Well, I had a go at a bigger watercolour on stretched tracing paper. It is not easy to build up dark areas of pigment, possibly because the bigger paper holds so much water.
I decide to let the paper dry and then re-work it to add more pigment. I did add masking fluid before I started, and rubbed it off when the paper dried, intending to have very light coloured patches as well as very dark ones.
Good news: the pigment soaks into the paper surface AND the masking fluid does not attach to the paint, so it comes off as I planned – here’s a video:-
Bad news: the paper buckles like crazy while it’s wet, but recovers perfect sleek ripple-freedom once it dries. I did think bigger paper would be more likely to suffer damage. This is disappointing, but might happen after another application of wet pigment.
Meanwhile I’ve taken part in a very interesting group crit, and had more tutorials, so am awash with feedback and stimulation!
Although the way I’ve displayed my work in my space is chaotic, the pieces do convey a sense of multiple narratives, and invoke a positive emotional response in some viewers. These discussions have also given me confidence that I might be working at an idea that is interesting to others.
My tutor Robin Warnes suggested I listen to Brian Eno’s John Peel lecture on BBC Radio 6 (sadly the link is expired). It was fantastic! Eno explains vividly the purpose he believes art serves: “culture as a sort of collective ritual … This huge, fantastic conversation which we call culture… which somehow keeps us coherent” and able to understand life better. This is the core of the experience of group viewings of something as mundane as my collection of ciné films. The traces of excessive viewing or stories edited out that I am investigating are actually records, indices, of different “conversations” over time and space. Eno also calls these events “synchronising”
Another tutor, Sarah Jacques, reminded me of the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon, who has played with found and mirrored images (like my slideshow), but who made one of my favourite pieces at the National Galleries of Scotland’s Modern One. List of Names (Random) 1990-ongoing fills the walls of a big stairwell at this gallery, as if it is significant, but everyday. It looks like a memorial, or roll of honour, but because of its location, you can pass the whole thing, but not see it all together.
Gordon is quoted by the gallery saying of this work, “It was an accurate and honest statement but it was full of mistakes (like forgetting the names of some friends), so there were some embarrassing elements in the work, but that all seemed to be quite close to the truth of how our head functions anyway. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
When I look at this piece, I’m almost overwhelmed by both the tide of relationships recorded by the list AND all its omissions and errors, including the people he hasn’t met yet. I love it, and Sarah’s reminder of the artist has taken me back to a work that is dealing with the madness and irresistibility of our brains’ lust to make sense of the random stuff of living. I’m looking at that too by playing with the ‘lost’ and ‘damaged’ ciné films.