For this project I decided to expand upon my 4 week drawing and painting project. My reasons for making this decision where based upon the aesthetics of the piece.
I decided the piece would be based around intimacy through the sense of touch. The use of the rose is a very personal aspect of the piece for me which gives me a very strong connection to the piece.
For the influence of using something personal or a reflection of life within my own work I looked at Gilbert and George who work very closely together creating work they feel a connection to. I also looked again at Patricia Cronin, who is my biggest artistic influence as a lot of her work has a very personal meaning to her, such as ‘a memorial to marriage’. I gathered a lot of information from the artist herself as I emailed her very early in the project.
The colour pallet I decided would be the colours of the gay pride flag. This is because once again it is personal to me but also because they are bright, a rainbow. I wanted the colours to be bright and bold because of the presence of a monochromatic rose. This was to show that not everyone can see bright bold colours, some people rely purely on touch. Some are so old fashioned they only see black and white, they don’t see past the way things used to be.
I decided that like my 4 week project I would create one painting per colour, which I would then deconstruct into 6. Removing it further from the rose, making it harder to see the original image, this would mean I would end up with 42 equal squares, 7 sets of 6. Each one to be textured using a found object.
I started the project by looking at different found objects/textures I could go on to use in the piece, similarly to how I had used them in my 4 week project. I considered the likes of sand, foil, sea glass, shells and more.
Straight away I was able to eliminate the larger objects, such as the glass and shells. This was because they were a little too big, too hard and would also add more weight to my work that what I would like. I wanted to keep my work light and soft for transport and touch.
I looked at artists such as Harry DeLorme, Rachel Green, Ornulf Opdahl, Jane Perkins and Frank Stella, as they all used texture in their work. Be in thought the use of paint or found objects they all relate to my work they all have an influential link to the texture aspect of my piece.
I looked at colour mixing, but I was not happy with purple at all. I could not mix a bright, bold purple, I tried crimson and ultramarine, I also mixed cadmium red and cerulean blue as well as a combination of the 4 and interchanging the colours. In the end I decided the best thing to do would be to buy purple, as that would enable me to lighten it as I chose. This meant i would be able to achieve a dark, mid and light tone of purple.
I continued to experiment with different textures and possible surface ideas. These included wax, cardboard, plasters, mod roc, rose steams and more. Once again I was able to eliminate some of these straightaway, which was due to size, weight and even the actual texture, whether it was too hard or too soft.
I looked at editing my reference photo, however the more I looked into it the more I thought about it, and I came to the decision that I would use the same one I used in my 4 week project. The reason I decided on that was because the rose in that photo is deeply personal to me as it was the first rose my partner ever bought me. Doing this tied in well with the personal aspect of my project because I wanted the piece to mean something to me on a personal level.
I also experimented with origami using copier paper, which folded well but lost shape easily. Card which was hard to fold but held shape and origami paper which very surprising to me did not seem to hold shape as well as I thought it should. I also used the origami paper to create paper roses, not origami. By cutting petal shapes and using cotton buds to curl the petals as desired to form a rose.
I started production of my Final Project with a small collaboration, I did this by listing 7 textures, wax, cardboard, felt, plastic bags, foil, P.V.A and bubble wrap, and all 7 colours, which I then folded up and got Alison to pick one from each pile to pair them together, until each colour was assigned a texture. Which I think was very successful because it took the power of that decision away from me and the pairings worked very well. I wanted to know exactly what I was doing before painting them, that way I could just keep going with the final production and didn’t have to stop and figure out what would go where.
I then started painting 6 roses which I painted on 7 sets of 7 sheets of origami paper, as I have a huge issue with cutting straight this was the solution because each sheet is 15cmX15cm, perfect squares. Each set of 6 sheets where the same colours as the rose to be painted on them using acrylic paint. Except for the monochromatic rose, which was painted on brown origami paper, this was because it was the closest to monochromatic I had.
I started by using a dark tone of each colour to paint the outline of each rose. The next step was to paint the mid tone, which would fill in the petal shapes, before adding the light tone to give some emphasis on the shapes of the petals. The final stage of painting the roses was to add white, again this was to emphasis the petals but also to break up the colour within the rose.
Each rose was painted using only my dabbing technique which I really feel works both for added texture and the elimination of brush stroke. The shades of each rose where chosen based upon two previous experiments, taking the aspect of defined petals from one set and the bright shades of colour from the other set. This was because neither experiment was fully successful on their own, however when put together for the final 7 painting they were successful due to being a mixture of the 2 experiments.
Once all 7 paintings where dry I deconstructed them, forming my 42 15cmX15cm paintings. I did have the issue of because I taped them onto cartilage paper and wasn’t careful at the edges because of that, they did stick a little, which was an issue. However I managed to solve that by using a knife to cut the paper close to the origami paper, which then made separating the two a lot easier. I would not paint them taped to paper if I were to do it again because of that issue.
Next I applied the chosen texture to each set of paintings. Red – Cardboard, Orange – Wax, Yellow – P.V.A, Green – Felt, Blue – Plastic bags, Purple – Bubble wrap and Monochromatic – Foil. I used the textures in a combination of ways to improve the sense of touch in each colour. For example, the foil was used flat and scrunched up. Some of the texture was applied on top of the square which was to give more of a 3D element, and some was applied from the underside which was done by carefully cutting out a petal, which would allow me to apply the texture from underneath the square giving it more of a sunken appearance, as well as adding to the overall texture.
Once all 42 squares where fully textured I made the decision to use cardboard to back them, this was because it is strong and cheap because it is recycling packaging. Each square was backed around the edge by 2 14cmX2cm and 2 11cmX2cm strips of cardboard. I did not want the cardboard to go right to the edge because I did not want straight even edged to the final piece, even though the edges are not really seen I wanted the actually paintings to overhang the cardboard to add to the final texture.
Once all where backed I folded up a piece of kitchen roll to place inside each square, this was to help reinforce the squares and fill the inside of my backing. It was also to enable me to P.V.A some scented wax to the inside of each square. I wanted to do this to enhance the senses, as this would include the unseen sense of smell to my piece. Finally I applied another piece of origami paper to the back to hold the kitchen roll and wax inside. I repeated this with all 42 squares, all I could smell was jelly bean scented candle wax, and it is a really sweet smell. I think if I were to do this again I would use a less powerful smelling candle.
My final decision was how to display my 42 squares, foam board was considered but it gave too much of a clean edge to the piece, so I made the decision to use cardboard once again as I wanted to keep a slightly rougher looking edge which meant my edges could be uneven from a side view adding to the senses, and keep it light for transport. I decided to do this by splitting the piece into 6 sections which would then be made to look like one big piece for the exhibition. So I cut 6 bits of cardboard to the required size and then used double sided tape to secure them all in place.
Once all 6 section where complete it was time to perform the last of the paint touch ups. I painted the cardboard on the red squares red, and the wax pellets on the orange squares orange, however I had an accident, the orange paint/p.v.a mix dripped down onto one of the yellow squares. The solution was to paint the entire petal again. That was a very successful fix as the accidental orange was now completely un-noticeable.
To hang the piece I covered the back of all sections with a lot of double sided tape, which seemed to hold. The entire time I was in the college on the day I hung the piece it stayed up. However when I was on my way home I found a tumblr post from a Lauren telling me my piece had fallen off the wall (Wednesday). Clearly the tape was not strong enough. As I live in Dunbar I was not able to get back in to fix it until the Friday. Alison decided to go back into the college and temporarily secure my piece in my space until I was able to fix it as we were unsure of how safe it would be on the floor against the wall. The temporary fix held very well and was very successful until I was able tore-hang the piece on the Friday. As the double sided tape was so unsuccessful my dad suggested and gave my no more nails. I applied a tiny amount to the corner of each section and re-applied the pins Alison used for the temporary fix. This was a very successful solution as the piece is now very secure.
If I had unlimited money, space and time I would cover an entire room with the squares, including the ceiling, I would add sound of some kind and lights. The floor would be covered in bubble wrap. I would make the entire space a playground for the senses.
Overall I am very happy with my piece, I hit some problems along the way but I feel confident in my solutions to fix the issues I had. I feel that in the time frame I would change the aspects which gave me issues but I feel I would still aim for the final result I have. Although the issues are not always a bad thing, as they are a learning curve and I now know not to do certain things again. And I feel it is successful in what I set out to achieve due to the multiple textures and the personal aspects within the piece.