For this assignment I decided to just experiment and not worry so much about the outcome as my tutor suggested in the last feedback. Also, to keep it simple!
I’ve most enjoyed experimenting with enamel on metal – watching it interact and not interfering too much, apart from a little tipping of the surface or using a cocktail stick to mark within it.
Here are a couple of experiments with black and white enamel on copper offcuts. For both I was really just messing around, seeing how it mingled thick, painting with thinners and drawing within it using sticks. The second was more structured, but I liked how the white paint formed patterns within the black enamel of the river just by leaving it alone.
Here are a few more sketches and experiments in enamel, using aluminium plate this time. The aluminium is untreated offcuts, as I feel the cheapness of these allows me some freedom to not produce a finished piece! I felt like I was starting to get to grips with using the enamel loosely, allowing some plate to show through – otherwise why bother using it?
I also tried Schminke aqua bronze and acrylic on aluminium plate for this sunlit tree trunk above. Thinned paint has to built up in layers and over a few hours I think I got an interesting bark effect. However, for assignment 2 I decided enamel really suits metal support better.
I decided to develop the exercises from earlier in this part, where I used subjects I really associate with. From experience these have better outcomes for me than things like cups and plates which bore me even before I’ve started! The medical instruments appealed most, as I use them so much and when I lose one I really feel its absence!
As influences, I have enjoyed looking at the artist Annabel Dover.
Her simple depictions of subjects and putting together of collections has been interesting to look at.
Hervin Anderson’s arrangement at the New Art Exchange exhibition gave me the idea of arranging multiple paintings together. This has much more impact than if it were one painting alone.
Looking at Alex Hanna’s simple compositions has also been influential. The subject occupies a quarter of the support. The tones are very similar between subject and background, but it remains very effective.
Sketching out ideas, I decided to go for only one object each small aluminium panel. I decided that cramming in too many would not add anything, having seen what piling on more stethoscopes in layers had ended up less successful in an earlier exercise.
I had nine small aluminium panels. From earlier experiments on the copper, I decided to paint the backgrounds first with enamel and let that dry as this allowed the paint to do its own thing.
The background paint was very thick, so after a few hours I painted the subjects on it, to give a bit of ‘wet on wet’ look and also this meant I could not fiddle with it – what was painted could not really be changed and mistakes had to be left in. I set up the objects on black card with a bright light to one side. I didn’t have them central, with some having parts coming out of view.
The finished panels. Some worked better than other – I think the glove started to lose its form as I overworked it. Too much paint on the end of the swab meant it bled. The mouthpiece of the inhaler was wrongly drawn so later I corrected it with a cocktail stick. I liked the medicine bottles, needle and stethoscope the best. I kept the colours as realistic as possible.
I tried out a few arrangements, with the final one being my favourite, as I hope the eye goes tot he centre panel and then around the outside. I got my family to guess the objects, they got about half right, which isn’t bad!
Reviewing against assessment criteria
Demonstration of visual skills; These are simple drawings in paint really. But drawing wet in wet does need some confidence. They are not perfect but perhaps the roughness adds to the interest? I liked experimenting with composition of the individual objects -I took a few photos of each before selecting the final one.
Quality of outcome; There is a coherence in this series that there wasn’t for assignment 1. Can the viewer guess what each subject is, maybe not – does that mean they’ll look longer at it, or just give up! In particular the ear protectors for my thermometer in the last panel are hard to guess, but they are interesting shapes, like two little hats. The glove got overworked and I wish I’d left it earlier, I think that lost its freshness and form
Demonstration of creativity; I’ve never liked painting still life, so to find a collection that I found personally interesting spurred me into thinking more creatively. I think this is a better outcome than if I’d just painted the whole lot jumbled together. This felt more creative than satisfying than painting these objects together. Enamel on metal is completely new to me, and I’m really hooked. The glossy finish, and the way it interacts makes for an interesting outcome. Painting with oils after this seemed almost too easy!
Context;reflection; Finding the British Contemporary Painters  was great inspiration. I bought a few catalogues and found Alex Hanna and Annabel Dover in there, amongst others. In the last year, I feel I’m starting to get out of the rut of painting familiar subjects like landscapes, and going for things I know about and care about. Being a doctor is still a big part of my life, whether I like it or not sometimes, and using this experience [and of the experiences of patients I am privileged to witness] is certainly helping me to find my voice.