Summative Post: Contextualisation

5 Key Points – Contextualisation

1. John Piper: An Experience of Place. John Piper’s work “The Rocky Valley, North Wales” was the starting point to my subject work. Romantic Artist’s such as John Piper and Graham Sutherland saw an importance in Nature. They wanted to create an experience of a place and a connection with it. I started working with these ideas and under the influence of these artist’s progressed to exploring the relationship art and nature could have.



2. Anselm Kiefer Exhibition: Works incorporating Natural Materials with Paint. Viewing the Anselm Kiefer Exhibition in the Royal Academy really inspired my ideas. I hadn’t realised that he incorporated natural materials into the paints he uses and onto the surface of the canvas. Experimenting with ways of incorporating nature into art, I decided to explore mixing nature into paint myself which turned out to be unsuccessful as it wasn’t creating a deep enough connection but pushed me to develop my work and encouraged me to think about ways of integrating nature without art materials like man-made paint and aided my progression.


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3.Stuart Cairns: Artist Tool Making The Drawing as experience field module introduced me to Stuart Cairns. He makes drawing tools out of found objects, sometimes natural materials other times not. I am highly influenced by his work and it encouraged me to explore making my own natural tools to paint and draw with which have turned out to be integrated into my final and most recent work. Exploring the marks that each tool makes and considering them as art objects themselves I have discovered a connection to nature by making marks with it.



4. Andy Goldsworthy: Realising the Potential in Nature. Andy Goldworthy gives me confidence in the fact that presenting art and nature together can emit a connection to a more natural environment. His work demonstrates the potential of nature and displays a connection with it. Even though he works out in the surrounding, his work is very inspiring to me and pushed me to use natural materials for Art Making.

Blog Post Link:

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5.Richard Long: Mud Paintings. Richard Long’s work relates to my work and ideas in a variety of ways. He experiences Nature, collaborated with it, brings it into the gallery space as well as producing land art, but the most influential area of his practice for me were his mud paintings. His work inspired me to explore making my own paint’s from nature and more deeply investigate the possibilities that nature has to offer to my art.


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Landscape Drawings Taken from the Shape of Twigs

I decided to draw more detailed landscape drawings from the stick experiments that I produced. These landscape drawings have a deep connection to nature because they are convincing landscape images but they are taken from the shapes of twigs naturally formed in the environment. I have drawn them as I drew the Beacons inspired by John Piper. I have incorporated the mark making within them as these hieroglyphic type shapes that I have picked out from the mark making in John Piper’s Rocky Valley work were very interesting and an element that I should integrate not only into these new drawings formulated from nature but also back into my paints as they have been slightly lost and overshadowed along the way.

It is interesting that these scapes are not existing landscapes but are convincingly so, when in fact the shape of them came directly out of nature in the form of the shape of twigs. I definitely think these drawings are more intriguing as the shape of them has come from the natural shapes of natural elements themselves.


Linking my field work to my subject work, I have created a sensory story that gives the viewer a sensory experience of walking within the Brecon Beacons National Park through imagery, action, objects and sound. I have incorporated different elements of walking in the Brecon Beacons, like the crunching of frosty grass under your feet, the sound of leaves rustling and the sun peaking out from cloud and warming your face to build up a sensory experience where the viewer can be taken on a journey and feel as if they are experiencing all the different sensory stimulation from walking in this surrounding.

As in my subject work, John Piper and Neo-romantic painters are of influence to this piece. John Piper tries to capture an experience of place and natural surroundings within his paintings by painting landscapes with elements of abstraction and expression. He thinks nature has personality and tries to capture a sense of being among those personalities. He sends the viewer on a favourable romantic experience of place and landscape and takes someone on a journey. His work is highly influential to the ideas I have worked with in my Sensory Story.

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I wanted to use lots of experiences of being in the area to build up one total experience in the viewers mind. I didn’t put all the experiences together in this piece as I understood how easily people could be over-stimulated from the workshop with Becky Lydon about sensory processing. I am demonstrating synaesthesia by overlapping creative languages and the marks that I have made within my sensory story will be subconsciously influenced by my own experiences and memories of the Brecon Beacons.

I experimented with mark making for each experience before embarking on the final outcome to make sure my ideas were clear and to ensure that the marks I was making did suggest the experience I was portraying. I think the combination of drawing and sounds gives a richer and deeper sensory experience of the occurrences I am trying to convey and so I have paired my mark making with sounds of the experiences in question.  My use of sound and the making of drawings/art was highly inspired by the workshop I undertook as part of this field option where Bethan Frieze, Professional Violinist played music in response to artworks in the sensory object exhibition. I found I had a stronger sensory experience of the object when it was paired with sound and so knew I would be incorporating this into my sensory story.

I have learnt so many skills throughout the course of this module and 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.  The most influential parts to my sensory story have been the practice of making marks to portray something and learning how to give a viewer an experience of something without drawing it accurately or realistically. The materiality of drawing really inspired my thought processes in the making of this sensory story, I wanted to link this work to the nature element of my subject work and so took influence from the use of unconventional drawing tools and drew with stones, twigs and leaves as well as being inspired by the idea of making my own drawing tools. I made a brush type tool out of dry rustling leaves and dragged it across the paper as if echoing trudging through foliage. Influenced by the psychogeography session I have incorporated pathways of walking and marks that signify footsteps. Drawing in response to the Opera I saw made me think less about outcome and more about documenting an experience. The drawings I produced from this definitely had musical quality and rhythym and so I tried to capture this energy and focus on process, less on outcome. Responding visually to artworks in the sensory sense exhibition helped me think more about how to represent something to an audience that hasn’t experienced it. I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who has never been to the Brecon Beacons and formulate marks and sounds that could send them on a journey of experiencing small happenings sequentially in order to get a sense of a whole experience of being in the surroundings. 

I am confident that through this sensory story I have demonstrated that I understand how drawing, in its broadest sense can be used to evoke a sensory experience. I have sent someone on a journey by using drawing, film, action and sound to portray sensory elements of a whole experience of being within the Brecon Beacons national park. Sequential experiences, gradually build up to give the viewer an insight into being in the sensory story themselves.  Creating a video piece means I have been critically reflecting and evaluating my work as I am going along as I have been deciding what footage to keep and what not to keep. However, if I was to improve this piece, I may think about using a more subtle sound for sunbeams peering through the clouds. Also, It may be beneficial to have a drawing at the end combining all of the marks to give the viewer a physical image that gives a sense of the whole experience after they have been taken through the stages of it. I have taken the skills learnt in the workshop sessions and applied them to make for a successful piece of work. I would also like to cross some of these skills over into my subject work and bear in mind the experiences viewers will get from my artwork more significantly. Making natural tools to draw landscapes with in my project would definitely allow for a greater connection to place and nature, as materials have a language themselves and push my concept further. Drawing sensory walks around the landscape that I am trying to portray could help me get to know it better and make an interesting accompaniment to a more figurative piece. Lastly, in my subject work, I have been making drawings containing mark making influenced by the marks in John Piper’s work, but now I will make drawings that contain mark making portraying a sensory experience of being within the place again making my work stronger in its relationship to place and nature. 

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.


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. 



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.




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.

Reflection: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Progressions?

Reflecting on what I have done so far and writing down my ideas and progressions in concrete will not only help me progress but make the work I have been doing clearer to me and to others.

Within this project, I have decided to make work inspired by a piece by John Piper called the Rocky Valley.  Initially, I was very interested in the textures and the colour palette of the work. On closer investigation, the abstract marks that were making up the rock face became a key inspiration to the beginning of my project. Firstly, I have experimented with creating my own work inspired by the visual aspects of the piece, creating continuous line drawings with abstract shapes and gestural mark making and painting those elements onto photographs etc. Other influential artists like Dryden Goodwin and David Hockney encouraged me to create Landscapes with abstract shapes and elements through methods like scratching into photographs and digital work.

After exhausting the physical and visual influences, I decided to research into the concepts and reasoning of John Piper’s work. I found that he wanted to capture a sense of the place he was producing and express the personality of the nature within it and around him. He wanted his work to have a strong connection with the visual elements of the place as well as the feelings and emotions within it. I have chosen to work with my home area of the Brecon Beacons because it is a place close to my heart and I believe I will be able to capture it appropriately because I have experienced it first hand. I attempted to make some I-Pad collages combining real pictures of the place with levels of abstraction and marks. I also incorporated the colour palette and because the place was in it, I felt there would be a connection to it, but it was not strong enough.

Capturing a sense of a place has become a key concept of my work. I have been taking things from the outdoors and using them within my artwork, instantly creating a connection. At first, I was incredibly unsure where I was going with this and so started drawing with twigs dipped in ink and making line drawings from the nature within a place. I have also been experimenting with collage, textures and abstraction. Again, the connection was quite obvious and not very exciting and after seeing Anselm Kiefer’s exhibition in the Royal Academy in London, I started thinking about other ways of incorporating nature into my work.

Currently, I am experimenting with adding nature itself into the paint that I work with. I have produced experiments where I have mixed organic materials like soil or leaves into the medium and I am incredibly happy with the results. Not only does it add texture to the paint, but it gives a sense of the place you are painting, because nature from it is in the work as well. Combining the influence of John Piper and Anselm Kiefer seems to be giving my work a lot of direction and I am excited by the Ideas that are emerging.

In terms of progression, I am hoping to produce more experiments adding things to paint and using them to create abstracted Landscapes incorporating abstract shape and encompassing gestural mark making. I think combining everything that I have learnt from investigating and researching so far could lead to a successful outcome and then I could stand back and look at it and see how to progress further. Incorporating nature and organic matter actually into the art that I produce takes the connection to a landscape further than the work of John Piper. I have started to think about other ways of documenting a place and have created a few abstract pieces from collected found objects from the outdoors but this is something I will have to investigate further also.

Colour Experimentation: Moving forward with Initial Influence

So far, I have been experimenting with the colour palette that is evident with John Piper’s work. Moving forward with his influence, I have decided to create a piece with a completely different colour scheme from his work. I chose to use brighter colours to give the impression of his work being modernized. I also wanted to kind of consolidate the techniques that I have been working with up until now.

Within this mixed media piece, I have included collage, tissue paper, rough paper and acrylic paint and have painted in abstract marks, shapes and line work to show a loose connection to John Piper’s work. Thinking about the photographs that I scratched into under the influence of Dryden Goodwin, I scratched marks into the surface of the paint within this piece as well. I think this is definitely a worth while experiment and it interesting to see how well you can see connections to John Piper’s work without their being a relationship with the colours. I am now going to be thinking about the connection to nature and incorporating natural objects and found things into the paint or on the surface of board.

A Connection to Nature – Working with John Piper’s Sense of Place

Whilst researching the life, processes and ways of working of John Piper, It is clear to me that within his paintings he wanted to capture a sense of the place that he was representing. He felt close to the surroundings and wanted to capture the personality of the rocks and the feel of the blades of grass he was sitting on whilst producing preparatory sketches to paint from. He wanted to convey a part of nature within his work.

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Working with this idea of capturing an essence of a place and conveying nature within art work, I decided to dip twigs that I found among the landscape of my home area – The Brecon Beacons, into indian ink and draw with them. Here I am using nature from the Landscape to actually draw it and therefore encompassing part of the place within the drawing.


Keeping to the things I find influential from my chosen object, I used the twig to draw abstract shapes and forms and to make marks. To produce the piece above, I used a relatively small twig dipped in nut brown ink. The thickness of the Lines depended on how much ink the twig absorbed when dipped in the pot. There was something very free about drawing with natural objects and making use of fallen sticks and twigs. The twig itself, helped me express the nature of the place.


The image above was drawn with a much thicker twig and drawing with the black ink was a lot harder to control. The end was not flat either and so some additional lines were made accidentally and sometimes when attemping to draw one line, maybe three would be drawn. This gave a sense of nature controlling the piece and me having my own expression in the drawing but the twig having its own input too.

The idea of capturing a place in artwork is incredibly interesting to me and something that I am definitely going to be working on more within my project.