Monthly Archives: June 2016

Exercise 1.3

This was fun – looking at images and not the paper – its hard not to peek. The trick is not to lift your hand off the paper!

I used thin washes of left over acrylic and stronger paint – eg. black gouache would have looked more effective, but its an exercise in looking hard at a subject. Something I learned from all the exercises of the Betty Edward’s book – ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’



Exercise 1.2

My first pair were in acrylic black and white. I’m experimenting with the different marks you can make with it – thick dry, glazes and very thin. The first worked best, because of the darker background giving the horse a negative shape, and the different tones within it making it more 3D. The second I was looking at giving a sense of movement with dry thick pain, but I wonder if it wasn’t enough and it didn’t look substantial enough as an object.

Similar thing happened with the portrait, in that the second one possibly doesn’t have enough substance and variation in tones, but it gives me ideas to work on.

I like both of these – black gouache and white acrylic ink. Lots of water used for both to let the paint flow. I have never used gouache before and the bold effect was good. The second has taught me to be patient with the ink layers drying before putting more on to build up an effect of looking into the painting.

This was black drawing ink and white acrylic ink. The first is a bit boring, but in the second I painted the figures in black ink and poured white ink on it, this gives a random effect – it would be useful for natural forms like waves maybe. I can control the white ink with the black ink boundary. So an experiment that will help in the future rather than being successful here.

Finally, the first is black ink poured on a dry white acrylic background. Then out comes the bleach, to clear the light parts! Some drips from the brush across the face, I just left in. this is not going to be perfect, but its certainly an interesting look. The second I built up conventional layers of acrylic which did not look as interesting as the second!

What went well?

More experiments and more failures – but I’ve discovered the bleach in black ink effect, and the white ink poured into boundaries of black ink makes great swirled patterns!

What could be improved?

I’ve looked at the black and white paintings of Alli Sharma, her marks seem more natural than mine, more gestural. Bigger brushes help? Also, looked at Luc Tuymens – love his compositions – for instance my cartwheeling girl could have just had part of her instead of including everything.

Exercise 1.1

What fun this exercise was – 20 small paintings on different backgrounds.

Of course, I went for the more conventional white ones to start with, but soon found I had to experiment on enamel and black blotches!

I decided to have a theme of figures and faces – I found a mixture of vintage photos, magazine stars, photos of statues from the V and A, and pictures of teenagers from the 80’s – a great era!

Drawings of vintage photos naturally fitted with the thinned acrylic and watercolour wash backgrounds. These are OK, maybe lacking in 3D with too few tones – too drawn rather than painted? This reminded me of the Laura Lancaster exhibition at the Walsall Art gallery [1].

The thin black acrylic gave better tones here. Taylor Swift got a slightly elongated face and Mick Jagger lips, but I had decided to draw in paint, so mistakes are made and hopefully the image looks fresher.

Watercolour on enamel was a great surprise – to get the paint beading. You can leave it thin like this or add thick streaks which don’t bead.

Watercolour on acrylic beads a little, but not as much as enamel. Marks can be wiped off if quick only. I like the glasses on this face, they look realistic. Its hard to get dark  tones with watercolour on acrylic. The second is acrylic ink on acrylic paint. The one colour was a bit boring and not sure thicker paint bought out the lighter tones enough.

Thinned acrylic on a grey acrylic background for both of these – the acrylic sinks quickly – patience is needed to build up the layers. I like the unusual colours for each face – although purple for Prince is hardly original!

I wondered what to do with my black blotchy background. I added thinned acrylic layers and really tried to push the medium with different marks including dry brush. I’m pleased with the second one as I think I got a loosely painted face out of 3 colours adding black for the eyes and hair. I took on board research on Marlene Dumas who does not overpaint. These last two are my favourites – the first face I worked with the blotch, rather than painting over it which gave it a more interesting feel I think.


What worked? I really did try experimenting with different mediums here and trying more unusual composition.

What could be improved? Some look like drawings – for instance the bronze acrylic ink and black ink Boy George. They needed some more colours adding. I need to practice white ink on black backgrounds – that face failed. The thick acrylic punk girl failed because of drawing mistakes and the opaque paint having no depth.



Art Gallery visit; Trent University Fine art degree show

I was excited about this fine art degree show – the last one for this part time course as it is ending after 10 years. The exhibits were by students, alumni and teachers of the course.

There was so much to look at, but I will comment on my favourite 2D work, as this is where I’m at with my course and more relevant to me than the sculpture and video works.


Margie Andrew-Reichelt Untitled

This is a large work that confronts you as you enter the room. It is hung alone so really makes an impact. I felt like those eyes were looking right at me. This person looks a little mischievous or lost. I like it because I empathise straight away with the theme of masks, having just finished that for assignment 5. The way its painted is in parts hyper real – the blood vessels in the eyes, but the mask is quite loose and paint spattery and the hair is just a monocolour. Its quite a dream like work. The composition is simple, no clues in the background here as to whats going on. The colours are realistic and I think its medium is either thinned acrylic or watercolour. Theres use of chiaroscuro. No clue in the title either or any other information for it.


Ute Feinsein Netscape


Ute Feinsein Side Impact

These are two works by the same artist. There was an explanation about the nets representing forces pulling and pushing and the tensions within them, which we can apply to every day life. I was particularly drawn to the first one, its simple but cleverly painted with the eye following the twine back and forth. It makes me feel calm looking at it. The second reminds me of TV pixels. I think the blocks and twine flow together in a way that makes me think of natural and manmade objects interacting. Both are painted in acrylic I think. In the first the colours are harmonious and in second it looks like more, but theres only black, yellow and red. Using the black tones adds to its impact without being jarring.


Nicola Rae Negative no. 31

I like this because the chiaroscuro makes me look at the centre. It looks like roots and soil have been painted by scraping back acrylic paint. Its brave having nearly half the painting black. Some of the edges looks torn off. The composition doesn’t follow the fibonacci classic thirds but maybe that makes it more interesting. This reminds me of Peter Doig’s work in some way.


Chris White Abnegation

Finally quite an odd work. I like looking into this and seeing the strange forms. It looks like these men in vintage clothes have discovered some demonic zoo where breeding experiments have gone wrong! I looks to be worked in coloured pencil and graphite. I did not like the accompanying information by the artist which explained amongst other things, that this is the mute urgent tracings of a nobody pointing at a naked Emperorr and that there is no artist but a fabricator of drawings. This seems like pretentious ramblings to me and took away from the drawings, a shame.