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I visited today the Potteries museum to see the space in which Sam and I would be exhibiting as part of The Artist and the City exhibition.  We also had the opportunity to visit the museum stores where ‘The Pit’ is currently being stored. It is one thing to see a painting on a computer screen and quite another to see the real thing. I am a little in awe at the moment as I need to have a finished painting by the 5th of January but I know I have interesting photos already from Middleport Pottery so it will happen. I just need to think very clearly about my intentions and how I can execute them.

I have started to clear out my darkroom studio space and bring my work out for presentation to the exhibition area. I have a large wall area to fill and am fully aware that presentation of the paintings in a ‘white cube’ environment will improve the results.  I think I have my layout now and  I will complete this on monday.   Then I can concentrate on my plans for the Artist and the City exhibition over the christmas break.

The text paintings I have been talking about a lot are now attached.



This morning I went to visit Middleport Pottery which is a follow up visit from about 18 months ago.  I took my camera to generate ideas for The Artist and The City project, the first meeting at the museum is scheduled for tomorrow so I wanted to have a stronger idea of what I would be painting.

I managed to start talking to a volunteer at Middleport who kindly took me around the site and it was amazing to see how the building has changed from a building site to its present state, it can only get stronger and stronger from here on in.

I managed I hope to get some good shots and I will have a look at these in more detail tomorrow before the meeting but after chatting today and wandering around, I have a lot to think about.

I also popped to woodworking and got my mdf board canvas for resultant painting which needs to be completed and handed in by the 5th of January so in terms of timeframes, I have my work cut out but its a much better start after todays visit.

Then I was back in the studio working on the 6 text paintings. I sanded them down further and then added the spray paint text. Although I have 6 paintings I am thinking ahead as to how they will be presented as I want to showcase these for my hand-in assessment and I am not confident that I should use all 6.

I had a few issues with one of the pieces and as such, it has been overworked on the text and I don’t want to use it as a result. I did try to save it but I am not happy with it.  I guess this is about critical judgement.  The other area that was annoying me was the size of the text.  On the one ‘love is blind’ (which I used as a stand in to replace the stencil that referred to jealousy and I did not want to reference this emotion in 2 of the works) the text is really quite big, and considerably bigger than the other paintings. As such, I don’t think that as a series I should use it. I realise also, that the text works best when it is smaller, letting the ground breath as less is more, just like leaving open areas in a figurative representational painting for balance.

As a stand alone painting, perhaps but not for putting up on the wall.  So I am down to 4 that I am happy to present together as a series. Also, I am considering how to lay these upon the wall.  I have decided after laying them out time and time again to have them in a straight line with a small gap between each, say 2 inches.  This will lead your eye to read them like a newspaper looking for the beginning, middle and end.  So it will add to the narrative whilst also letting them stand on their own.

Another good day in the office.



A really productive day in the studio.  I have been experimenting with the new sander.  After much messing around and wasting sandpaper, and reading instructions I have learnt the best way to get results is not to put pressure on the sander and use circular motions.  To be patient and not expect too much to soon. It is a slow process. I have been testing on the board I was already using as a sample a few weeks ago and I was disappointed with the results then but by having better equipment and knowledge I can already see better results. I need to get more sandpaper already though and test more on the different weights get a more confident feel of what can be done with the different grains.

I have been working on the 6 A3 grounds using this method and building up layer on layer with the acrylic paint and sanding it back as it dries. I have also been spraying it with water to create slippage which was a process which I learnt to great effect last year.  Between these 2 methods and the use of acrylic mediums the ground is getting exciting with what I describe as plate noise coming through.  I am really exciting by these but I know the non painter would only see a messy white ground.

I have also created the stencils for the text on the 6 paintings.  I realised too late that 2 referenced jealousy so I have to take one of these out.  I will use the earlier ‘Love is Blind’ instead as it is the right size.

I also need to consider the presentation of the work for assessment.  I am working in the dark-space with part of the roof removed which is a great large space in which I can make a lot of mess but not great for presenting works.  I am awaiting lecturer response if I can present within the exhibition area. I also need to consider which works I will present as the most valourised.

Really looking forward to getting in the studio tomorrow and moving these forward again.





I have started work on my last series before university hand in next week. I have a series of 6 A3 size mdf hardboard frames which I have made up.  I want to move the work forward again, this time listening to the viewer feedback that the text is the hot area I should be working with. So I will be stripping everything back to its bear essentials and just doing black and white text paintings. I will add a little colour here and there to make the work sing and enrich the painterly surface so ideally the ground needs to be really exciting and the text fit into the picture plane.  So that is my challenge, I have bought a sander which comes with 3 different levels of sand paper so tomorrow is all about experimentation as to depths of sandpaper results and working back into the painting, building up layer and layer upon each process.

The photo about is just the text printed and laid out over the frames.  What is interesting is that these can be read as a whole narrative or singularly. This will lead to potential playfulness with their presentation.   Depending on the positioning it will lead to a different narrative.

We had our group student lead crits today about hand-in and positioning of work.  As I have been working in the darkroom the works for assessment would not be presented in their best way so I need to see what I can get when the spaces are given out. It is good to think about this now and just present the best of the work from this semester.

I should also mention the 6 strap lines I have chosen. Its a thin line between story telling, satire and cheese. So it was challenging to chose the right headlines. I want them to be intriguing, open and self empowering.  In the end I decided it really didn’t matter that much so I got a good mix of content. Also testing short text statements and longer ones. I will see what is more effective in the finished works.



I insisted on finishing this one before moving onto the smaller text only paintings. I had this one up as a mock up using photocopied images and text for a while.  I wanted to push a few of the ideas I had from the ‘get your coat’ image and work through some issues.

The figure was to be black and white to use the language from magazines but I changed the lips to red to add to the sexual nature of the imagery.

If I felt that ‘get your coat’ had its limitations this is a move to address some of these. To move away from the siliceous and have more political intention behind the work as the last one I felt did not really address the issues I was hoping to deal with.

By having the face staring out at you, rendered in paint, the eyes become challenging as they stare out at you.

The message is reinforced this time by adding the #heforshe campaign as per my earlier research in the Elle magazine with Emily Watson.  I want to make it relevant and political now.  I feel I have struck a better balance this time.   But again the old question, does it need the face at all?  My next set of works will address this.