Making my brushwork more evident seems to be important to me through this and the previous assignment. Whilst I spent most of my time practicing with enamels on aluminium I ended up hardly using them in the final painting, partly because it did not show brushwork strongly. It was the research into Claire Woods which brought me back to showing brushwork and working with oils instead. I was hoping enamels would have an element of chance where the paint would still move and mix but this did not have sufficient impact. Maybe I could have continued with enamels following a more natural style similar to those in my earlier research and used work by Geraldine Swayne as an influence.
I spent time sketching to see the overall composition and the form of the key elements. I’m not convinced the sketching helped me arrive at an effective composition however I do think it helped me see the form and structure of the utensils. The composition immediately draws you into the spoon then the background takes you around in a clockwise motion. Out of the tools I used to sketch (charcoal, pen, pencil, ink) ink and brush helped me quickly capture and get a feel for the composition.
I feel more confident now with aluminium and I like its’ qualities such as light reflection and ease of applying or removing paint. There is a feeling of greater potential with more to learn and I’m excited about using aluminium again.
The background shadows appear as strong as the objects casting them which adds an unintended conflict. The painting of the spoon and chopsticks was slightly too controlled. I think the way I painted the background is starting to reflect my personal voice because it captured a sense of energy and it felt good whilst painting. Part of the difficulty has been with me focussing more on the technical and visual aspects throughout the work rather than on a message. Whilst I have thought about a message (fitting into a different culture) represented by the choice and expression of utensils I’ve often used intuition or a feeling of what to paint and how. Having read Contemporary Drawing by M Davidson about intent I realise there is a lot to consider and that there is a lot going on when I paint and much of this is unconscious or perhaps slightly hidden from me. Looking at this intent maybe useful moving forward both for researching artists and also my own work.
I have experimented with different content (fork spoon and chopstick) and arrangements to understand more about what I wanted to show. Experimentation also included materials and I particularly liked the effect of ink and enamel on aluminium and how transparent gesso changed the aluminium to something more like canvas which is more absorbent. I would have liked to have used some of this experimentation such as the gesso but following some small tests I felt each was taking away rather than adding to the painting. This gave me a feeling I was stumbling a bit with what to do next.
Clare Woods approach with progressively thinner, more controlled painted marks appealed and formed my approach. Whilst painting the background I felt the need to form a spiral to draw focus on the spoon and this fitting naturally with the shadow shapes. I remember seeing this work well in many of Turners paintings of storms. Another influence has been in the time aspect where I’ve broken the flow of thoughts and painting from the initial experimentation to the final painting and preparation by 10 months. This may partly explain the change in direction as well as the later research into Clare Woods and Geraldine Swayne.
M Davidson (2011) Contemporary Drawing: Key concepts and techniques.