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.

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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.


A Connection to Nature: Painting Landscapes onto Leaves

I am highly inspired by the work and the concepts of John Piper. Particularly his views about the landscape work you create having a connection to a place and therefore a connection to Nature. I have started playing and working with the idea of incorporating parts of a place and natural objects into my work with success and I think connecting my painting and drawing with nature itself is an interesting idea to work with within my project. My tutor thought that my abstract drawings were a successful and visually appealing element of the work up in my studio space and I agreed but I felt that they lacked a connection to the place I portrayed.

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Over the Weekend, I went home and collected Ivy Leaves from the area of the Brecon Beacons and primed them and started drawing my abstracted landscape drawings on to them. I chose Ivy Leaves because their waxy quality means they don’t shrivel and die quickly. 

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I think there is something quite charming about these delicate leaf drawings. After producing these three drawings, I experimented with adding watercolour of a similar colour palette to my chosen painting – John Piper’s Rocky Valley, North Wales.

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I am very pleased with these little drawings/paintings. I felt that only drawing on paper didn’t tye in well with my project, especially considering the fact that natural trees are cut down to make it. I was restricted by the surface and so found a new surface that fits in with the concepts of my project to paint and draw onto.

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Using nature as a surface to work on is something I am keen to experiment with further. I am thinking about painting onto stone and drift wood or bark as well. After completing my drawings, I took them back out into the Landscape and photographed them back in their natural environment. My drawings have a strong connection to the place they portray because they are drawn on nature from the place and put back into the natural surroundings. I am moving away from John Piper’s influence and making a current body of work with his in mind but it is not dominating my ideas any longer. This idea was inspired by being introduced to Ian Mckeever’s Painting in a hole in the ground. He made a painting and put it in a natural landscape.  This set of photographs are incredibly interesting and juxtapose the man made with the natural. I have changed the natural environment here. The leaf would usually just blend in with the others but I guess it has a sense of power and importance because it stands out amongst them. I could also experiment with painting abstract Landscapes onto leaves in similar colours to the surroundings so that they do blend in and maybe they may almost become part of nature.


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

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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

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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

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Kazou Shiraga – Feet painting 1956

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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Gustav Metzger – auto–destructive art action – london 1961

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“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

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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

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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

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

Richard Jackson – from a series of 100 drawings 1978

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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?

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Artists Research: Paul Schick: Organic Twig Line Sculpture

Paul Schick transitioned into twig art just as he was graduating. Schick’s journey into the craft of creating wall hangings from natural wood elements was inspired by a photo of Charles Arnoldi’s work. He creates organic twig line sculptures.

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Personally, I think this work is beautiful. It illustrates to me how objects that we see everyday, in this case twigs can be used to make artwork just like clay or paint can. I am very interested in mixed media and this work has sparked my interest in using nature within my work.

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So far, I have been drawing with nature to create a landscape, but I want the connection to be more evident within my work. After coming across Paul Schick’s work, I am now thinking about creating line drawings using the twigs themselves, not using them as pencils and dipping them in ink. Paul Schick’s work is very experimental and combining that with John Piper’s influence and his passion for portraying a connection to a place could make for an interesting outcome.