Practice Based Research – Project One
NB: Images and underlined titles have live-links to relevant blog posts.
This project centres around the idea of confluence – the meeting and running together of two or more things. Using the metaphor of a river confluence (a place where two rivers meet and begin flowing together), I will explore various historical “confluences”, wherein certain natural and human-engineered forces came together and resulted in disasters and/or personal tragedies involving water. I intend to create a confluence with the individual paintings themselves by weaving two or more stories together. The paintings will include aspects of history, biography, autobiography, mythology, symbolism, psychology, and philosophy related to water.
These were painted at the beginning of the course when my research project had the broad focus of water, which I later narrowed down to confluence.
NB: The posts link to these images do not discuss process, rather they detail the events/musings that inspired the paintings.
Rain Water Experiments
Next I began a series of experiments with rain water.
For a class assignment in term one, we were encouraged to take a risk in our practice. This proved to be a turning point for me, and later helped me decide on the type of paintings I wanted to do for my research project, as well as a method I would like to use to achieve that.
I did a number of drawing workshops during the first term. They reminded me of the importance of keeping up a disciplined drawing practice, and also gave me lots of tips and ideas that have proved useful for the paintings I want to do for my research project, particularly related to expressiveness.
Change to a green palette
During week six, I decided to start experimenting with a green-based palette, and absolutely loved the change (previously I was using a blue-based palette). I decided that green is better suited to the paintings I had in mind for the research project, that is, some type of underwater paintings.
For the remainder of term one and the Christmas break, I continued to experiment with the green paintings. However, they seemed to get progressively worse, as though I was painting myself into a corner, so I decided I would try a new approach in term two.
Breaking things down
In order to get myself out of the painting dead-end I found myself, I decided to break down the pantings into their constituents parts – i.e. colour, under paintings, figuration, composition etc. – and focus on those parts individually.
Spanner in the works
Preparing work for the Interim Show initially hindered the breaking-down process mentioned above. I tried to complete a painting in a limited amount of time, which proved not to be possible. However, that experience, along with writing my study statement, helped me focus on the kind of paintings I want to produce for the research project.
I signed up for several more workshops in term two. Because they are college-wide, they are designed in such a way that the instruction received is relevant to each attendees particular course/research project. So far, I found them very helpful.
Returning to the break-down
I decided not to submit a new painting for the Interim Show, instead I decided to return to my initial plan of breaking down the constituent elements of the paintings and focus on those elements individually. The hope is it will lead to stronger paintings in the long run.
Research plays a central role in my creative process. Because my work is typically based on historical events, I begin by researching those events, primarily through books, documentaries, lectures and research databases/archives.
Another import aspect of my creative process is interacting with nature. My decision to focus on water for my research project, is a direct result of my love of, and interaction with, water.
I am inspired by the work of several contemporary expressive-figurative-painters.