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.
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.
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.
After undertaking a 5 week artist’s book making project, I have finally completed my first Artist’s book. I have been making pages using different print techniques with a view to binding them into a book but I didn’t really know how it would be bound or what to expect so I just worked hard on creating lots of different pages to fill it with. I chose the pages I wanted to include before starting the binding process and discounted quite a few that had ink stains on them or were similar to other prints etc.
I folded the chosen pages and put them into signatures before stitching all the signatures together so all the pages turned as one body like a book. I then glued the spin and placed skrim over it and weighted all the pages down, just to help keep the book together. I was already so pleased with my book and it didn’t even have a cover, I couldn’t believe that my 5 weeks had amounted to this and it was all coming together so well. I cut a front and back cover and a spine and covered them with book cloth before gluing my book in place in the cover and leaving it to dry.
I am so pleased with my Artist’s book, it links to my subject work and has a connection to nature. It incorporates different ways of printing with nature as well as hand-made paper with nature embedded in it. Turning through the pages of the book It definitely makes me feel connected to the natural world. I have employed so many print processes and without undertaking this project I would never have explored the possibilities of creating a connection between art and nature through print. It is so satisfying to know you made the book down to the paper and hand printed the title etc. I am very proud of my artist’s book and will treasure it. I have learnt a valuable new skill and I would like to make more books in the future.
“As people become more Eco-friendly and environmentally aware, the idea of making living, breathing graffiti has become an exciting outlet for graffiti artists. Moss graffiti replaces spray paint and other such toxic chemicals and paints with a paintbrush and a moss “paint” that can grow on its own.”
It is important in the contextualisation of my project, that I look at artist’s that are creating a connection between Art and Nature in Today’s Society. Here I am looking at a method of art making rather than a particular artist. This is a prime example of people using natural materials to make art.
It has made me think about the fact that I have been combining my natural materials with Acrylic paint which is not a natural material and is very plasticy and therefore, I think it could possibly make me work less connected to nature and not make people connect with nature or realise it’s potential. Here these individuals have made their own moss paint and it grows, this is something I could experiment with but mostly this research has encouraged me to think about the fact that I could be making my own paints and my own pigments from nature, rather than using bought paints and mixing natural elements in with them because I believe this would make the connection stronger. Also, in terms of environmental issues, using only natural paints would be better for the environment.
Experimenting with Drawing/Painting Tools Made from Natural Materials: Mark Making and Landscape workPosted: March 16, 2015
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.
I was incredibly inspired by the “Materiality of Drawing” session within the “Drawing as Experience” field module and was highly drawn to the work of Stuart Cairns who makes drawing tools from found objects and draws them. In this session, we started experimenting with making our own tools and using them to make marks. I have taken inspiration from this into my subject module and I have started to make tools from natural objects and bound them together with string. I have experimented with a vast variety of methods of connecting my work to nature and place but hadn’t thought about the fact that I could actually make the tools I draw or paint with from nature. After discussing this idea with my tutor, it was agreed that I should pursue this further and document the collecting of the objects and the making process, I decided to do this through video. For me, the process of collecting, being amongst nature and making tools both out in the environment and back inside is very therapeutic and I have accompanied the documentation with a sound track to reflect that.
This video portrays me collecting and making my tools in the surroundings of the Brecon Beacons National Park. I intend to use these tools to draw/paint a landscape piece of the Beacons with the marks the tools make embedded in the image. The image will have a deeper connection to the specific place, nature and environment because it was produced with tools made from natural objects collected in the place. I will document the process of creating the piece with the tools also.
I am looking forward to using these tools to make a piece and to see what kind of marks are made and outcome is produced. Thinking towards final pieces for this module, I think a physical connection with art and nature is the stronger one and maybe I could create an outcome or series of outcomes where nature is used in the work, and the tools used to create the work are also natural. This is just an initial Idea at the moment. I definitely want to make more of a range of tools and collect more materials to do so. I also think the string makes the tools look less natural and so when I make more I will bind them with Grasses.
Making Paints from Natural Materials
I decided I would have a go at making my own paints – made from the pigments of natural materials. I went for a walk around the landscape of Brecon and collected a variety of natural materials to make paint with. These materials included: Leaves, small stones, different coloured flowers, soil etc. I did some research into potential ways of producing my own paints and came across egg tempera. I decided to experiment with making egg tempera paints from natural materials. I ground up the natural materials using a pestle and mortar then added egg white or yolk or both. I painted these outcomes onto paper and then added lemon juice which changed the colours and sometimes lightened the paints. Bicarbonate of Soda was also added which thickened and darkened the paints. This Process has quite an obvious connection between art and nature and is definitely more successful than mixing nature into acrylic plasticy paint. This allows the natural materials to make the artwork.
However, the range of colours that I have managed to create are mostly different shades of greens, browns and greys. I did produce a light blue sort of colour using blue bells and a more reddish brown using redder soils also. I experimented with pink petals and yellow petals etc. but all of these lost their visual colour and turned into greens and browns as well. Even though the colour palette may be limited, the colours are from nature and so I shouldn’t be trying to achieve colours you can use when painting with synthetic paints.
I definitely think that these natural pigment paints create a very strong connection between the art world and the natural world. I think having the formula used to create each colour is quite interesting and if displayed with a painting would definitely connect the viewer with nature and encourage them to consider it a lot more deeply. I think it is highly fascinating that I have managed to make paints from natural materials and I look forward to attempting to paint imagery with them and experiment with them further. I will experiment with painting the landscapes that I formulated from the shape of twigs.