So with a new module came a new tutor in the form of Rob G Fresson. He introduced us to a personal way of working, which involves creating images through abstract compositions taken from mark making work.
The pressure and pace of commercial work can take it's toll on creativity, originality and experimentation. This process can be used as a way to dispel monotony and rejuvenate that creativity.
The way that this process encourages the use of imagination reminded me of some games that I would play with people when taking a break in art classes. We'd draw a squiggle or line, like a mini automatic drawing and then the other person would have to use the shape to create an image/doodle.
I've really missed the freedoms of the studio we had on the foundation diploma, considering my home studio is also the dining room. It was a relief to be able to be expressive with materials without having to worry about making too much of a mess. I spent my last unit of work in Regent splashing, flicking, washing, dropping, dabbing and all sorts producing textures/backgrounds for work revolving around depression. So I found it really easy to connect with and enjoy this initial workshop.
What I found quite interesting was that my favourite of my sheets was one of the first I created, simply using two colours of ink allowing brush dabs to bleed in small pools of water. The appeal may come from the colours complimenting each other, or the vivid hue produced by the ink, or even the odd mix of uniformity and randomness found in the pattern, I'm not sure.
Using viewfinders of several dimensions, a max of 2 X 2cm, we scanned through these painted pages looking for interesting blobs, dots, lines and marks, producing micro compositions. It was difficult at first to focus on finding random collections of shapes, rather than just looking straightaway for forms which could be translated into images.
To familiarise ourselves with the compositions, we drew them as they were, abstract images.
We then interpreted the compositions to a set of words, which we chose from a list and theme set by Rob.
I suppose this was to get rid of any pre-set ideas people had for the compositions they had chosen and challenged us to interpret them by analysing the marks thoroughly and at different orientations.
5 compositions and 5 words, I didn't get around to doing all 25 thumbnails, but attempted at least one word for each composition. That's an advantage of this process, it's easy to run with just one composition and make something of it before refreshing the process for another image.
From these spooky-word themed thumbnails we then produced more refined images using media of our choice. As I only had my watercolours with me for that session I decided to use them.
What I enjoy about watercolours is that I'm not particularly technically competent with them and they produce quite transparent colours, so they encourage me to work over/into the image or utilise the brushes I have to bring in different textures.
In my thumbnails I found myself following a similarly morbid theme of skulls and corpses and so wanted to move away form that, with my final composition I decided to go with the word putrid and worked the word into the foreground of the image by including some manky looking mushrooms.
The theme of the picture came from two dots, which to me immediately evoked a balloon and it's basket. I decided to try and be faithful with the colour scheme of the composition, because I found the complimentary colours to be effective and thought that to distance the image from it's influence would be a bit demeaning.
I had a bit of a hiccup when it came to drawing in the birds, the top left of the cluster is a bit messy and not spaced out enough in my opinion, but I may come back to it to amend it. I decided to use subtle changes in the thickness of line to give a sense of distance, leaving the cloud without any line as I thought that the marks made suitable and effective line on their own.
Again rather than seeing a swarm in the composition, I saw a person at a cave entrance and decided to work the swarm into the image in the form of bats.The sun and two mountains also came from the original composition. I decided to break up the large amount of one colour by producing a multi-layered landscape, influenced by the South-West/Scottish countryside.