Assessment Space

My Space is set up for assessment.  After seeing the size of the wall I had been given, I decided to display the landscape mark making experiments I produced on hand-made paper using my tools as well as the original plan of the three paintings, the tools and paints. I am very pleased with how the display looks. I have kept it quite minimal and I think it looks clean and proffessional.

Statement about my Display of Work

Natural Landscapes have for a long time, been a subject of artworks. John Piper’s ideas about creating an experience of being in a place within a painting and his work “The Rocky Valley” got me thinking about how some landscape paintings today document landscape visually but don’t really connect with the nature within the place.  I started thinking about how I could create connections between art and nature and expose people to nature in a world that is becoming increasingly urbanized and technological. After much experimentation, investigating how to work with the natural world within the art world, I decided to create a final body of work to bring my experimentation together and consolidate my findings. Three Natural Paintings, accompanying hand-made equipment and sixteen tool mark making experiments framed with twigs make up the space. The Colour Palette is dictated by Nature alone. Within this work, the landscape type images themselves have come from nature, the shapes of sticks dictated the form of the mountain shapes (these are displayed below the paintings). Inspired by my Field Modules, I have used elements from nature to both create the paints I have painted with and the tools with which I applied the paint. I have chosen to display the tools and paints that I have made on shelves with the outcomes as I see them as artworks in their own right and give the audience an insight into how the work was produced and visibly show the relationship between art and nature that I am portraying.

I now just need to display the jars of paint on the top shelf and my space for assessment and an exhibition is complete.


Planning my Space for Assessment

Assessment is looming and we have been asked to display work that showcases our subject work and displays links from the field modules undertaken within it. Supporting work and sketchbooks will be placed on a table below. I have drawn a proposed plan of my wall space.

I have decided to display three outcomes. Each image will be of a landscape taken from the shape of twigs I have found out in the environment. I will display the twig shapes underneath the paintings. The paintings will be produced from natural paints that I have ground and made myself and the paint will have been applied with tools that I have made from natural materials, inspired by my field modules. I will also display the paints I make in jars with labels on them on a shelf and another shelf below will display the tools I have made as I believe both these elements can be considered as artworks in their own right. The whole display will showcase a connection and relationship between art and nature. I have been exploring how I can link the two through a variety of ways within my subject work and I believe this display will portray that connection.

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.

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

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

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

DRAWING: Twigs Dictating a Landscape Experiments

I decided to draw the landscape experiments that I created by utilising the natural form and shape of the twigs I have found. I feel that by drawing the twigs, the landscape elements of the arrangement have become even clearer. I think the drawings are visually interesting and have more of a connection to nature than if I had made drawings from a stick piece that I had tried to make look like an existing landscape. Nature has created the shape of the landscape and the shape of the skyline. The shape of the sticks is what determines the shape of the landscapes.

I feel that drawing these sticks making up landscapes has allowed me to see the scape they are making up more clearly and I will now use these drawings to make more detailed landscape drawings like I have done from the Beacons previously within this project, the difference being that nature has made up these landscape images and so they will have a deeper connection with it rather than just simply drawing what I see.

Experimenting with Drawing/Painting Tools Made from Natural Materials: Mark Making and Landscape work

Now that I have made a substantial amount of natural drawing tools inspired by my field option “drawing as experience” and in particular the “materiality of drawing” session, and artist Stuart Cairns: I decided it was time to experiment by drawing/painting with the different tools to see what kind of marks they made. Each tool is very different and creates a very different mark, some of the marks are more controlled and the tools used to create these are more closely related to traditional drawing tools, however, other tools were difficult to control on the surface of the paper. As I created more marks, I started to get a feel for the abilities of the tools and what I would use them for if making a painting. Eventually, I want to incorporate the use of my own natural tools into my final piece for this project and so experimenting with them is key.

Mark making experimentation gave me confidence in my tools. I knew what kind of marks I could achieve from them and which weren’t as successful as others, for example I have learnt that the leaves on tools should be dry as if they are fresher they bend and don’t create much of a mark. Many of the marks were quite scratchy and textural and I could see how this could lend it self to depicting the contours of the mountains of the Brecon Beacons, so I started experimenting with doing so. I didn’t really think about colour much here, I just squeezed out paint and let my tools blend the colours on the paper. Obviously when using my nature tools for a final piece colour would be more carefully considered.

I was suprised at how well I was able to achieve a likeness to the mountains through the use of only tools made from natural materials like twigs, leaves, foliage, grass and tied together with string. The outcomes are freer and less controlled with more expression I feel that regular painting tools and of course I controlled the tools, but nature made the marks. Experimenting with ways of engaging and connecting my work with nature, I think this is one of the more interesting methods, both the tools and the outcome is made from and by nature. I will start to think about how I could consolidate my project and include key elements like the use of tools and having natural materials within the outcome.

A Batch of Hand-Made Nature Paper

Within my artist book work,  we are expected to collect papers rather than just using regular plain white paper. As my book is nature based and I have experimented with Paper making in my subject work previously, I decided that it wouldn’t be a nature book if it didn’t contain some form of nature within it as well as imagery. I decided I will include natural elements into the book by including them in hand made paper.

In the first half of the batch, I added natural material onto the surface of the water bath so when I caught them with the paper pulp the objects were intact but included in the paper’s surface. The Second half of the batch – I blended natural materials like leaves, twigs, grass, mud and foliage in the blender with the paper pulp to create a paper full of tiny bits of natural elements and I think this is highly successful.

Both of these paper outcomes are going to be added to my artist’s book, I haven’t decided whether I want to print onto them or leave them blank. I have made the paper’s and that might be enough. I will cut the sheets down into my book page size and include them along side the printed ones.