In conclusion to this section of my first ever, very basic blog, I’m going to try to put into words some kind of evaluation of my first term at York College. I have throughout tried to self critique my progress by recording and blogging even the mistakes I have made along the way.
I have enjoyed each and every part of the course so far, in spite of me not quite reaching my full potential in some of the areas.
Firstly, when I enrolled I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I came back to college because it’s something that I have always felt I should have pursued over 20 years ago.
I mentioned in the introduction of this blog that I was a little blown away by the fast pace and versatility of the foundation course. It didn’t only feel
different because of the massive ‘gap’ in my learning before picking it back up. It’s also a completely different style of learning too and as I said, initially it was daunting but that actually turned out to be the best element for me.
I had loved to sketch and paint. I’ve gifted friends and family with drawings and portraits that I’ve produced because I enjoy getting lost in it. What I really needed though was this. I’m just so glad that I followed that ‘hunch’! My work is far from brilliance but it comes from a need to express something and it’s very much an outlet for me.
Each of the briefs that have been set this term have interested me and I really do think I’ve embraced them fully. Sometimes I’m a little off track because i’ll get something in my head and can’t stop rolling it over and trying to develop and evolve the ideas that hit. Then i’ll look up and think… “Rebekah, this has nothing to do with what you were given! You need to take stock!” – That’s just me and it HAS come from that initial instruction but I can’t always conduct a clear correlation in keeping with my thought process. It’s just in there somewhere, I promise!
The self portrait project we were given was the first time I had ever made something based on myself and I used an old canvas, which I resurfaced and then based the painting on a rough sketch of me sitting in the garden. My daughter had taken pictures of me and I was hiding my face because I had a hangover from the evening before! – On choosing this particular photo, I thought, ‘Perfect! At least i don’t have to draw my face!’.
There is a lot of texture in the painting and it’s not a dead ringer, but I loved mixing the colours and well, it’s my impression of me isn’t it!
I don’t make a habit of using too much colour in my work. I like monotone or sepia at a push. I love natural, neutral and muted tones.
When we came in that first week and Penny gave us all a different artist to use as an influence for the mask project, I was very pleased that i was assigned David Nash. I do like his work and I really like to look at natural and raw materials used in art alongside everyday life. I had literally, that week just placed a piece of raw wood in situ on a wall in my living room and I have pieces like this all around the house. Also anything re-claimed, I love!
My mask was very simple to look at but actually a tricky process to get that curve around the face without looking overly constructed! I am pleased with the outcome and happy with how it looks.
I really enjoyed spending time around the college, both in and out, getting a feel for the place and familiarising myself with this new favourite place of mine. Taking my little bench and making minnie drawings with a close up perspective. It’s a lot different and more energising than just drawing from photos. I was pleased with the work I did for this and I found changing colours up, zooming in and focusing on the less apparent points of objects really interesting. I found that if I tried for accuracy in the initial sketch then it was far easier to then “blow it up”, add depth with colour, twist things around and distort for a lovely and often vibrant effect. There is a lot of beauty in an abstract world when you really look.
The relevance of my outcome excited me too – it really was the first thing to pop into my head and it’s not often I roll with something from the ‘get go’!… and what’s more ‘everyday object’ to us, at the moment, than a face covering? I mean we are currently in the midst of a pandemic and a lot of my work has been done in isolation too!. I’ve created something that not only shows an element of my creative ability but something which is 100% usable! My daughter even wants to wear it!!
Near Mid Socially Distant
I came into college ready to embark on this new project. The weather was foul. Bleak even! Definitely the worst day we’d had this year so far. Cold, rainy and miserable. Unfortunately for us, our fairy god tutors had planned a wonderful bit of field work and a little bit of fresh air was to be had by all! Not the best day to work with black ink and tools that had been put together by ourselves, I thought.
As it happened some of the work I produced that morning really reflected that dreary weather and kind of went hand in hand with the bleeding ink and the dilution of the medium. In Fact it turned out to be one of my favourite briefs. Id never worked with inks before and i feel like ive really fallen for it. I’ve since done a lot more experimentation with it and even done a couple of my own pieces through lockdown!
Back to the evaluation you’re hopefully more interested in though. My preferred piece in this section was the panoramic view over the field to the barn. I threw a little sepia wash in the ‘near’ and I think that counted toward the detail closer to me. I could have done with making the barn a little more vague though, more of a shape in the distance. I’ve learned from it though. And that’s what i’m here to do.
Big Letter Little Letter
A capital letter, a lower case letter, a colour and a bunch of relevant words to choose from. A very random project, I thought at first. Mixing colours was the first task and then creation of a huge design for the classroom wall. This was enjoyable for me … but i really liked doing the 5 photographs. Superimposing ninjas standing in front of my work as it was displayed in the class and giving another piece some comic glasses to rock! Very entertaining and again something i’ve not done before. I think each of the outcomes of this brief went well.
Photo Montage & Fake News Headlines
I wasn’t in love with this brief straight away as i’m not really a fan of this sort of work. I’m a fan of Monty Python though and this subject took me straight back there. When we were given the homework to collect newspaper cuttings I wanted to trip back in time and try to find all of the ones that stayed with me over the years. Unfortunately, due to the world we live in, most of the main headlines over the last thirty years have been devastation, death and doom so i liked the idea of jumbling it all up to create our own headlines and scrambling out a bit of nonsense.
Although i had fun doing this one, it didn’t really fill me with joy. I know that it’s supposed to be a bit slapstick and I get the political reference and the rebellion of the dada movement but…. No. No thank you. Not for me.
I produced a top hat to display my favourite headline and covered it with my other one first all in mono. The main one being on the front in full colour. A tophat was chosen because an elephant donning a tophat was mentioned in the chosen story, obviously.
I think that the best outcome for this brief was the weird video I made of me wearing the hat and a bag for life with my face painted gold, trying to look ‘illicit’ while shimmying about to “read all about it”!! (all in the headline) – horrific! But so much fun to make!
Surface Pattern and Design
This was my favourite outcome! I went a bit maverick with the fluid art medium (because I just found it to be right up my street!) but the process is in there if you really look!
Lino printing was not my favourite at all to begin with because all of my designs were a little bit too intricate and the lines too fine for my inexperienced hands to process.
I put down a few prints with what I had but they were terrible – all bubbly and hard to make out. Also i could only really work with one colour in these, because I had only left myself with fine lines, it looked very …pre-school.
I wasn’t happy and became frustrated so i went back to the drawing board (quite literally!) and chose a more suitable one of my designs. This one being based on the central curve of the number eight (in the collection of numbers i had gathered) and the leaves i had drawn in the ‘Near Mid Socially Distant’, ‘Vertical’ piece. Better!
I have loved working on these wallpaper designs… so much so that i made three not two and three versions of each of the three designs. I also managed to get them all printed on A1 rather than A2, as after a discussion with my tutor, Penny, I decided I wasn’t looking to produce a repeat pattern but rather a mural wall covering option. I think this could be something to sway my specialist subject decision.
ABC Concertina Book
For this brief I chose to go with the ‘Character Study’ theme and quickly produced 20 thumbnails describing a little girl’s day. My page and font will be monotone but fixed with foam tabs and photographed to give a 3D effect on a flat page.
Rather than hand drawn illustration I chose photographs to give an element of colour in a kind of ‘scrap-book’ style. These too to be attached with the foam pads initially then photographed or scanned. Each photo is not in the same context or even sourced from the same area. The ones with an actual girl in them are never the same girl. This is because Ami-Louiz is more of a ‘collective’ character I am using to convey the info. Maybe some of them are actually my line drawings – but a photo of, then fixed in.
The little girls introduction contains the fact that her name begins with a name and ‘A’ and ends with a ‘Z’ee, but worded as if we are speaking of an object (which of course is the book …. Or the alphabet!) Also this ‘introduction’ happens in the midst of the story!
I know. I’m odd. But it’s how I roll!
The scanned images of my pages are then printed with a lovely sheen (like a real life book) then attached to my ‘here is one i made earlier’ concertina, giving the pages a super thick feel – but this is kind of fitting because lots of ABC books are in fact printed on card. Winner winner chicken dinner!
The cover could have been better. If I had more time that would have been the case.
The book doesn’t make perfect sense or even rhyme on some pages where some of them have more of a flow. But that’s simply because of three things.
- It was written in less than a day.
- I’m not a children’s book writer.
- I’m not all that clever.