It’s 3am and can’t sleep. Mind buzzing with ideas so got up to draw in case I forget on waking. Suddenly after nearly 3 years everything’s starting to make perfect sense. So much to do in just 4 weeks – all that’s left of my MA course.
Quickly sketched out this, my latest idea. I poured mostly blue paint onto a roughly 3 metre by 1.7 metre canvas on the floor the other day. It was intended to be a screen onto which I was planning to project a video film. But this plan was abandoned in favour of using a large TV monitor enabling me to avoid setting up in a dark space. This way I can hang paintings based on stills from the video. See next images – all works in progress
So ? What to do with the huge canvas? This is where my nocturnal idea kicked in. Thinking about my swimmer image which introduces my blog I suddenly decided that I’d create a large swimmers painting onto the big blue canvas and then I can hang that too rather than pin it to the wall or stretch it onto a frame. I think the large paintings will look better floating a few inches from the wall and will have subtle movement to enhance the images. Worth a try anyway. I’ve seen enough images as I swim underwater to remember the lovely fluid shape people make when freed from gravity. These memories plus my ingrained knowledge of the figure in motion drawn endlessly on the recent course at The Royal School of Drawing will be enough to create the scene making sure it doesn’t become too figurative. The painting will be chiefly about movement but with the added interest of being movement in a different element – water. I want to express the ‘otherness’ of the watery environment.
Then there’s this. I keep thinking it’s finished yet every time I go in to the studio space I add a bit more to it. I’m calling it ‘Leap of faith’ because that’s what it was. I had no idea where it would take me – just wanted to paint figures. Then it kind of grew each day and took on a life of it’s own. Deciding how to display it has been worrying me. Then at about 2.30 am I knew. I’m going to suspend it ….somehow? about 6 inches away from the wall and let it flutter gently.It’s on nice thick, strong paper but has distorted a bit with the watery acrylic paint but it should flutter quite well. I think that will increase the sense of movement which is what it’s about mainly. If that works I’ll try to treat the big swimming painting in the same way, although that will be on heavier canvas so we’ll see what happens. Either way I want it to stay as unstretched raw canvas not framed or constricted at all. Decisions, decisions???
Phew…. lots to do. But now I’m off back to bed.
The shoot at Wells over, I now have the task of working out how best to use the footage. My embryonic editing skills are being severely tested but with the help of a technician at UoS I’m getting there. The shot here encapsulates the day for me. Walking across the empty intertidal sandbanks towards an endless blue sky.
I didn’t fully understand why I chose to wear this dress over my swimsuit, but on reflection I think it was prompted by learning about the Haptic a few years ago. That dress held some important memories of walking along beaches in Australia and the Cook Islands back in the 90’s. It was a pivotal time in my life (I was surprised and delighted it still fits!) I’m not a natural hoarder but for some reason I’d kept the dress…..now I know why. It was perfect both emotionally and artistically. Wearing it catapulted me back in time and I felt the euphoria of freedom from my former life all over again as I sank into the water and floated free from the land and events which had made me so sad in a distant part of my life.
The next picture is one of a series of stills taken from the video. I didn’t know how to do this until my tutor Emily Richardson showed me. The stills will be catalysts for abstract paintings which chime with much of my work on movement. The behaviour of the fabric underwater is beautiful and even the colour resonates with something deep inside me. I shall enjoy making a series of oil-paintings using these as a starting-point. I have a vague plan to display them next to a video loop of the underwater footage I shot with my new toy – a GoPro camera which I’m sure will become addictive – great fun to use.
Final preparations are in full swing for the MA assessment and exhibition and it’s becoming totally manic. So much to do and we all feel that suddenly, what I thought, might never happen, things are becoming clearer; links are forming and it’s exciting. I’d like at least another 6 months to achieve the ideas in my head. It’s inevitably the way. Pressure really focuses your ambition.
Follow this link to see more about Simon Faithfull’s work at Wells next the sea . Quite fascinating!
I’m excited to be attempting a video piece to add to my Fine Art MA exhibition. I’m primarily a painter but after an inspiring visit to the Paint Symposium and in particular, a talk by Glenn Brown, I feel inspired to broaden my scope and try new technologies.
Researching Simon Faithfull’s work at Wells next-the-sea was a further spur to my ambition, especially as my friend , Ceri, with whom I completed my BA lives at Wells and is almost as excited as me to help with the filming.
The plan is to shoot masses of footage both above and underwater and then the difficult task of editing will, I hope, result in a short film which I may project onto a very large painting or if it’s good enough, it will be a stand alone addition to my practice.
This photo taken at Richard Long’s exhibition at Houghton Hall is another source of inspiration. I’m looking again at Bill Viola’s work too.
Fingers crossed ….