Part 3: Preliminary planning of the practical work

7 September 2017. I am supposed to carry over especially the insights gained in working with different materials in the first two parts of the course and continue using those materials that worked best for me. This may be a bit tricky with monotype portraits, as the study guide advises us to use oil paint for easier manipulation. My focus, however, is on inks and acrylics plus some mixed media, as well as shadows and legacies as self-chosen course subject. I will thus need to approach the part to come with special care.

After a few days of confusion over Part 2 feedback I just had an idea for tackling the subject of monotype portraits in Part 3 of UPM. We will be spending a year in New Zealand starting July 2018. I have always been interested in languages, and just reminded myself again that I want to try and get acquainted with the basics of the Maori language. I have no spare time to sit down and learn, but for me casual listening and skim-reading work really well. As soon as this idea had crossed my mind, there was an immediate connection to an exhibition on the traditions of body piercing, tattooing and body painting I had curated several years back. The intricate patterns typical of traditional tattoos are not just body decorations, but serve as a sacred symbolic language transporting information on “rank, social status, power and prestige” (Zealand Tattoo, 2017). This language was, and sometimes still is, passed down from generation to generation and is an important part of a cultural legacy. To me the bearer of a facial tattoo shows not only their face, but on their face, in shadow-like fashion, the sum of their people’s common heritage. In a similar way I could, in what looks like a convincing idea, investigate the properties of a special form of art and adapt it to my own idea of expressing the present actions of shadows from the past. To me this thought is intriguing enough to serve as the basis of my investigations and experiments in Part 3.

Although I will let much of the development happen as I go along, I will want to include the following aspects into my planning:

  • be highly selective with materials and methods, incorporate those working best from Parts 1 and 2 and carefully expand on them, only include new ones if the former cannot be adapted in the expected way
  • work extensively with 1 minute ink portrait sketches first, as my preliminary tests for exercise 3.1 showed a lack of proficiency, 20 sketches will very likely not be enough to get thoroughly acquainted with the characteristics of my own face
  • take the image/part of the image working best for me from my umbrella and transform it into patterns suitable for tattooing, then make several good monoprints of my “tattooed” face following exercise instructions in the study guide
  • extend to 3D by e.g. making a rough mask of my own face with paper mâché/plaster/thin clay to project my tattoo monotypes on and, to continue working with multiples, tell a very short animated story by projecting a number of slightly changed images (inside out zeotrope effect) in Assignment 3

The above will hopefully allow me to fulfill the requirements of continuous development.

Separate mind map to follow!

References

Zealand Tattoo (2017) Maori Tattoo: The Definitive Guide to Ta Moko
[online]. Zealand Tattoo, Christchurch. Available from: http://www.zealandtattoo.co.nz/tattoo-styles/maori-tattoos/ [Accessed 7 September 2017]

Part 2, preparations: Photographing collections

12 July 2017. Experiencing a large number of forced breaks from outside my course is definitely not good for making and analysing progress. The design of Understanding Painting Media, as I mentioned in my Assignment 1 tutor feedback reflection post (Lacher-Bryk, 2017a), appears to me to require more deep immersion than I experienced in either Drawing 1 and Painting 1 and starting to write up the work done in Part 2 up to now feels like trying to pick up pieces distributed over a large area. This post will definitely be a life-saver to get me back on track …
My tutor  had a look at my feedback reflection post and advised me not to be scared. This may have been the single most useful hint I have received in a long time and it made me look at what I am and do at the moment. If someone had asked me directly, I would have answered that of course I am not scared, but getting the advice in written format I had the time to think about it and I realized that my tutor is 100% correct with her observation. I am scared. This relates to the things happening outside the course, which require an overwhelming amount of courage and stamina, and have been doing so continuously for a decade now (since the 17th of July 2007, the day our younger son was born, to be precise). I realized that I may, as it is now, not have enough courage left for my course to allow me to act with confidence. I am determined, however, to turn things around to make this fear work for me as a developing artist rather than against me. Will see what happens :o).

So, back to my preparations.

After having been told to research artists, who either paint collections or paint with unusual materials (Lacher-Bryk, 2017b) – a combination I thought odd, to be honest, we were to use everyday objects to lay out and photograph our own collections. These were then to serve as basis for the four exercises making up Part 2.
I produced the following collections:

 

Fig. 1. Two versions of “white on white”

 

Figure 2. Silver cutlery from my great-grandmother’s restaurant in Slovenia

 

Figure 3. Pencil patterns on fleece jacket

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 Figure 4. Pub crawl

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Figure 5. After church talk

 

Figure 6. Soup cube tilings

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Figure 7. Socks, sunbathing

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Figure 8. Necklaces and stuff I never wear

 

Figure 9. Toiletries and the sorting power of the written word

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Figure 10. Shoes – Lisa Milroy way

 

Figure 11. Orderly collections of keys …

 

Figure 12. … and less orderly ones

 

Figure 13. Testing the effects of sorting a collection of photos

13 July 2017. My first-time experience of getting acquainted with the inner laws of collection-making saw a slow start even with the examples by several artists in mind (Lacher-Bryk, 2017b). Despite the attractive arrangements I had been unable to feel a true connection with their work, but it was, predictably, different with the objects familiar to me. When looking at the above results (Fig. 1-13) I feel that I prefer those collections, which appear to have a strong sort of communication going on among the individual objects, e.g. the bowls (Fig. 5), which remind me of groups of people standing and talking “after church” or another community event. It took me a while to find working arrangements and it was interesting to identify some laws which make them work. Basically, it was an impression of having an object’s focus turned towards or away from the group. This was probably easiest to see in the sets of keys (Fig. 12). The laying out caused the immediate creation of an invisible but nevertheless perceptible network of attraction and repulsion effects. The strongest of these radiated from, in my opinion, the set of identical simple silvery door keys with the red tag at the top centre of the photo on the right. When I look at it, the set of keys seems to exert an attractive force on all objects surrounding it, pulling them towards the upper edge and eventually out of the frame. It is probably those effects, which make artists examine the properties of collections in the first place, because they can lay the foundations for telling a powerful painted story. At the moment I am quite overwhelmed with the possibilities and so I decided to keep matters simple with the set of exercises for this part of the course.

Since my tutor also informed me that the main purpose of experimenting with a large range of media is there to eliminate those media I am not happy working with, I see the course in a completely different light now. I will thus try and be as sensitive as possible regarding my reactions when using certain media and then select those I am happiest with. This is something that appears to occur anyway, but only now am I aware of the fact that this is what I am supposed to do. Which makes me feel a lot less scared.

References

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2017a) Tutor Feedback and Reflection [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA blog: Understanding Painting Media, 29 June. Available from: https://andreabrykocapainting1upm.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/assignment-1-tutor-feedback-and-reflection/ [Accessed 12 July 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2017b) Research Point: Collections and Unusual Materials
[blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA blog: Understanding Painting Media, 27 May. Available from: https://andreabrykocapainting1upm.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/research-point-collections-and-unusual-materials/ [Accessed 12 July 2017]