Field projects overview

Over the field module ‘things behind the sun’, we visited three different places, these included; Pembrokeshire which was filled with beautiful landscape that I adored and which inspired by Subject module, Neath Valley which was full of nature and waterfalls and Port Talbot which had the most influence over my work within Field. The hard machinery and industrialisation contrasting to the natural lines of the beach, sea and rock formations inspired to look at human involvement in nature and the effects that has on landscapes. I began by monoprinting, basing textures of nature on my previous 100 images from Pembrokeshire. However, because I did not feel as though I could actually represent nature without using it itself, I began experimenting with using wood and the textures it naturally has. The more I worked with wood, the further I drifted from print and began experimenting with sculptural art work after being inspired by Betty Mcgeehan. I found this very interesting as I am a painter and haven’t worked as a sculptor before. Because of this, I was able to experiment in different ways and expand on this skill, which I wouldn’t have done if I had not been doing this module. I would like to continue to look into wood work as I develop my work as I find it a very interesting material to work with. On the wood that I had required, I started to experiment with how to create man-made textures to create contrast, such as sawing into the wood and burning it while focusing on my thoughts of industrialisation and deforestation, which I believe are key examples of humans influence over nature. The burning and wooden logs represent deforestation, where the sawed lines embody industrialisation. All of these marks contrast greatly to the natural marks and curves of the wood. Putting all of the wood together, along with the contrasting man-made textures I have placed into the wood using assorted tools, I believe that it represents deforestation as the wood takes the form of cut down trees. This lead me to build a tree out of cut up logs to represent how once we destroy nature, there is no bringing it back. I wanted to show the natural patterns within the wood, so sanded down the hard exterior to reveal the smooth natural marks from the wood. I then stacked the logs together creating the trunk of the tree. The fact that the logs don’t fit together only supports the idea behind the sculpture further, almost like a jigsaw puzzle of a forest landscape, highlighting the idea that the damage we cause to nature and landscapes is irreversible.

For my second field module, I visited Morocco over the course of a week. I had already been to Morocco a few months before this trip during Ramadan and I know quite a lot about the culture and religion of the people in Morocco, from the history of the medina and how tourism is a large aspect of their lives. Because my previous visit was during Ramadan, I already had an interest in the Muslim religion and the culture of Muslim people due to the strict rules within the Quran, my interest in this only increased with my second visit. I know that material is very important in Morocco, especially Pashmina and leather, however, I do not agree with the use of leather due to personal beliefs and wanted to avoid things like leather making and activities that involve the exploitation of animals such as camel riding. Due to being a fine artist who specialises in painting landscapes, I am particularly interested in nature and the nature within in Morocco particularly appealed to me. The small sections of tranquillity within the busy city were beautiful and were respected widely among the people. These small gardens as well as a trip up the Atlas mountains inspired me to look at nature within the Muslim culture in more detail and adapt it into my work. After my trip to Morocco I came away with a stronger appreciation for the Muslim religion. I think this is due to seeing  the amount of people going to the Mosques and respecting the environment even when not in the holy month of Ramadan. I paid particular interest in the Arabic language. This started with a visit to the synagogue where I was able to look through the old Hebrew books full of beautiful patterns. I am also fascinated with the idea that they read from right to left unlike in English. However, there is a very little Jewish community in Morocco, so I began paying more attention to the Arabic language rather than Hebrew. It is this that my project was based on, using the Quran as a key aspect to represent the religion. The Arabic language is made up of beautiful patterns, with dashes and dots used to express accents. Putting that with the Quran, which I find beautiful in itself, represents what I find Morocco to be, using stitch to represent the material aspect of Morocco. This is very different to my usual work but I feel that it accurately describes how I felt about Morocco. I chose white fabric for multiple reasons, as it symbolizes purity and peace – often worn when attending Friday prayers. It is also worn when performing sacred rites of pilgrimage and is what the Umayyads chose to wear for their battle standards when they fought the Abbassid during the Caliphate period, and it has appeared on many Islamic flags since

 

These field modules, although very different, link to each other as they both contain elements of landscape and nature, however they have very different approaches to work. Wood work and sculpting is a very heavy and bulkier task, whereas stitching is a very delicate technique, especially when it also includes the Arabic language which is already very intricate. However, it can be considered that since my focus within the woodwork is the original textures and patterns found in the trees, both projects focus on the intricate behaviours of both nature and beliefs.

I have learnt a lot from these modules, and how to approach things differently. Wood work and textiles are not my usual area of work and I learnt many new skills that I can adapt into my future studio practice, such as sculpting, which is a strong aspect of art work when looking at landscapes and natural surroundings, but also how to create small details in a medium other than paint, which can also be adapted into paintings onto multiple materials.

Both projects had some sort of influence on my subject work, (mainly ‘things behind the sun’), due to them both involving elements of being outside completely immersed in my surroundings. It was also where I originally began drawing and painting outdoors using the 100 small images, and what originally inspired me to base my subject work on my travel experiences. I feel like creating art work while experiencing the subject in question, gives a more accurate representation of the feelings and atmosphere. Whereas creating from memory or photos, gives a more literal representation, which was not what I was aiming for.

It was in these projects, that I began to realise my passion for nature. The piece of tranquillity and wilderness away from human civilisation, which is what both projects ended up being about, along with my subject work, where my main focus was to get the viewer to understand and feel the same sense of wonder and peacefulness I experience when surrounded by a natural landscape. However, my field projects took a more political meaning, looking at the effects humans have on the environment or looking into the Muslim belief system, where my subject work was more personal.

Sunrise over the mountains

IMG_6732.JPG

 

This is inspired by more than one trip I had been on. It began based on my visit to Snowdonia where I spent a night sleeping on a park bench and woke up to a beautiful sunset while surrounded by mountains. This was another key moment where I felt small when compared to the rest of the world and wanted to show this in a painting. However, shortly after this trip, I was on a plane to Luxembourg as the sun was setting and from my window I could see a whole range of colours, changing drastically from each direction. I wanted to try and portray the colour changes in this painting, where it goes from blue to pink to yellow very quickly. Again, at this point, I felt tiny compared to my surroundings and completely in awe at the sight in front of me. Using these two trips, I wanted to portray my emotions in one painting, so that when the viewer looks at it, they too feel tiny and in awe at the surroundings and the colours around them.

Using techniques picked up from creating my other paintings, such as wide brush strokes with full arm movements, and splashes of colour to represent the mismatch of memories rather than a photographic painting, I feel as though I have captured the emotion of being completely immersed in a sky of colour, similar to the feelings I had over the course of these trips, sharing with the viewer what it feels like to be spatially aware of the surroundings and the small space we occupy in this world.

I have painted this purely based on memory with no photo reference, because of this, I cannot be certain of the placement of mountains or where they meet the sky. (This, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time). With this factor, and the feeling of the sky washing over me, I feel that having the colours within the painting blur in together diagonally, is a more accurate presentation of my experience on this particular trip.

Morocco final piece

 

 

 

The Arabic language is made up of beautiful patterns, with dashes and dots used to express accents. Putting that with the Quran, which I find beautiful in itself, represents what I find Morocco to be, using stitch to represent the material aspect of Morocco. This is very different to my usual work but I feel that it accurately describes how I felt about Morocco. I chose white fabric for multiple reasons, as it symbolizes purity and peace – often worn when attending Friday prayers. It is also worn when performing sacred rites of pilgrimage and is what the Umayyads chose to wear for their battle standards when they fought the Abbassid during the Caliphate period, and it has appeared on many Islamic flags since. I have then turned it into a cushion to lift the piece from the ground, much like the Quran, to show respect for the religion.

Painting outside

I took a canvas board into the woods with me along with some oil paints and a pallet knife. The aim of this was so to be completely immersed in the landscape and to paint while I had the feeling of being small and part of the landscape. However, painting on such as large scale outdoors and with oil paint has many disadvantages such as transporting the painting. I struggled to manoeuvre the canvas board, and consequently dropped the painting into a pile of leaves. I also struggled with the strong wind blowing the board, and people passing by, particularly with dogs (not on a leash) that would interrupt me. Although, there are a number of benefits to painting outside, I do not feel as though this was successful and I would like to look at ways that I can portray how I feel while travelling, without bringing my oil paints outside.

18836425_10203054050867757_659634909_o

Posts for formative assessment

Documentation:

  1. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/cachoeira-de-afonso-e-f-shute/
  2. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/painting-from-prints/
    https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/material-project-week-3/
  3. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/katherina-grosse/
  4. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/pembrokeshire/
  5. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/zine-project-photocopier/

Contextualisation:

  1. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/portable-art-work/
  2. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/artists-that-link-with-e-f-shute/
    https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/sam-douglas/
  3. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/framing-the-landscape-jons-lecture/
  4. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/key-concept-site-specific-art/
  5. https://alannah3012l5.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/zines-and-artists/

Rainforest oil painting

 

I began by painting the rain forest in detail, each tree and rock clearly distinguishable against one another.

However, after my collage that I made with the photocopier within the Zine project, I wanted to break it up to represent my memory of the landscape, so I began applying the paint with a pallet knife, making certain areas a singular block colour and blurring out edges so it becomes difficult to tell where the trees/rocks begin and where they end. The bridge remains clear as it is one of my strongest memories in this place, and he splashes of blue across dotted around the whole canvas represent the blue Morpho Peleides butterfly that I fell in love with as I watched them fly around the trees and waterfalls.

To keep with the theme of my previous paintings, I have painted a small figure on the bridge, which is a strong memory I have, yet the features, sex, or height of the person is forgotten.

I particularly like the close ups of this image, the oil paint is applied on thickly and in a way, each close up seems like a mini abstract landscape all in itself.

Zine Project – photocopier

Continuing the Zine Project with James, we began looking at the photocopier and how we can use it in creating art work. Since I’m working on a large scale within my subject work, I was particularly interested in the poster option on the photocopier, able to turn an A4 painting into a large image using 16 A4 sheets.

I chose an A4 painting I made based on the rainforest in Brazil, however, I struggled with the photocopier commands to begin with and printed out 5 sheets of parts of my painting, just slightly bigger, which is not what I intended so I tried again, and succeeded in creating a 16 A4 sheets poster.

When back in my studio, I began laying it out to create the image, but I was fascinated with my failed first attempts and started to mess around with trying to fit them into the larger image, thus creating a slightly collaged and broken up landscape which I found to be more suited to my memory of the rain forest.

This has impacted my subject work as I now want to begin looking at breaking up my paintings of landscapes to represent my memory of places I have visited, where some parts are broken up and blurry because I don’t remember them very well, or maybe not at all, and other parts completely clear as they stood out to me more.

17357420_10202741356610596_1717246058_o.jpg