more controlled and not as successful in my eyes. Painting with my left hand has helped me be more expressive in my mark making and because it was more difficult I felt as if I concentrated more.



Painting with my fingers made me feel closer to the artwork as I could actually feel the painting going onto the board with my own skin. A paintbrush can be quite disconnecting from a work in comparison to the human body. It was very difficult to achieve any detail with my fingers, but I like that about these pieces. I think the blended quality that they have is successful and you can see the movement of my fingers within it which is interesting because you can see evidence of a different process from using a brush. I really enjoyed this process and it encouraged me not to worry so much about what the outcome looked like.


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When using a palette knife and sticks to apply the paint, the movement of the tools was just as controlled as if I was using a brush due to the fact I was applying the paint with my right hand. However, the marks made were entirely different to if I was using a brush. They are a lot harsher and there is an element of scratching into the paint within them which I am rather fond of. I think I could integrate all of the above techniques in some way into future works.

Working with new ways of applying paint has been an interesting experiment that I think has made outcomes with successful elements. Paint Performance has definitely inspired me to be more experimental and to think about the limits of painting with a brush. I am confident that I will use more natural implements to apply paint with and link in with my concepts and I will consider my reasoning for using a brush more carefully when applying paint.

I would like to make some experiments and paintings that include natural materials mixed into the paint. I started experimenting with this before undertaking the performance module but it took a sideline as I became involved in it. This is a good thing because it gave me a chance to experiment with the mixing of materials. We added soil and leaves into the paint in our final performance and It added very interesting textures to the work. I am now confident that this could make for successful paintings and I look forward to producing work with this knowledge.