Having taken the multitude of photos as required in the course I find I am rather uninspired by them all. So, to begin with the theme of a collection I remembered this photo from the V&A.
I have to confess to a strong resistance to doing it. I find I don’t want to try and use most of the disposable mediums like jam or marmite etc. Something in me thinks it’s pointless (which normally indicates it isn’t!)
I experimented with layers of coffee and then drawing with a stick dipped in ink. I worked on these in layers, however, that doesn’t really show. There is a lack of depth and tone to the coffee (I am confused as to why I can’t get it darker – perhaps I need to try another brand?). The ink and a stick is my ‘get-out’ medium – it’s the only one I really want to try because it feels familiar. Interesting that I really don’t want to get into this.
I struggle with using smelly mediums but that’s not a good enough excuse so I decide to get an old etching plate and try using nail varnish. The resulting image is at least a step away from any ‘usual’ way of working but I’m still unhappy. It looks clumsy and the colours are too brash.
Whilst I don’t like the finished plate, I do enjoy taking the work and photographing it and using filters on it. I really like the way it can completely transform work, giving me new ideas and possibilities.
At this point I also realise that I do like the iridescence of the plate – the metal shining through. I also like the gloss of the nail varnish. And I suddenly realise that the gloss effect is something I’d like to experiment with further. Not with nail varnish though as I don’t like that I am stuck with the colours in the bottles. I decide to explore further and buy a set of Humbrol gloss enamel paints.
When I begin using them I realise how alien this type of medium is to me. It’s sticky, it smells terribly and I don’t really know how to apply it effectively. I’ve looked at Geraldine Swayne’s work http://geraldineswayne.org and made the foolish assumption that this is something I’d be able to do. Her work makes it look easy. I don’t even know how to paint with this medium – it reminds me of trying to use satinwood to paint my skirting!
I try it out on another old etching plate and also on some plastic drypoint plates of differing sizes.
I’m trying to reflect on the uncanny whilst I am working on these experiments. I am using my Angela Johnson project for the images and I want to capture a feeling in these, not a literal representation.
I start putting on a first layer and because the paint needs 1-2 hours to dry I will be forced to adjust my pace. I will have to slow down and it is making me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t like the stage where the painting looks terrible, where it hasn’t come together, where I can easily judge myself to be rubbish at all this.
So this is the first layer. And the only work I’m even slightly interested in is the monotone. But that is a habit I have to get out of, that is my comfort zone.
I realise I need to learn how to use these paints – I really need to know how to mix them and keep the colours pure rather than adding mucky thinning medium that then makes everything a murky blue!
I guess I’m on the right path if it sucks this much!
I AM GOING TO RETURN TO THIS WORK ONCE I HAVE COMPLETED SOME FURTHER EXPERIMENTATION TO MOVE MY WORK OUT OF BEING HABITUAL. THAT WAY I WILL GIVE THE NEW MEDIUM A BETTER CHANCE.