PAINTING PERFORMANCE – 500 word REFLECTION
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 discover what marks could be made.
In the first practical session, 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 to apply paint can actually somewhat remove 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. In the past I have focussed on finished outcomes and struggled to be free in my approach to art making. I have learnt that exploring the possibilities of art is highly important and that actually an artist’s experimentation can be more of a success that a final culmination of that experimentation.
Collaboration was a crucial part of this module and taught me vital skills about working with others which will undoubtedly benefit me indefinitely. Paint performance is a highly enjoyable practice and not only did I gain personal confidence but I learnt that the process of art-making can actually be more interesting than the final outcome. Documentation was a crucial part of my experience on this module and encouraged me to document my subject work in more depth.
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 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 is 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 pre-made paint. 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 matter into my final piece and mix natural materials into paint which is something that will influence my subject work.
DRAWING A EXPERIENCE – 500 Word REFLECTION
I chose to undertake the drawing as experience module because I felt quite distanced from the practice of drawing and thought that I would be introduced to new techniques to apply to my practice and reinthuse my interest. This module has not disappointed, it has pushed the boundaries of what I previously considered to be drawing and equipped me with new tools and techniques to document not just the things I see but my experience of the world as a whole.
I have learnt that drawing can be used to provide someone with a visual insight into an experience . Drawing does not have to be about documenting something exactly, it can be more representational. Once I got used to the idea of creating marks to represent sensory experiences, I started to understand drawing as a much more vital part of an artistic individuals life than I ever realised.
Throughout the module, I feel I have been building my own visual language step by step whilst trying to decipher how to use that language to convey a certain experience. Being introduced to sensory stories and learning that visual stimulation can aid so many people’s understanding really inspired me to focus on working on creating marks that universally could be recognised. Having to represent smells, tastes, sounds and touch using pen and paper was incredibly challenging but really made me aware of my own senses and forced me to deeply concentrate on thinking about how I would represent experience.
The musicality of drawing session also gave me an insight into how you can respond to the surroundings, the only difference being that I was tasked with responding to the senses and experiences through drawing rather than through music. Drawing in the dark environment of the Opera unable to see the paper forced me not to think about the outcome and only to focus on documenting my experience.
Both the materiality of drawing and the psychogeography workshops were the most beneficial, influencial to me. In the psychogeography session, I almost mapped the pathways that I walked, physically documenting my journey on paper. This encouraged me to think about the versatility of ways that you could document an experience of landscape or environment which could be a useful skill to tie into my subject work. The materiality of drawing workshop encouraged me to work with a variety of materials and to utilise every day items to make marks with. The use of unconventional drawing tools made me consider the fact that the object you use to draw with and the connatations of that item are embedded in the drawing. I am keen to link this into my subject work and with a theme of art and nature running through, I want to use natural materials to make tools from and connect my art to the natural world more deeply. This is something I would not have experimented with if It wasn’t for undertaking this field module.
OVERALL SUMMATIVE 500 WORD REFLECTION – How has Field fed into my Subject work?
The field projects that I undertook have definitely affected the direction of my studies and fed into my subject work. Before undertaking these modules I was working with themes surrounding landscape and place, my interests soon shifted to creating a connection between the art world and the natural world and my experiences of field equipped me with the implements and ideas to be experimental, branch out from the restrictions of more traditional mediums and tools and explore the relationship between art and nature.
Painting Performance encouraged me to consider the process of art-making far more significantly. I have struggled to be experimental in the past and explore ideas in depth, this option gave me the opportunity to be less controlled and more free when producing art. I have become more confident and consider experimenting with materials and techniques a strength of my practice now. The session that pushed the limits of what could be used to make marks and gave me an insight into using unconventional, everyday items as paint was a stand out learning experience. I learnt that it can be more appropriate to use materials not typically associated with art to convey a concept or idea. I explored mixing organic matter into paint in my final performance and continued to do so within my subject work but how could I create a connection between art and nature when I am using plasticy man-made acrylic paints to produce my work? I progressed to grinding my own pigments from nature and making my own paints, limiting the colour palette of my work and connecting my outcomes more deeply to the natural world. This module also encouraged me to film the process of some of my subject work like tool making and drawing outdoors.
Drawing as Experience has broadened my understanding of what drawing can be and equipped me with the means to document not just the things I see but my experience of the world as a whole. The materiality of Drawing session within this module was an invaluable learning experience for me and has been highly influential to my practice. Being introduced to the idea of making my own painting and drawing tools from found everyday items inspired me and encouraged me to think about the possibilities of using natural materials to make marks within my subject work. Drawing and painting with a tool made from natural objects conveys a much deeper connection to nature than painting natural imagery with a typical paintbrush. The tools that I have made are artworks in themselves.
Combining my experiences of field has pushed my subject work forward and allowed me to experiment with techniques and materials that I would not have employed otherwise. I would never have thought of physically using natural materials to make paints if I hadn’t undertaken painting performance, nor would I have made tools to apply the paints with from nature without inspiration from drawing as experience, two key components of my subject outcomes.
When drawing senses and experiences, you really have to think about the sense and how you would represent that in drawing/mark making. During this session, we were asked to draw a variety of different senses/sounds/experiences.
Drawing textures like rough and spongey was challenging without actually touching something with that texture. You really have to block everything else out and think of the movements and textures in terms of lines and mark making.
Drawing my Sense of Propioception – Where am I? Where is my body in a space?
I really struggled to think about my body in a space, I knew that the idea was to be aware of all your sense and your body and make marks in response to what is around you and where you are within the space but I found this incredibly difficult to do. My response more represents the visual sense and what I could see, the slanting roof of the room etc. I do not think this is a particularly great example of my sense of propioception but I have learnt from the process of drawing it. I naturally use the visual sense most and I think being successful at sensory drawing means I have to focus more on the other senses to create pleasing outcomes.
Drawing Sounds – A happy sound, a Screech etc
I found this the easiest exercise, even though we were only drawing how we think a happy sound would be rather than actually hearing one. I have drawn and made marks to music before and created some highly interesting outcomes but it was a very different experience without any music or sounds to listen to.
After the session, I practiced drawing all the senses based around one item: My woolly Scarf: It is really interesting how different the drawings are for each sense and even though I didn’t think my drawings were really grasping the senses, the fact that they are so different tells me that I am focusing on different elements when making responses.
These were the two most visually interesting and successful drawings produced in my opinion. I had a bit of practice at sensory drawing by this point and it made a lot of different actually being able to feel the item I am drawing the touch of and live the movement of and feel applying the lip balm. Here I really focused on drawing the experience of doing these things and I am pleased with the outcomes.
I found it quite difficult at first to understand how to link the sensory experiences to drawing and how mark making could represent something that isn’t physical. This exercise definitely made me more aware of my senses and enabled me to focus deeply on particular movements or actions in order to make marks in response to them that almost document the experience. Some senses were represented with more pressure on the pencil or more jagged lines, some with dots etc. Each drawn response to a sense is personal to the individual who has drawn it. This exercise was definitely something new and out of my comfort zone. Drawing something you cannot physically see is a difficult thing to be asked to do but I am confident that as I undertake the module I will understand how to embed senses into my drawing further and create more interesting responses. I think it would be very effective to combine a sensory drawing with things that evoke the senses like sounds or smells or textured surfaces to touch.
Within this field module, I will be introduced to a diverse number of approaches to drawing experiences. It will focus around three key elements: Drawing, Creative Strategies and ways in which ideas develop. The location of this first introductory session, was Craft in the Bay, Situated in Cardiff Bay.
Why Craft in the Bay?
We are working in Craft in the Bay because of the interest and links a current exhibition called “The Sensory Object” has with Drawing experience. Sensorial Objects are similar to drawing experience in that they both arise the questions: How can we sensate the world? How can we crystallize a sensation in an artwork? They deal with the language of expression and the translation from inanimate object to the emotional/sensorial realm.
Perception is active. Active engagement with artwork is key to people becoming emotionally and sensorially engaged with your work. If you want them to feel something, you need to think about how they engage with the art.
The Sensory Object: Drawing Experience
Sensory connects with emotionally. Emotions and senses are housed in the same place. For example, you see something soft and you feel comfort. From browsing this exhibition and undertaking this field option I should learn different ways of capturing sensory and emotional values in artworks and drawings and explore what to do with that knowledge.
Synaesthesia – A fusion of the Senses
Merlau Ponty explores relevant themes in his 1962 book – “The phenomenology of Perception”. It highlights your bodily presence in the world and how you experience the world around you. For example, you do not understand texture by looking at it, only when you touch it do you fully comprehend it.
Jac Saorsa 2014 – Drawing Women’s Cancer
Jac Saorsa uses the vocabulary of drawing to speak to people about their illnesses, in a human way. She helps people understand what is happening to them and encourages them and supports them through it through her art. “In this space, Practice itself becomes the voice of suffering”. The work is visually successful in my opinion, but also houses a deeper purpose and a powerful aid to sufferers. It is incredibly interesting to think about how pieces of art heighten certain senses or speak to people or help them through things. Expression in drawing can be very powerful. Fragility in quality of line etc echoes dealing with a sense of life.
Harry Ally – Painting and Process
Harry Ally’s work contains an incompleteness that suggests rather than illustrates. Suggestion brings context and meaning. I am very inspired by this work and I feel that it allows the viewer to delve into their imagination and visualise the suggested in their own way. This work contains physical depth in the layering of materials on top of one another which can relate to emotional depth.
What can be felt through quality of Line?
What can a drawn mark do? Can it Scar or cut? Time is embedded within it. Can drawing enable us to explore experiences? Can our drawing enable others to explore experience?
Drawing can take someone on a journey, through a connection from Line to sensation to emotion. Drawing can be used as a tool that can heighten your experience of the world as a means to explore and examine. It can also be used to heighten the experience of others. Children perceive the world without thinking about it, children are curious, all senses are live.
The Ideas of John Berger 2002
John Berger maintains that you can make beautiful drawings, that speak of virtuosity and ability. The act of drawing and process can get you to look at things with such focus and consideration that it allows your mind to think differently about it. The drawing can speak to you, you impose certain values on that piece of paper. When drawing observationally, another reality could arise from it – imagination. Drawing can allow fictitious themes to slip in. Drawing can slow things down.
Why do we draw? Why do we create?
We create things that weren’t there before, but link in to the inspirations and experiences of the world.
I can already see how this option will be beneficial to my practice and current subject work. I want to portray my own experience of my local landscape and a connection to the place but I also want others to gain experience from it and feel a connection to the landscape and the natural objects within it. I feel like this option will encourage me to consider how the marks made and materials used can evoke emotional and sensory experiences. I also think it will open my eyes to linking my work to place and experience in a wider variety of ways. It is important that my work could send someone on a journey or encourage thinking and I am looking forward to putting this into practice through drawing and applying what I learn into my artistic practice and subject work.
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.
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.
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.
In preparation for our final performance, me and another group member met up to make brooms together that could be used to paint with during our piece. We collected sticks and twigs from the surrounding area and brought them to the session.
Whilst creating the brooms, we were thinking about the marks they would make. My broom had many more bristles that my group members, and so they will create different marks when dragged across a painted surface. We chose a larger sturdy stick as the broom handle and taped and bound others to one end securely to produce broom/rake like painting tools.
It was quite a theraputic session and It is interesting to think that our final performance will instantly have a connection to nature and place because of the elements within it. This is highly relevant to my subject work. I wanted to integrate nature into the performance and making painting tools with it is an interesting way to do so.
Our brooms are completed and ready to paint with. Making props for our performance was an enjoyable use of my time and I think it demonstrated that we have really considered the piece and what we would like to achieve within it. Lastly, we used string and wrapped it around the handle to make them look more like authentic old style brooms. We look forward to seeing the marks that are made with these and how successful they are in blending colour to get rid of a black line within our final outcome.
This session encouraged to think about how putting restrictions on the body can affect both the outcome and the process or a performance or physical piece of artwork. We were put into groups of 4/5 people and our thighs were all taped together as well as a pair of arms in to order to make us consider to concept of restriction. Being taped to others was like creating one large body to paint with but it having more limbs to hold brushes and mark the surface.
The other group were quite chaotic in their approach to the task of making a painting tied together whereas our group was well organised. We considered composition, form and mark making in painting even with the restrictions. Through good communication, co-operation with each other and my directions we moved across the paper one step at a time as one body. We managed to create a successful outcome containing a variety of marks. We all listened and obeyed orders and suggestions instructed within our group but also out tutor, Andre Stitt was shouting at us through a mega phone. The shouting made us feel under pressure and more vulnerable taped up together. It could also be argued that this added another element of restriction because we were focussing on obeying Andre’s direction so much and less about actually making the marks. We worked better as a team when Andre wasn’t shouting as we could focus on each other.
Our group were thinking about coordinating our gestures and how we touched the surface of the paper. What happens between people when they are restricted and in this case tied together? Personally, in our group we felt a bond between each other. There was intimacy, we couldn’t avoid touching each other and we could smell each other as well as hearing and feeling our breathing. The paintbrushes restricted us, but also aided our mark making. The other group were in a rush to get to the end and were finding the experience frustrating whereas we were just taking our time to complete the task in hand. Art is a metaphor for other things and time is a key element. The other group were getting frustrated with time and how long it was taking to walk up and down the piece of paper making marks whereas personally I felt that I got lost in time. Andre informed us that we were making the work for about 15 minutes but to me it only felt like about 3 mins.
Our groups work was more abstract expressionist, there were more visible passages and more form. You could tell we had a relationship with drawing. From watching the other group, we learnt that composition can come out of chaos, that could be an important factor for an artist.
The process is clear within our works, we were composing as we went along and became more spatially aware and form was being constructed. We were thinking about restriction and control. We didn’t have to listen to Andres chants but we did. It was exhausting being tied together, managing your own body as well as the bodies of others. We can think of this as a new form of collaboration. How would an audience feel about the intimacy of the work? Is it about human contact? There are many different examples of what art can be. Even though there was so much restriction in the exercise, there was freedom in the use of paint which for some encouraged a feeling of child’s play and chaos.
When looking at the final results, there was a variety of beautiful and intriguing marks creates – Brush marks, foot prints, evidence of shuffling along the paper, skidding, slipping and dripping were all evident. We referenced William De’Kooning’s paintings and Jackson Pollock’s work.This session has made me think about how putting restrictions in place can make an interesting outcome. Not being able to move your limbs here made your approach less controlled and the marks were more free, some were even accidental but the outcome was still of interest and significance. It is usually quite difficult to use your body freely and not having full control of it made this easier. Thinking about how a brush restricts me may be an interesting thing to think about in my subject work. Also, it has given me a new way of collaborating with people in order to make art that is both enjoyable and productive.