Working towards my Assessment Space: Painting with Natural Paints and Tools

Assessment is approaching, and I am starting to think about consolidating my project and working out what I want to show on the wall. I have sifted through my experimentation and come to a conclusion as to how the greatest connection between art and nature is made, simply by being more natural with my materials and more inventive in my approach to how I use them rather than just sticking them to the surface etc.

My project started off being inspired by a landscape painter, I have always been interested in Landscape and producing landscape style pieces with these materials will not only emit a connection with nature but the landscape in my eyes will be more connected to the outdoors as it incorporates items from the environment. I challenge traditional flat landscape paintings and reinvent them using natural materials. People recognise a landscape painting and so using this imagery as well as my natural paints and tools to make art will emit a connection between art and nature to people more recognisably and somewhat expose them to and reconnect them with nature in a world that is growing more and more urbanized.

Triptych Landscape Painting

I have produced a triptych of landscape paintings connected to nature in far more ways than just the imagery. The landscape images themselves are taken from nature, I have referred to the shape of twigs to determine the shape of the mountains and hills. The paints used to paint these are made from natural materials and they have been applied with brushes and tools made from leaves, sticks, grass, pine cones, etc. The colour palette has only emerged from what nature has to offer and so is recognisably natural.

Working with nature is a highly experimental and interesting process, each paint incorporated a different texture into your work and each tool creates a different mark.

I definitely think these pieces are successful in portraying a connection between art and nature. When I started experimenting with these ideas, I would never have imagined I would have ground my own paints and create my own painting tools (inspired by field). Experimentation and trial and error have been key elements in my work and have aided my success.

A relationship between the art world and the natural world is clearly evident here and against a white wall I am confident that the natural colour pallette will stand out and so I have chosen to use these within my assessment space, I feel that the paints I made and the tools I produced are artworks in their own right, taken from nature and utilised as art materials and so I will be displaying these in my assessment space as well. As well as these pieces and my tools and paints, I will paint a line drawing style landscape onto handmade nature paper with each of the 16 of my tools and display those aswell. Mark making has been integrated throughout my project and so showing the marks that the tools can make more gesturally to accompany these more clean final style outcomes could make for an interesting display utilising nature in art.

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Further Experimentation with Natural Paints

After experimenting with the natural paints that I have created in my sketchbook, I decided to produce some mountainous images on board. I took the shape of the mountains from twigs, painted with natural substances and also used sticks to apply the colour: articulating numerous relationships between art and nature. I feel that these experiments look very natural and communicate the colours of the earth, browns, greens and tones of yellow. I also managed to create a convincing bluey turquoise colour, using bluebells with which I portrayed a sky feel to the experiments.

These images are possibly a bit too aesthetic and I think if I experimented applying the natural paints with some nature tools that I have created they could be more gestural and even closely more related to my ideas. I have been communicating a connection between art, place and nature and I definitely think these experiments are successful in doing so, I am now thinking about the final outcome for the project and want to sum up my ideas and display my findings. Brainstorming begins.


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.


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.


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.


Drawings incorporating Sensory Marks

Linking my drawing as experience field option to my subject work, I decided to experiment creating drawings containing sensory representational marks that I formulated for my sensory story. Drawing the place with the sensory marks from it arguably creates a deeper connection to the nature of it and the place.

However, as drawings I don’t think they are particularly successful. I have replaced the hieroglyphic like marks inspired by John Piper’s rocky valley with sensory marks but in my other drawings I only used a few marks, rather than filling the image with them. I think I have incorporated too many sensory marks and don’t think these drawings are particularly successful. I don’t think there is any strong connection to nature here, unless the viewer was aware of my sensory work they would be insignificant. I don’t think I will be continuing with this and feel like I am trying to find ways of more deeply connecting my experience of field to my work when maybe I don’t need to. These drawings are quite forced and therefore not notable.