Please note this blog has been updated in accordance with my tutor report.
This is the stage where the mood boards I mentioned in Stage 1 really came to the fore as I looked carefully through my theme book seeing if any drawings, colours or magazine cuttings held my attention as directed by the course materials – magazine cuttings for me are non-existent as all my images are photographs I have taken myself over the course of the past 12 months.
Having looked through my theme book I have been happy with the sketches that I have done and some were developed in previous sections of this course such as for the applique at Part 3 but nothing was really grabbing my attention regarding colour, shape or just the composition – something just was not working properly although some of the sketches as whole pieces I have really liked when I looked to break them down or take them forward they just didn’t excite me.
I laid out my mood boards with fresh images and did a series of new sketches and paintings based on a few with some of the samples from previous sections nearby for inspiration. The work that came from these was much freer and I realised I had loosened up in my style considerably and had finally got to grips with the fact the images needed to represent what I saw not necessarily an accurate copy – I could represent my emotions or the colours I saw in a looser form.
What has really helped is that as I have done this final section of the course I was also finishing my fifth assignment for the art history module and had read a considerable amount on the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Fauvism, Cubism and Abstract art movements. As each new sketch was done I felt my painting moving towards abstraction – I liked working with acrylic and watercolour in the same piece to provide contrast in light, colour and tone. Eventually there were 5 new paintings including this one purely using loose brush strokes and brighter colours – it was originally a stone moon gate looking through to a lake surrounded by fauna.
The other new paintings can be seen in this photograph. I kept the works totally separate at this stage without combining separate images from different areas of source material and also on the whole doing a complete image which I felt could then be taken down further – this is the way I prefer to work as I have learnt as I feel I can even look back at a source image if I like one particular area on a sketch/painting and note further details or colours or textures in a larger ‘zoomed in’ work.
Looking through the work I can see how I have been inspired by the theme I have chosen – the tranquility and peace of the area is evoked through the colours and gentle reflections on the water or as the water itself as it rushes under a bridge or over rocks.
The course material does suggest combining different areas of different images and I understand the point about discouraging any attempt to just copy the image – perhaps I still have done to an extent but I have also learnt to interpret the colours or change them to suit the mood that I am requiring e.g. in one image the colours were much more muted and I wanted stronger definition to really get across the differing light and feel of the area or in another the water was much calmer as it rippled over the rocks but I wanted the water to appear a little quicker and create a feeling of movement.
As I worked with these paintings I took note of the course material suggesting thinking about how to make marks when the image is scaled up so that say one small area of paint, a flick, may become a shape and this was a definite consideration particularly regarding leaves and the shape of any rocks. However much to my surprise my resulting end-design concentrated on architectural shapes rather than the organic of the trees and leaves and rocks. The painting I thought at this stage I would take forward is this one as the copper colours of the river contrast with the leaves and greens of the bank – it is a harmonious calm scene accurately portraying the day the photograph was taken.
I did take note of contrast and harmony in my pieces – these I am increasingly finding are crucial to me as it dictates the resulting mood or emotion I am trying to portray.
As I worked through these paintings I kept reflecting back on to previous pieces and sketches and have been surprised at how my work has changed over the months and also at how my approach is beginning to really alter – I am looking for photographs or images that I can take forward compositionally rather than just ones I would like to paint/draw although those will still be done without a specific idea or end product/theme in mind and just for pure enjoyment as you never know what might develop. I am aware I am looking for texture, form, line, colour or shape throughout the images and as I work looking at specific details that could work in a larger format – my visual awareness has changed considerably.
UPDATE AFTER TUTOR REPORT: As I have looked through these images again I can see just how much my work has been led and inspired by them – it is difficult to express just what Dovedale means to me but suffice to say my heart was in this theme and as a consequence this is a very emotionally led final part of the course. I am not sure whether it is the memories I have in Dovedale or whether it is the colours or just the overall feeling of peace and tranquility but something beyond the photographs inspired the paintings and the final design that was to come out of it but perhaps this goes back to the fact that Dovedale is as close as I can possibly get here in Derbyshire to Dartmoor – the area which the first house I clearly remember looked across the valley on to so I saw it every day for 4 years.