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By: Suzy Waldron
BA(Hons) Fine Art
# 26 [28 June 2012]
Today is the day that marks the end of my degree: results day! I wasn't expecting to find out while sitting in Wetherspoons waiting for my breakfast to arrive, but nevertheless, I'm pleased with my 2:1. Even better, I got a 1st for my dissertation, which is encouraging as I really would like to explore the writing route alongside my studio practice.
So, it seems this will be my final post for Degrees Unedited- a sad moment! Much as I can't believe how fast the degree show went, it seems impossible that the trials and tribulations of third year have been documented in 26 posts. It has, however, been a thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial experience. I won't bore you with this for too long, but I'd like to thank Richard for all his input and advice, Leo Fitzmaurice for choosing me to win a Bloggers' Reward (it was a big confidence boost and I can't wait to start my residency so I can get stuck into all those art materials), and to everyone that has read and commented. I start my residency in September and look forward to starting a postgrad blog documenting a whole new year of work.
For now, over and out.
# 25 [21 June 2012]
Today is the last day the degree show is up- it's gone so much faster than I anticipated! The last week or so has been so busy, and it's been too long since I last posted.
Anyway, everything seems to have gone smoothly, and now it's just time to take down all the work and wait for our results. I've learnt a lot about how exhibitions work from taking part in this one. DO be very organised and take control of your own work regarding networking and pricing, DON'T take chances when it comes to hanging your work and being sure whether it will stay on the wall or not (thankfully this applies to my friend's work and not mine!).
Though I am proud of the show and really enjoyed the experience of being in it, in some ways it seems anticlimactic. The amount of thought, pressure and preparation that went into the three years of the degree, and especially the past 2 or 3 months, seems so out of proportion with the week that has just whizzed by! It's almost as if we should have all our masses of support work and sketchbooks out to prove to the exhibition visitors that so much more has gone into it than meets the eye.
However, I don't want to end on a negative note. I've drawn a lot of inspiration from the show that I can take onto the next stage- I feel proud of what we've all achieved, as well as prepared and excited about venturing into the world of the postgrad. I can't ask for much more than that!
# 24 [31 May 2012]
I'm the tiredest I've been in a long time, and the phrase "blood, sweat and tears" most definitely applies, but... my show is up!
I won't put any pictures of my space itself up yet, I'll keep you waiting until the exhibition opens (15th June), but I'll give you a sneak peek of the recently-completed and newly-titled Palindrome. Look at that pristine wall!
It's been a stressful hanging week, but nonetheless enjoyable. Things started off well (though I did spend most of Tuesday putting 2500 pieces of velcro on the back of wooden squares for my friend), but it all went a bit pear-shaped when it came to actually hanging the work. Two of the walls were really hard, which made getting nails and screws in very difficult, especially for me and poor Virginia with her recently repaired collarbone. We even cracked one of my mirror paintings trying to hammer a nail in, though I've tried to work it into the composition! In the end though, the boy hanging work in the space next to me came to the rescue, and by the end of the day the paintings were eventually hung.
Today I've been putting the finishing touches to things, making labels and painting the floor. A couple of last-minute things to do tomorrow, and then I'm free to enjoy the very long weekend til all support work is due in on Wednesday... and then I really will be finished!
From what I've seen so far, the show is looking really good. I can't wait to see what everyone's been up to while I've been beavering away at the bottom of the campus.
# 23 [24 May 2012]
Studio time remaining: 1 day
Before I remove the last traces of my presence from my space, it's time for some studio nostalgia.
Things I will miss:
The space itself, which holds so many memories of inspiration, productivity, boredom, excitement, blood, sweat and tears
Seeing the work of people around me evolving
Tutorials with the lovely Virginia
Living just around the corner from the studio
My comfy chair, which is so superior to everyone else's plastic school chairs
Friends leaving crazy notes on paper towels masking-taped to the wall
My little palette table that I can drag around the studio with me
Having a store room in which to shove dormant work/paintings in disgrace
The strange intermittant tooting noises from the docks
Eavesdropping on hilarious conversations
Always having someone whose workspace is messier than mine
Things I will not miss:
Having a very spidery space, and texting friends to come and rescue me from them
Being situated right next to the fire exit where the smokers congregate
The hole in the ceiling above my desk- who knows what horrendous creatures inhabit it!
The Space Junk, a.k.a. the retro, completely pointless heater above my head that occasionally rattles into action and sucks all other sound from the room
Irritating studio neighbours
The black hole which certain materials (most recently my beloved mechanical pencil) mysteriously get sucked into. It seems to have a penchant for red oil paint
Now it's time to turn it into a blank canvas once again. I wonder what adventures the next studio space will bring?
# 22 [17 May 2012]
Countdown to show hanging: 1.5 weeks
At the moment I'm flitting between nervous, excited, and positively terrified! Thankfully I'd say 75% excited.
This time next week I'll be preparing to clear my studio, which will be sad (and challenging- I'm terrified of the amount of spiders I'll have to contend with), but this week there hasn't been much I can report on, other than a very sore hand from the amount of mirror plates I've been screwing onto paintings.
I'm still going with the snowflake painting I've mentioned in previous posts, but will save the pictures for when it's finished- I need to build up an air of mystery! I said I wouldn't start any new work now, but I couldn't resist (see photograph). Hopefully as they're small boards I'll be able to finish them before the end of next week.
So this is more of a checking-in post than one with anything interesting to say. Before I go and rip my hand to shreds some more, good luck to everyone already hanging their shows, and I look forward to seeing the results!
# 21 [10 May 2012]
It's been a bit of a strange week- bank holiday, final tutorial, and lots of tying up loose ends. I'm still working on the painting I mentioned last week. I'm pleased with how it's going but the paint seems to be taking a lot longer to dry than usual, which is frustrating. I just want to get on with it!
As we only have 2 weeks left I don't really want to start any new paintings, so most of the week has been taken up by the more mundane things like screwing mirror plates on, sticking collages in and writing To Do lists. I was given my own studio space as my area for the show, which I was very pleased about.
The tutorial went really well: I had to put a selection of work on the wall that I was considering showing, and have all my support work there for Virginia to look through. She was excited about the new painting and happy with all my support work, and gave me a few pointers on my artist statement and bits and bobs of different paintings. I love the way she describes bits of my work- "splintered islands" and "dinosaur bones" were notable examples! The next time I'll see her is when I'm hanging the work. Now just to work out where and how to hang it...
# 20 [2 May 2012]
This week I bear exciting news... I've been offered a residency! It's in my old foundation course, and I get to do a bit of teaching as well as my own work, which is a dream come true for me. So you can imagine this post being said in a high-pitched giggly voice because I'm so happy. It's such a relief to know what I'll be doing next year, and that it revolves around continuing with my practice.
Ok, back to said work. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to see Trevor Bell's exhibition 'Links' at the Millennium Gallery in St. Ives at the weekend. It was one of those special gallery visits where you're completely absorbed in the paintings, your heart beats faster and you come out in a daze, knowing you've fallen in love with the work! Thus it's been a big source of inspiration for my new paintings.
However, the week didn't get off to a great start- stepping outside my comfort zone meant that I couldn't approach the paintings like I normally would, and so I became scared to make even the slightest alteration to them. The shaped board paintings were the most difficult because I'm so used to thinking about composition in terms of a rectangle; when faced with multiple irregular-shaped surfaces, everything I painted looked overwhelmed.
Thankfully, I'd arranged with my sister and housemate (Lucy and Laura) that we would set out all the work we were considering putting in the degree show, and we would talk about any potential problems or changes we would make. It came to light that most of my work was mid- or small-scale, and that there was only one large-scale painting. This painting is one I really want to include, so we discussed integrating it better by creating a companion for it- similar size and format to balance things out a bit. Then Lucy suggested combining this with the shaped boards, so that the image was played out in positive and negative space across the wall (see picture of how it looks now). This was a lightbulb moment for me- I now have so many more ideas about now to develop this theme, and I'm back to thinking positively about the remaining weeks before the show.
So the moral of this week's post is- when in doubt, get a little help from your friends.
# 19 [26 April 2012]
We're almost at the end of the second week of term (scary- only 4 weeks of working time left!) and as I'd hoped it's good to be making work again.
I've finally finished the first of the mirror diptychs, which I'm quite happy with, though it needs a polish! It's interesting to be introducing new themes into my work.
The mirror idea came from a strange memory I have of being in a mirror maze with my twin sister when we were younger and still wore the same clothes, and not being able to tell which of the hundreds of people reflected all around me were her or my reflection. I liked the idea of looking into this feeling of disorientation, and how our sight can play tricks on us. I've combined this with my drawings based on snowflakes, playing around with symmetry/asymmetry, as in the landscape-format painting I've just started.
Another project that's just begun is having very simple forms cut out of board and stuck directly onto the wall, as shaped paintings. I made a few collages as ideas for these, based on snowflake structures and satellite photographs, and started jigsawing and sanding pieces of board this afternoon. I'm planning to draw into them a bit, but want them to stay quite pure, focusing on form and colour.
I've been looking at Trevor Bell's work again because of his shaped canvases and emphasis on colour. I find his work mesmerising, particularly the ones with retina-melting colour schemes! As I was researching, I found out that he's exhibiting in St. Ives starting tomorrow... so that's my Saturday planned!
# 18 [13 April 2012]
The Easter holidays are drawing to a close and I'm trying to squeeze some more work into the last few days now I'm back in Falmouth... it's proving difficult as I'm veering between laziness and lack of confidence! It's amazing how quickly self-doubt seeps in when you're not in the studio every day making work, but it has been nice to have a break.
Due to lack of space I haven't been painting, but mainly making small-scale drawings/collages like these ones shown. Some of them are based on ideas I had at the end of last term, others on photographs of interesting rocks I took on holiday in North Devon (I am a bit of a geology geek at heart!).
I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio on Monday and back into the swing of things. All I want to do at the moment is curl up in bed with tea, biscuits and iPlayer... but I will NOT let myself do that now, I'm off to make some work!
# 17 [22 March 2012]
It's been a productive if tiring week, finishing off bits and bobs in the studio as well as writing exhibition proposals and filling in lots of forms.
On the plus side, I've completed my cut-board series of paintings, as well as being very nearly there with my larger one, all of which I'm more pleased with than I thought I would be. I can't really put my finger on why that is, but it's nice to come into the studio in the morning and be excited by what you're doing, rather than daunted.
I've also started bringing my ideas about mirrors and symmetry to fruition, though only just. It's interesting painting on mirror because you can also scratch into it, though I am having difficulty finding a secure way of getting them on the wall.
I've made the most of the studios being empty in the first week of the Easter break by moving all my paintings around and connecting them with pins and thread. This was an idea I began to look into a while ago but haven't really had the space to explore while everyone is around and my paintings were still wet. I'm interested in the idea of extending the drawn elements of the work beyond the 2D, and creating a new way of guiding the viewer's eye around the space.
Today is the last day the studios are open, so I'm off back to Torquay tomorrow. I'm planning to do lots of drawing and research in my 2.5 weeks at home, and then come back and have a big burst of painting...
I'm a third year student studying BA(Hons) Fine Art at University College Falmouth. I concentrate mainly on painting and drawing, and am particularly interested in the themes of mapping, geography and spatial perception.