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portraying a landscape and the leaves filling in the gaps, without them being snapped, changed, put under paint or withdrawn from their natural selves.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.
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.
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.
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.
After gaining an understanding of what the materiality of drawing really was, it was put into practice through undertaking a variety of different workshop exercises. On Reflection, this practical session was the one I found the most enjoyable and the most beneficial in terms of inspiring my current and future practice.
Firstly, we were put into pairs and one of us was given an object. We were given the task of describing the form of the object so that the other person could draw it and then we swapped over. It was really challenging to have to think of ways to describe something to someone who couldn’t see it so they could represent it through drawing. I found myself thinking of the object in terms of line, shape and marks rather than a physical object. When it was my turn to draw, interpreting the description was at first really difficult but as I really thought about it, I started to make an interesting drawing that very closely resembled the object which in my case was a Whisk. This was a very valuable exercise because it took out being able to just draw what you see and you really had to consider the marks being made.
Next, we had to do the same but describe the object only by touch. Describing the feel of an object for someone to draw accurately is nearly impossible but made for a very interesting drawing containing mark making and line. I started thinking about alternative materials to use to draw and chose lipstick. The object that my partner had was a large piece of burnt wood/charcoal with rough edges and sharp parts. It was very difficult for her to describe. I just drew how it felt to her, its very interesting what can be drawn when only guided by the senses.
Exploring the materiality of drawing further, we were encouraged to think about the materials that we were actually using to apply the paint and consider the marks that they make much deeper. Moving away from the humble pencil or common charcoal we were asked to create our own drawing tools and to experiment with them to explore the marks they made on the paper.
I was incredibly happy with the tools I made and it has really inspired me to make some tools using natural elements and use them to draw my abstract landscape drawings within my subject work to further my experimentation into nature being intertwined into artwork. The whole idea about making your own tools to draw with I thought was a very creative idea and takes the making of a drawing to another level. It made me consider the materiality of my drawings a lot more carefully and was really pleased with the variety of marks I managed to make on paper from the tools I created alone.
Lastly, We were asked to pick an object and a strip of paper with words on it to make a drawing from. I had to consider the materiality of the object and the things I was drawing with but also think about how I could incorporate the words into the work. I picked an old rusting teaspoon and my words read “The Shadow Flutter”.
I decided I would use the words to title the piece and relay them visually by incorporating the shadow of the spoon into my work repeatedly as if it were fluttering around.
I also incorporated sensory markings of how the spoon felt, the rough texture and the smooth handle with a few grainy parts. I was so surprised to see the outcome and couldn’t have been more pleased with it. I couldn’t believe that I created a successful art piece inspired by a spoon and three words but I did. The materiality of drawing sessions have taught me to consider my materials and the marks they make in more depth and to consider the fact that an object could inspire a whole piece of art or words an artist has said or from a poem could be intertwined in some way. I have learnt that it isn’t always visual things that stimulate drawing and mark making and the combination of sensory drawing and visual objects can make successful work. These realisations are useful to think about when proposing and making my sensory story for assessment.
Today I attended a paper making workshop with the intention of creating my own paper that contained natural material in it. It was interesting to see how versatile making paper can be and the range of materials that others brought to the workshop.
I produced one A4 size piece of paper and two small squares of paper with leaves, grass and twigs etc mixed into the pulp in this workshop. I am hoping they will dry successfully and after being put through the printing press will be ready to drawn on. Constantly considering new ways of connecting my artwork to place and nature, I thought I could draw my abstracted landscapes onto paper containing nature in it.
After being shown the process I feel relatively confident I could make a batch of paper without assistance. I would like to experiment further adding more natural material and different quantities and colours of paper into the pulp. I would also like to add PVA glue into the mix to make it less absorbent and able to be painted on. The tutor also showed me an artist that used rhubarb leaves instead of a mesh, mould and dackle to catch the paper pulp, after the pulp dried the veins and textures of the leaf were imprinted into paper. This could be an interesting experiment with varied leaves or natural material.
Within my project, I am working with the influence of the Landscape work of John Piper. One of the concepts within his work is connection to place. He wants his landscapes to have a connection to the places that are painted within them. I have been experimenting with a variety of different ways to achieve a connection to a place which has developed into a connection with the nature from the place. I have used objects from the places to draw with, painting onto natural found objects, documented a place through found objects and photographed drawings in a natural environment. However, I never thought about the fact that I don’t really have any documentation material that shows the process of my making or that captures nature itself with my art somehow embedded in it and therefore there would be a connection to place and nature.
Undertaking the Painting Performance Field Module has made me think a lot more about process and how documenting the process of art making can become a performance that shows the work developing. The outcomes could just be a trace of what the live action of doing set out to achieve. With this in mind, I decided to experiment with creating a Video piece that portrayed me producing artwork with a connection to place and nature.
Inspired by my Field work, I created artwork using nature to draw it, in a natural setting and filmed the process. The piece shows me using organic material like leaves and twigs found from the floor of the woodland setting and dipping them in ink. I then used these materials to make marks and drag the ink across the paper. The outcomes created instantly have a connection to the place they were produced in and nature as that is what was used to draw it. I also used a technique of memory drawing by drawing abstracted Brecon Beacons Landscapes in the piece. This intertwines my memories of that place into the work as well. This work was never about the outcome, but the process and experience.
I definitely think for a first attempt, applying what I have learnt this term, this is a highly successful outcome. After shooting the footage, I edited it and added stills and sound which I got to experiment with in the video editing session within field with Neil Pedder. I think documenting the process within nature works really well. I have been focusing on my home area, the Brecon Beacons within my project because I already have a connection to that place. I would like to try and make another Video and I think it would be more effective if I did it in the Beacons Surroundings, so that I could draw from life. I could take art materials like inks again to re-explore these ideas but also, I would like to try only using organic material found there, no ink or paint. Just mud and lake water etc etc. I am not sure what marks I would get but it is worth experimenting. It is highly valuable documenting process and I am learning how video work can lend itself to some of my ideas.