Chasing my Tail – 18 Feb 19

Week three & four, not too unlike week one & two, appear to have merged into each other again. My plan to write weekly blogs as I did in semester one seem to be turning into fortnightly ones. I have really struggled to motivate myself consistently enough to really get going, despite many a plan, idea and the odd breakthrough! I have just been feeling so exhausted, like all the time?! Maybe it’s that I am still recovering from ‘January’ or final year stress, as the reality hits? Maybe it’s physical, like a virus looming or something? I am not sure, but looking into it. Anyway, despite my lack of weekly blog posting, I have been very busy…

First up, the gallery in Machynlleth where I exhibit my work let me know that they were running out of stock, so new work had to be selected and framed up ready for delivery pronto.

New work ready for delivery to Oriel Seren Gallery.
New work ready for delivery to Oriel Seren Gallery.
Little woodcut penguin greeting cards.
Little woodcut penguin greeting cards.

Whilst waiting for my tutorial with CW I realised that I hadn’t really been out with my camera much lately, that I had neglected that side of things due to my other work stresses and obligations, including an ongoing obsession with the wet on wet cyanotype process using found objects etc. So, I am making a concerted effort to try capture what’s going on around me more, to create a body of photographs that can be used in my work.

An old favorite is of course the School of Art building, this was whilst I was waiting for my tutorial;

Back into the swing of it.
Back into the swing of it.

During the periods of, what I am now calling ‘productive procrastination’ I did manage to carve a new little linocut design titled ‘Whippet Love’. I used it as an opportunity to try out Cranfields’ gold relief ink and oh my is it lush! Bit of a faff to clean it but a dream to use. Cranfield website- https://www.cranfield-colours.co.uk/ Although I actually bought mine from a small independent supplier www.handprinted.co.uk Lovely lady running it, fast delivery, personal touch of sweets with your package, nice.

Linocut. WIP
Linocut. WIP
Whippet Love - Linocut
Whippet Love – Linocut. Trying out my new ‘Cranfield’ gold relief ink!

In the studio;

I finally had everything I needed; the raw chemistry, paper, kitchen cupboard items and full sunshine… so the perfect opportunity to have a fun day of cyanotype experimentation, with interesting and pleasing results.

Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun.
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun.
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun with a few traditional mini ones too.

The process involved;

Mixing up the raw chemicals to produce the light sensitive solution, this was then painted onto dry ‘Hahnemuhle’ paper in a circled area, then I sprinkled some; dry coffee granules, dry washing powder, dry bicarb of soda, dry turmeric, dry paprika and a few drops of undiluted white vinegar. Laid down various leaves and feathers etc, covered in cling film and finally clipped on the glass sheet on the top.

They were then put out in full sun for 4hr 15m being checked at one hourly intervals.

The results are in!
The results are in!

What I found interesting about this experiment was how using such fresh chemicals seemed to make a difference on the depth of blues created.. and the lack of ‘run’ when painting onto dry paper rather than pre-soaked. So many variants can make a difference.

All in all an interesting result! I really am happy with the circular imagery, really did feel like I was happily lost in my very own cyanotype universe.

What’s next?

I will continue creating wet on wet cyanotypes mixing things up a little, for example I would like to experiment with diluting the ingredients, seeing what happens there. I also want to try double exposures using both foliage and photographic imagery. I will also explore how to present my work, the space around each one etc. Also consider what I am trying to communicate through these works.

Of course my Art history essay is continuing in the background, albeit slowly.

I seem to be trying to get myself organised whilst running, mostly chasing my tail!! Here’s hoping I catch it soon! 😉

 

Welcome Back – 30 Jan 19

First up, happy new year to you all! How was yours? I had a fairly quiet yet fun Xmas break and New Year.

I managed to get away to visit my friends in a lovely little town called Bosa in Sardinia, Italy for the week of my birthday, which was really needed.

Me in Sardinia 2019
Me in Sardinia 2019

It did however mean that I didn’t manage to get much, if any rehearsing time in for my first ‘Power Point Presentation’ which took place on the 16th Jan!? I arrived back late the evening before, totally wiped out and stressed and my anxiety at full pelt. I booked a massage for the morning of the presentation in the hopes that it may chill me out a bit, not sure it did to be fair. Plus, I had some Bach Flower remedy for anxiety which i was drinking like a fish?! I arrived tired, hungry and highly anxious, and unprepared. I am NOT naturally a public speaker. I did get a reasonable mark though, considering everything.

First lesson of the year; If you are a highly anxious person (or not, actually) make sure you rehearse and prepare notes for your presentation well in advance. 

Also, over the Xmas break I was commissioned to create a portrait of a lovely little pooch. I am not at all confident about a) my drawing skills and b) working on commissions, but after a fair few hours of sketching from the photos provided, I managed to create a lovely charcoal drawing that I was actually quite pleased with. My friend who commissioned it was too.

Commission Charcoal drawing on paper 2019

So, semester two is underway, I am content with my feedback results and even after the very shoddy presentation experience, I feel quite excited about the academic year ahead and my degree show; as well as nervous, obviously (it is a part of my genetic make up I think 😉 ). I do feel that I am more confident to experiment with my ideas and see how they work. I am continuing down the Cyanotype route for my show.

My first wet on wet cyanotype experiment (Pre-washed)

I have started by experimenting with ‘wet on wet’ cyanotypes, mostly using found objects from nature, as well as some basic store room cupboard ingredients such as; turmeric, white vinegar, soap suds etc.

Preparing to put wet on wet cyanotypes out into the sun!

Wet on wet cyanotypes are created as the description would suggest, wet rather than the traditional dry cyanotype method. I basically wet the paper, apply the cyanotype chemicals, sprinkle the various ingredients such as turmeric, soap suds, vinegar etc, I then lay down my plant matter and or feathers etc, cover with cling film and then cover with the glass/perspex sheet and clip shut as usual. These are then placed out in the sun the same as you would with traditional cyanotypes.

Early wet on wet cyanotype experiment results

The work I created shown in this blog were actually done whilst I was snowed in at home, and so the temperatures were often a little below freezing, so I think this may have had some impact on the final images.

Early wet on wet cyanotype experiment results

I am continuing to experiment with the various elements to this kind of process as you will see in future blog posts.

Feather – post experiment – Beauty in itself

“Art is everywhere, and everywhere is art”.

Brandon Boyd

Making time to be in nature is an essential part of my process

What’s next?

Well, I have to start work on my art history essay, which is a huge stress on my dyslexic and anxious mind, despite my keen interest in the subject matter – Photography Begins; European Genius and the Birth of a New Aesthetic. 

I will also be continuing my research into artists that inspire me and who are working with similar themes and processes as me for my Research, Process and Practice dissertation.

Continuing my experiments into the wet on wet cyanotypes and also working with double exposing traditional cyanotypes using photographic images onto the work.

I am also thinking about how best to articulate my work as well as the logistics of exhibiting it at the degree show.

Lots to think about. Lots to do.