Reflection on Assignment 3

I found a greater sense of awareness of the marks I was making and how they relate to the subject.   In particular drawing and painting my portrait blind helped me start to rethink my mark making and how the movement and pressure relates to my sense of touch.   For example feeling the shape and hardness around the eye compared to the eye lashes leads came out as putting pressure with a sharp movement around the eye socket and delicate lighter brushed marks around the eye.   These differences can be more pronounced than when I look at them because I’m so used to drawing what I see.

Exploring different paper surfaces enabled me to show more contrast with more paint absorbed into the paper versus less absorbed leading to blurring and a spongy effect.   This led me to select the paper knowing I needed a darker saturated look or one with blurring together with sharper marks.   I would have liked to have tried more variety of surfaces in printing had there been more time to source and try out.   The choice of paper coupled with more or less solvent has enabled me to produce sharp brushed marks compared to softer blurred marks.

Removing paint was a big part of making the marks and creating definition.  Oil is relatively easy to remove from or move on glass and finding appropriate tools to use during the exercises really helped.   Using tissue to remove the feeding baby profile proved to be effective at absorbing the paint and creating a unique profile.

The size A5 of the print is small but surprisingly I didn’t feel the need to go bigger in order to focus on the technique.  I think this encouraged me to be more efficient with marks.

Theres a sense of wanting to create something which is not your normal portrait especially when seeing work from artists like Yuko Nasu (Nasu, s.d) and having read Emily Balls book about portrait painting.  However developing this into something which works in printing and compared to doing something more obvious visually is difficult and must take time.   I do feel I was able to apply relevant marks and emphasis in each print to achieve some of the strengths I set out at the beginning.  For example the emphasis on the mouth with a pull effect helped reinforce the talking moment.

Displaying the prints with space in-between improves the ability to take in the each portrait better than if they were displayed without space in-between.

Its interesting that this time I found ink to be less useful compared to charcoal or acrylic and use of fingers when creating the portraits.   This maybe a result of the blind exercises opening up new possibilities and a greater awareness of my face.   This is pushing me to look for and try things to achieve different emphases such as sharper bony parts of my face and how tight the skin feels.   Obviously using touch is something new and I’d like to explore this further.   I see it as a form of direct observation but I need to relearn how to interpret into marks.

There has been an element of creativity out of drawing and redrawing my portrait through the drawing from photos to adding what I find through touch to painting and removing paint on glass, each time I’m slightly altering the image.   This reminding me of the exercises from Emily Ball’s book and how this process can lead to very different results.  This was most evident in the feeding portrait where I couldn’t see the image I was copying.

I realised the potential for using a piece of rug left under the printing paper to create the mouth and surrounding skin by how it appeared and how I felt my mouth in such a position.  I also liked that the print would be less predictable in terms of how the marks would mix.

Spending time to look at artists such as Annie Kevans (Kevans, 2006) helped me to focus efforts on simplifying portraits down with minimal marks.   It opens me up to trying things I like in different contexts even though it looks like it might not work such as using Kim Baker’s approach to painting large bright marks on dark backgrounds.   I often find I think too much and that when I try to paint more it leads to more insight.   Kevans portrait composition also influenced me to keep a similar head and shoulder frame.   Also the way she displayed the work compared to other artists helped me see how to give the viewer more space to see each portrait  and as a series.

Emily balls book (Ball, 2014) influence on mark making and trying to look at my face differently from touch and seeing different angles.

References

Baker, Kim. (2017) Floral Landscape. At: http://www.kimbaker.co.uk/portfolio.php Accessed on:24/8/17

Ball, Emily (2014) Drawing and Painting People. Marlborough: The Crowood Press Ltd.

Kevans, Annie. (2006) Shakira. At: http://www.anniekevans.com/girls?lightbox=dataItem-ijyuviy3 Accessed on:24/8/17

Saatchi Art. (s.d) 0108 Painting by Yuko Nasu.At:https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-0108/25573/1676080/view  Accessed on:24/8/17

Author: Paul Hunter

A self-taught British artist who paints landscapes using mixed media. I'm currently exploring life in Singapore through paint.

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