One positive, successful aspect of the work and one negative or problematic aspect for discussion. Anonymously (or intended to be).

Quite a balanced way of providing a platform for discussion – although the tendency to become defensive is surely there. No one knows your work better than you do, and without a little connection to the work it can be difficult to make a more detailed point on others work. Point being, taking the time to actually get interested in the work of others is necessary. Previously I wouldn’t have taken much interest in the work of others – it was just something else in the studio, which I didn’t want to waste my time thinking about. Quite selfish and poorly thought through. Just looking, creating discourse and learning from others is part of what an artistic community can be about – working completely alone is almost possible, but surely not advisable, having some sort of relationship with those around you isn’t just healthy but often fruitful. Even if you don’t like or agree with their strategies, you can take something from the relationships you form around your practice.

A crit should absolutely be a positive experience rather than a shouting down of your ideas and intentions. However, on the whole I felt our group was far too nice. It would have been more useful to have more criticism – but I believe that stems from a lack of knowledge/perhaps interest in each others work. And the intention of not being too personal. I admit I could have prepared better as I knew some of the individuals’ in the group work better than others and this made contributing to the discussion somewhat more difficult on those I had less knowledge of. What it boils down to though is that it is important to make the effort to be involved and make a contribution where you can – like it or not, the decision to participate in a course such as this means you are in a group and part of a community which requires input. I do believe we often think about what we can get out of experiences rather than what we can give. This however seems a bit backhanded as the failure to understand how wider participation can in turn aid your own development is a wasted opportunity.

But – I don’t wish to be negative, and as a starting point this crit format worked well and I do think given another opportunity the discussion would and will become more and more productive and rewarding, not just skimming the surface. On the whole I did get quite a lot out of the day – an opportunity to practice talking about others work and having a real chance to explore other themes which are and are not related to my own practice. Coupled with some pointers for how my own body of work could develop, the day was a success. Last year I wouldn’t have thought spending a whole day in a crit worthwhile, today I do.


Screen printed images – edited sections of photo research

Working to combine painted image with printed image – could this manifest itself in a three dimensional way also? If so, how could that be? I am thinking objects, or shapes which aren’t quite flat. Something more solid perhaps. It’s just that the printed image seems really flat. Which may or may not be an advantage.


This weeks tutorial was particularly helpful – given that I had spent some time before it thinking how I didn’t feel I had too much to say for myself. It is now week 5 in the calendar, so a third into the semester depending on how you look at it. 5 weeks is both a long and a short time but I have to work with what I have, not what I’d like to have.
Looking at what I do have, which is some great screen printed images which I knocked up last week – great to work away in the print workshop on my own, getting some good prints I can then combine with painted image. It seems a bit more real when you have plenty of image stock and things to play with. The guys in the print workshop were really helpful, its a resource I wasn’t so sure about in my undergraduate but it seems like it’s going to be a valuable one this year as I expand my practice.
So, actually there was plenty to discuss and I love the way when you create a dialogue and things just seem to fall into place through the discourse, and the act of working through the ideas and notions in your head make them clearer and more plausible. We discussed and discarded some things I was working on (see previous post/images) which was a relief as there was something not working in them and engaged with these new prints and how they could combine with the more recent painted experiments happening. Good discussion, good things to work on.

Friday’s tour of some of Glasgow’s art venues probably deserves a post of its own, but briefly – GOMA/Trongate/Transmission/Modern Institute/Briggate/Mary Mary/CCA/Glue Factory – did I miss one? Admittedly there is more than one I hadn’t visited before and it’s a reminder that it is important to go and see. There is a lot happening, not just here in Edinburgh but all over Scotland and it is not difficult to get out and see what new things are out there. (And let’s not forget, openings are great social opportunities – caught up/networked quite a bit)
Photos to follow…


Confidence is a tricky thing to measure – it comes and goes sometimes without warning. It’s helpful, often necessary, for some activities.
I enjoyed Monday’s group crit session – a welcoming and mutually respectful environment – what a crit should be.
Building confidence and feeling good about the week ahead – however, doubts re-entering by the end of the week (what is my practice, what am I looking at actually, how is it going to manifest itself?) and then turned around by a good solid few hours working alone on Saturday.
Recently working in an attempt to reduce this up and down pattern through pinpointing doubts and logically looking at the reasons behind these doubts and negative thoughts is helpful but an ongoing process, and perhaps a never concluding one.
Summarising the crit, not just for a record but to solidify ideas and possibilities is, and confidently said:

Exploring possibilities for future direction and development.
Agreeing about aesthetic
Being a bit braver.
Not being so selective with reality.
Including everything, not filtering certain things out.
Not looking back in terms of a painterly approach to the visual aesthetic but forwards.
Creating contrast with the more graphic elements by employing more random, incidental marks to create greater depth and layers within the work.
Researching imagery from social media, a source of banal imagery, real images.
Keeping the sources authentic, a documentation of everyday life. Further exploration of the use of found and real objects within the work: used as a means to contrast with the abstracted forms and graphic representations.
Suggestion of using printed images with appropriated imagery – possibilities of reproduction, also potential for inclusion of video and text.
Using all or some of these devices to take the starting point of the installations to something much further.
Safe to daring, perhaps ugly?