Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Studio

I've just finished a painting unit in the degree I'm doing and I thought I'd show you the final exercise. It was about transformation of a space that we spend a lot of time in. I chose my studio as my subject. I started work in my journal. First I had individual photos of areas of it and journaled fairly usually about them. Then I decided to string the photos together, an 'analogue stitch' if you like.

Then I did drawings, sitting in the middle of the room on my swivel chair. After looking at them a while I decided to 'stitch' them together too.
I still didn't know what I would do, but I worked on each drawing individually, abstracting the main horizontal and vertical lines and creating shapes. I had an idea that I wanted the whole thing to have gentle greys with small areas of high colour, a visual symbol for how most of the work I do in my studio is fairly ordinary but at times something good is completed or a surprise occurs. I wanted these to be represented by intense colour but there to be few of them. After painting these new abstract sketches I found my pale colours were really quite intense anyway. I would need to go paler. Just for fun and to keep the whole process going I strung these larger works together too.

The final painting is 40" x 30" and titled The Studio. I challenged myself further by not using a brush, well not after the first white wash layer that knocked back my line drawing. I looked at each of the painted studies in turn and drew directly onto the canvas, adding the sections of each study that were the most successful. I didn't add them in visual order, sometimes working backwards and sometimes rotating the canvas. I kept looking at the work as a whole and trying to get it all to marry.

I used woolen blanket, sponge, glue spatula, palette knife and sandpaper to apply the paint. When I tried to add the intense colours some of the areas 'worked' and some didn't and needed to be painted over. They don't stand out now but they are there. This painting taught me something about what's important. It isn't those intense coloured 'spots' of creation, but it is the ordinary work that achieves nothing more than itself that is most important to me. I have tended to focus on my occasional 'stars', their colours can be distracting, but ultimately it is the muted but colourful greys that fill my day and create their own kind of beauty.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Quite beautiful in its quietness. I love to hear your process in getting to the final piece - and your observation on the 'muted but colourful greys' is a beautiful reflection of life. I wish I could see the painting in person - it suggests your studio is a very grounding place. I am intrigued by the way the middle, bottom section looks perhaps like a reflection of what is behind - not that it is ordered from reality, I know, but the impression adds to the sense of place.