Part 1. Exercise 1


Challenge – painting so small – and yet it really liberated me.  I could spend an hour on a piece and I could complete it.  More of a satisfying experience that way. Learnt more, and at a greater pace as not spending lots of time on each piece before I could move on.

Realised so much about the nature of how I might edit out and be more minimal.

Materials – Experimenting with the different materials freed me to experiment with my ideas too.  Each new piece was a fresh challenge to try and create a new feeling or response to the image. I tried to create as many different styles and uses of materials as possible to give me plenty of information going forward.

What materials did I like – using the watered down backgrounds, and particularly using ink on wet for the detail.  Using gouache was new for me and I particularly like the flat matt nature of the paint, it seems to give better coverage than acrylic.

What didn’t I like – painting on the varnish background was trickier than I’d imagined – I have concerns as to how to protect the top layer of paint?  Need to research this – would it be to paint a matt varnish over the gouache top layer? I also feel the impact of the series of images is lessened because of having three pieces painted in landscape.  If I did this project again I would ensure there was uniformity to the direction of the images to enable me to create a unified group.

Using a minimal palette was also inspiring – only allowing myself one colour with black/white/grey created some powerful results.

What would I do differently with this project? Nothing at this point as I have pushed myself to interpret the images in as contemporary way as possible, and I have experimented quite considerably with my use and mix of materials and also with my painterly mark making.

What would I like to work with further?  Ink/gouache/limited palette.

How could I develop this further?  Starting to be more abstract, more daring with my interpretation of the images. I think this would create a more dynamic series of images than I have created.  It would be interesting to see the exact same images reproduced but with this aim in mind.

There is energy in my depiction and style changes with the pieces below, however, I can see I could have challenged the ‘copying’ element more – taking more ownership of creating a diverse response.



Image 1


Background – indian ink wash

Detail – acrylic

No particular style in mind – just trying to get used to painting again and thinking about interesting composition

Image 2


Background – thin black acrylic wash

Detail – gouache and acrylic

started off very stylised fashion illustration but couldn’t get it right – looked too naive.  Had been looking at @buttonfruit, @unskilledworker and @nicasion_torres on Instagram – some of the top 5 fashion illustrators chosen by iD magazine

Image 3


Background – thin watered down indian ink splodges

detail – acrylic bacground, gouache for face/head/hand.

Looked at the ‘Fame’ series of work by Robert Priseman – Reference to religious-style paintings – the faces are detailed but the eyes lifeless


Image 4


Background – watered down grey gouache

Detail – sprayed background with water then worked with neat indian ink.  When dry added more gouache detail on dress.

Inspired by Dumas – particularly the ‘Rejects’ series. I wanted to represent the women as dolls because of the stylised way they are depicted.

Image 5


Background – white acrylic

Detail – watered down gouache

Looked at the work of Annie Kevans – this was my first attempt at being sparing with my mark making and using thin paint.  It showed me how hard I find it to be economical with my marks – especially when I compare it to image 20 which I was able to do having reached an understanding of editing my marks during the process of producing the previous 19.

Image 6

Ex1(1)11 Ex1(1)1)

Background – white acrylic

Detail – different strengths of indian ink – used wet brushes and tissue to wipe away where necessary


Image 7


Background – thin grey gouache

Detail – gouache then ink detail over the gouache before it had dried.

Was thinking of Chantal Joffe’s work for this – as with my attempts to work in a more edited, minimal style (e.g. Annie Kevans/Cathy Lomas) this one hasn’t worked either.  I did manage to keep any linear work to a minimum and I was thinking of the colour palette of Luc Tuymans for this – it was interesting to experience how much could be achieved with such a limited palette.


Image 8


Background – black gouache then gloss varnish

Detail – gouache

Concentrated on making informed choices with this – guessing how the materials would work on the surface of the varnish.

Image 9


background – grey acrylic

detail – yellow ochre and white gouache


Image 10


Background – watered down ink splats

foreground – ink and gouache

Idea for the black matt figure came from looking at the work of Kerry James Marshall – her figures are so intensely black and I liked the juxtaposition here between that and the fluffy white dress.

Image 11


Background – thin acrylic wash, then varnished

detail – gouache

contrast between the shiny varnish with the painterly background and the flat gouache.  Tried to create this in the style of a lino print. Also wanted to leave the background ambiguous – the shiny surface is meant to indicate the water but her position could also mean she is falling rather than floating.

Image 12


Background – grey acrylic

Detail – gouache and also indian ink for hair – drew the hair in with water to control the ink and then put the ink on and let it move by itself within the watered area.

Another attempt at minimising my mark making and adding areas of flat colour – trying to understand the work of Chantal Joffe through my practice (but not succeeding!)

Image 13


Background – blackwatercolour (top sheet), very dilute indian ink (back sheet)

detail – sprayed page with water and added neat indian ink and diluted ink (top sheet). Gouache detail for mouth (back sheet)

Marlene Dumas inspired again – tried tearing away the mouth and contrasting the somewhat random textures of the ink with a neat painted mouth.

Image 14


Background – watered down indian ink splats

Detail – indian ink and indian ink/varnish mix.

I wanted to reflect the fun in the image for this one – I used a thin brush but held it high up so that there was a freedom in the movement of the marks that I was putting down. I like the way the background enhances the image on this one.

Image 15


Background – grey splodges of gouache

Detail – yellow ochre and white gouache

Tried to abstract the face slightly and apply the paint in a bolder, simpler way.  Really thought how to use the grey of the background when creating the tone of the face.

Image 16


Background – Indian ink

Detail – acrylic.

Tried to really think about tone and using the darkness of the background for the relevant parts of the image

Image 17


Background – black acrylic

Detail – white gouache

This was meant to be a bit of fun, trying out creating the image using the negative

Image 18


Background – slightly watered down gouache

Detail – indian ink and varnish for dress, white acrylic for body.  Indian ink for shoes, lines of room and hair.  Rubbed away background gouache colour to create lighter glow around the figure.

Having produced a range of close up figures, this piece was focussing on how to place a whole figure within  a larger area and make it a simple but powerful image.  Tried with this to be as minimal as possible.

Image 19


Background – black watercolour

detail – different strengths of ink

Having looked back over my work I wanted to be less precise.  I chose a filbert brush to ensure that I couldn’t paint with as much accuracy and tried to let my brushwork evoke a feeling rather than an exact replica of the image.

Image 20

P1010118 P1010119

Background – white gouache

Detail – watered down gouache

This was another attempt to create the pared down images of artists such as Annie Kevans.  This one has been more successful – having painted so many other styles of work I started to understand how I might be sparing with my mark making and more delicate with my colour choice and density.


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