SKETCHBOOK: Landscape Drawings – Mark Making – Abstraction

Throughout my project, I have been sketching and drawing the Brecon Beacons Landscape incorporating the abstract mark making from within John Piper’s art work – The Rocky Valley. I think it is important to draw as a base to a body of work, something you can constantly refer to. In tutorials, tutors and peers have favoured my stylized drawings and experimentation and so I thought it would be worth while to sketch a long side creating my body of work inspired by John Piper. Also, when I have a mind blank about my work, it means I am not sitting there doing nothing, I can do a quick sketch to get me back into it.

I have experimented with a variety of different materials including pencil, chalk pencil, ink, paint, water colour, pen, fine liner’s, coloured pencils, brown paper, leaves, twigs, soil, glue etc. I have also employed a variety of drawing techniques throughout my sketchbook like continuous line, drawing with my left hand, making up drawings with twigs, drawing onto leaves etc. A sketchbook is a good way of documenting try outs, drawings, process, experiments without worrying what the outcome looks like to much. I will continue to use my sketchbook to draw in and document research throughout my subject 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.

PAINT PERFORMANCE: Working with Sound

This paint performance session was one of the most enjoyable so far in my eyes. I took everything I have learnt into account so far and gave a valid input to the group work created.  We all painted onto paper pinned up on walls that was wired up to a sound system. This meant that the boards we were painting on were amplified, capturing and intensifying the sound of the paint being applied to the surface in various different ways.  Working as a bigger group encouraged us to move more  when painting and to work around,work with and work over each other. Thus a more dynamic peformance was produced where the addition of sound added a new dimension to the performance and also the outcomes because of the influence that the sounds had upon us.

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Taking influence from the session where we had to apply paint with unconventional materials and from the artist Saburo Murakami I applied the paint by throwing, bouncing and rolling a tennis ball. We were all really pleased with the outcome from the first painting performance with sound, where our paint covered stick tapping, surface hitting, ball throwing and splatting of the paint onto the wall was amplified and magnified. Non-intentionally, the colour choices that people made seemed to really work together and an interesting composition was created. Working and interacting in a bigger group, created a sense of community and working together that was accentuated and by the sounds that were made that also worked together. We were almost like an artistic band working with each other to create a sound, a performance and a painting. There was a up-lifting energy and joyus mood and atmosphere in the air that hasn’t been as prominent in other painting sessions we have undertaken.



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Whilst undertaking the production of the second painting the sounds we were making were distorted, sampled and then over-layed and played along side the noise we were already making. This process created a rhythm of sound that we picked up on in and used it to influence the tempo and progression of our gestures and actions of painting. There was a more chaotic, primitive and energetic action taking place that was almost child like. We as a group had gained more confidence and lost all of our insecurities and self concious worries about performance. Everyone seemed to enjoy making movements and sounds. This second piece was far more abstract and wild. You could see some of our movements and gestures but maybe we got lost in the moment a little and overworked the piece.

Here we were creating paintings, performance art and sound art all in one immersive environment. It is interesting to think about the effect sound has on performance and painting and that they can all be linked in a variety of ways to create highly innovative outcomes with different dimensions.

An Introduction to Painting Performance: Lecture by Andre Stitt

This purpose of this lecture was to give us an insight and introduction into painting performance and performance art as a whole.

Paul Hurley – “I fall to pieces” – Experimentica, Cardiff Nov 2014


Human form with some sort of substance on the body. Creating a context. Many contain a narrative. The material is paint. What do all these signifiers mean? Interested in abstract movement. We are drawn to what happens to the material on the body. Personal experience of grief. There is sound. Many things are being put togetether in a live situation that we would not get from looking at a photograph. The music playing Is Patsy Klein. Is it a strange abstract dance? It is not rehersed and it is taking place in actual time. His eyes are closed, so he cannot see the viewers. Inspired by the loss of a friend, past lossed and future ones.

In this module, we are looking at a history of engagement between material substances and the human body. A kind of painting performance.

What is painting?

The practice of applying colour to a surface. The use of this activity in combination with drawing. Used to represent, document and express.

Painting as evidence – a document of the performance of painting

Painting as Process – event, performance

The focus shifts from the self contained and autonomous art towards emphasis on process and motion in art, the inclusion of the environment, as part of the artwork. Thought becomes form.

Post WWII – Painting becomes action

Jackson Pollock – 1912 -1955


When we look at pollock, we are drawn to the act of painting. The press document with photographs and reviews. A shift from painting as an object to a spectacle. Before, paintings had tended to conceal the fact that their works were the result of process. In the 1940s and 50s, it shifted to portraying a piece that embodies themselves into the work. It becomes about process more than the outcome.

Performance Art – An action, designed and executed by an artist that takes place in time and space with or without an audience.

Kristine Stiles, American academic – “Artists who began to use their bodies as material of visual art repreatedly expressed their goal to bring art practice closer to life”. “Process over product” – Experiencing the work immmediately in the moment, presenting the work in real time. “They sought to reengage the artist and spectator by reconnecting art to social and political events”

Ideas came out of action art and performance – Fluxus, Dadaism, Futurism etc.

The Gutai Group – Japan 1955

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Expressed aim: To create a new type of painting.

Saburo Murakami – Work being painted by throwing a ball dipped in paint – Draws out attention to process – using paint as a material.

Shozo Shimamoto – Throw painting 1958


Kazou Shiraga – Feet painting 1956


Using their body, testing the limits of the body. Painting is all about test and control. Here the body is being tested and controlled.

Georges Mathieu – demonstrating action painting in a department store. It is interesting to think about the locations that action art can be made. What does it mean to make art outside the gallery? Different spaces change the context.


William Green – deomonstrating “action” painting at the royal college of art in 1958.

There was a humour around gestural painting, William Green, A british man had only 5 minutes of fame. His work was documented by the media. Challenging what art can be and what it means to make art.

Tony Hancock – The rebel 1961 – almost becomes a parody in the press. Mocking what action painting represents. Tony Hancock was a major comedian at this time. Action painting under ridicule but becoming entertainment for others to look at those “silly artists”.


Afrons Schilling – Paris 1961 – What is original in performance art? Has it all been done? What can a material on the body actually mean? Nowadays. Damien hirst has done similar. These early works had as much to do with style as it does with embodiment.

Yves Klein – Anthropometry 1960 – Living Paintbrushes

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This performance could be looked at as containing the objectification of naked women. It involved a male participant controlling the body of a naked woman and using her as a paint brush to paint with Klein Blue paint. Here, paint possibly has a relationship with bodily fluids.

Lee Wen – Anthropometry revision 2008

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He is talking about skin, notion of paint as skin. Links between chinese and british, colonialism. Looking at chinese identity in singapore. How you display a metaphor for something without painting an image of it.

Carolee Schneeman – puts her body where her thoughts are. Woman working in the 1960s, questioning the notion of the female body. A relation to feminine fluids and objectification. Based on the male gaze, not female gaze. The master painter points at the female and controls how he wants to see her. She reacts against this.


Gustav Metzger – auto–destructive art action – london 1961


“a desperate last minute submersive political weapon” – an attack on a capatist system – “performance as anti-comodification” – I am making the work, it is not for sale, it is made and that is it. Idea of destruction within it.

Nikki Saint Phalle – Shoot paintings – paris 1961

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Filled things within an assemblage with paint in pots and shoot them to make the paint drip and create the final outcome. Slightly ephemeral – early feminist artist.

Anish Kapoor – shooting in the corner London 2009


Performative installation, canon like weapon shotting peletts of paint. In relation to the present day, this is far more accepted.

Shigeko Kubota – Vagina painting – Flux Fest


Paint brush is loosely related to a male falice. It looks like the brush is inserted into the vagina and then being used to paint with.

Action Art – “It is rather, far more, the desire to delve deeper into the enigma of painting in order to experience it ever more richly”

How do you use paint , a material substance as a metaphor?

Gunter Brus 1964 – Viennese Aktionist – Artist placed in a vulnerable position and drawing attention to that.

Herman Nitsch – Painting installation – Jerusalem 1995 – conflict, relations to blood

Stuart Brisley – Performance, Poland 1975 – After the performance, he created a more traditional painting illustrating elements of the process. All of the rags used to clean the body are painted realistically.

Paint as a substance that becomes a mediator to channel ideas and concepts.

Robert Smithson – Asphalt ran down, Italy 1969 – work is more spectacular in the process to create it. It is about environmental issues.

Ian Mckeever – Painting for a hole in the ground


The gestures and marks on the painting have a correlation with the landscape.

Richard Jackson – from a series of 100 drawings 1978


Imagery of a clock spreading paint, and windscreen wipers spreading paintbrushes. In 2003, he drove a moped through paint on canvas

Paul McCarthy – Face Painting – Floor White Line. Architectural Surfaces and the human changing the space. Whipping a wall and a window with paint 1972. People would just happen upon this piece. How do you control a blanket. Is it about human control or not being able to control it?


Paul McCarthy – Red Penis Painting 1972 – If we didn’t know It was painted with a penis, would it be as interesting?


Paul McCarthy – Painter (Film) – reference to William Dekuning – What does it mean to make art? Is it an illusion? Can it be both serious and humourous?

Janine Antoni – “Loving Care” 1992-96 – strong relation to hair dye. Using her hair to paint with. A context with women’s cosmetics.


Keith Boadwee – Inserting paint into his anus an squirting it out. Paint Enema’s. Making asshole abstractions.


Performance artist – John Court 2006 – Had buckets of paint poured on him and lay there still until it dried. It took 8 hours to performance. Text as gesture is evident here, it is about communication. He is incredibly dyslexic. Writing Art forwards and backwards. Writing with left hand. Making the work more difficult to make. Disability/Inhability to communicate, so he is doing it through action. In terms of documentation, he creates time lapses, condensing a six hour performance into 10 mins.

There is a relationship between performance and contemporary drawing. 

Painting Performance – Belfast 1977 – Andre Stitt Himself put black plastic down and flung paint around, for him it was about anger and using paint to embody the anger at civil war. He didn’t have a knowledge of a history of performance, he just thought about the relationship between the body and paintings.



Andre Stitt – Burning Paintings Performance 1978. It is important for us to think about why we make art.

MODERNISM – intervention in art.  With its avant garde advances, and the development of gesture as a performative intervention in art, in the form of an autonomous construct – achieved.

Making a performance is a precious thing. Freedom, Childs play, imancipation, being in a moment. An awareness that we will break the idea of self-conciousness creating performance painting.

 Cy Twombley: Untitled No.10 – textural mark making 2004

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Anastasia Ax – Paint Performance, Oslo 2010 – Space, Architectural concerns, self contained worlds in which we as observers experience the live act and the material artefact, whats left.

Alexis Harding – paint falling off the canvas onto the floor – pulmonary 2006

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How do Artists use materials to create contemporary performance and bring it into the art world?

Performance > Interaction > Painterly Mobility

Painting Performance Key Words – Surface, Tension, Skin, Pigment, Viscera, Fluid, Emotional Expulsion, Pushing/Pulling, Dipping, Dripping, Spilling, Flinging, Layering, Coating, Spraying, Dragging and Sloshing

These are all ways of experimenting that could be applied to any practice, whether it is painting or sculpture or performance etc.

Many Ideas about performance art have arisen to me from this Lecture. I gained Ideas from both the tutors own work and the work of other artists.

I have learnt about:
The Gravity of the body and How the Body Works
The use of unconventional materials
Getting art made quickly and the speed of documenting performance
Photography capturing action, paint in mid air etc
Using your experience in performance to create art on canvas
When to make work, the time of day
Weather conditions controlling outdoor performance
To think about how a performance can portray concepts and people can make their own interpretation to the work just as they would when viewing a painting.

Lynda Benglis: Studio, New York 1968
Concerned with conceptualism
Painters started thinking of new ways to apply paint and incorporated unconventional materials.


There are many interesting ideas as work in performance art and paint performance – to unpack thinking about the human body, materiality, paint as a material, how the paint is applied, movement, etc.

Experimenting with Collage: Workshop Extension

After undertaking the Collage workshop, I decided it would be useless if I didn’t put what I had learn’t into practice and try and make a collage referring to the notes I had made and the new techniques I had been introduced to in the session.

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I decided to integrate my subject work in with what I had learnt during this workshop and attempt to produce a collaged Landscape with an element of abstraction to it.

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In terms of process, to create my collage I used imagery from newspapers and 1960s magazines to construct it. Older printed papers are easier to scratch into and manipulate than newer print. I used both sandpaper and wire wool to scratch into the surface of my collage. Drawing on top of the paper was another technique used. I also included tracing paper and printed text within the work, as well as using various imagery to produce a textured affect.

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Above, are a few close ups of my collage. You can see that the scratched surface both adds texture to the piece and helps the paper that the image is printed on to come through. I think this makes my collage more exciting and appear less flat.

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I think I managed to successfully create a collage encompassing all the new ideas, artists work and imagery that I had been exposed to in this workshop. It was enjoyable to create and I will definitely be revisiting these techniques in my artistic life. Here, The imagery was supplied in the workshop and so I was restricted as to what I could use to make the piece. Visually, this fits in with my subject work but also my idea of documenting a journey through found objects is at play here. If I was to make another collage, I think I would work on creating more perspective within the work and more of a distinct foreground.

Artworks Using Found Objects to Document a Place or Journey: A Connection to a Place: Jason Mecier

After having a talk about my work late one evening with David Fitzjohn in my studio space, he mentioned to me that going on a walk and picking up found objects and putting them all together, creates a sense of the place they were found. He encouraged me to not be afraid to make work that is completely abstract because in terms of experimentation it is very relevant to my work and could inform more final outcomes. He also got me thinking about materials themselves having symbolic meanings and connotations.

Under the influence of John Piper and at the moment: his concepts, I am working with the influence of creating artwork that shows a connection to a place. I decided that I would experiment with making abstract pieces that even though I call them mixed media work,could also be sculptural. I went on two walks and collected objects from the floor as I went. I have used all of these objects and arranged them together onto boards to create balanced compositions that capture a sense of a place or journey and a connection to it.

Firstly, I took a walk around a natural environment, with trees and grass etc. I wandered around Bute Park in Cardiff and collected objects from the floor, they are mostly natural but there were a few items of litter that people had left.


This piece is Bute Park on a board. It documents the place. In john Piper’s work, he aims to capture a connection to the place through the marks he uses to represent it, the textures he paints and the colour palette and elements of expression. I have taken this concept on board and portrayed it through found objects alone.

Next, I walked through part of the City from Richmond Road to The Museum and collected objects that I found. As expected, the park piece is full of more natural forms.


To me, this piece illustrates the amount of litter that us as a human race drop on the floor. It also reminded me of an abstract appropriation of Jason Mecier’s work. He produces portraits of celebrities from objects that relate to the person. In terms of the tactility of them and the 3D objects on a flat surface, I feel like these works that I have created relate. Also, we have both used the same means of applying the objects, a glue gun.



The pieces I have created are completely different to the work I have made so far and I do believe that they give you a sense of the place that the objects have come from. I feel like my work is getting stronger in terms of concept now as well because I was started to feel like I was producing abstract Landscape imagery for the sake of it.

Terry Setch: Mixed Media Works: Estuary Paintings

Many of Terry Setch’s works are themed around the coast near Penarth in Wales, where Setch is based. These works act as a witness to his surroundings, in the literal sense via the materials he uses and the layers he creates within them, but also in the wider issues his art works often raise.

“Setch is well-known for utilizing varying materials in his analysis and interpretation of the conflict between nature and society. His huge painted canvases are often augmented with materials and debris found on the beach, a combination of both man-made and natural matter. This contrast in itself creates a tension, raising questions on pollution, mankind’s apathy, the forces of nature in the weathered objects, inadvertently representative of demise. This juxtaposes the notion that there is new life in the objects used to create such histrionic representations of the world around us.”




Setch’s work is highly relevant to the ideas that I am looking at within my own work at the moment. His concepts include an approach to nature and he uses found objects within his work like Debris from the beach and natural matter. I have experimented with including natural matter within paint and I am going to embark on producing an abstracted Landscape painting containing natural elements within the paint and on the surface. Terry Setch’s work will be an interesting reference to refer to when producing work within the areas I am currently interested in.

Setch’s subject matter enables the onlooker to fully experience the world created within it, via the use of textured materials; such as encaustic wax, melted plastic and polypropylene, however it is not through realism, as his works require the viewer to suspend disbelief in order to fully experience what each piece evokes for them.

the artist; (c) Terry Setch RA; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Similar to the work of John Piper, Setch’s Landscapes capture a sense of the place. They are highly interesting in texture and evoke the mood and atmosphere of the surroundings, to the point where you could imagine yourself being there. It is interesting to come across an artist where their abstract and less abstract works are relevant to the ideas I am working with and I am sure his work will influence my project highly.