I am really pleased with the ease of working at this scale and the improvements I have made to my studio, to accommodate the larger working area. By replacing my support table with a wheel able trolley and storing wet paint in lidded and labelled clear containers, which are large enough for my largest brushes, I have not only maintained the amount of space I have to move around, but I will also not be wasting large quantities paint.
I am still not entirely happy with the weight of paper, or more importantly, the robustness of the 400gsm paper I am using and I will try the Hoxton sheet next time, just to gauge the difference. I will continue to experiment with the 30 x 30cm sheets of 320gsm Khadi paper to see whether I can live with a cream white, because the large sheets of 400gsm Khadi have four decaled edges, which would really work for me going forward.
What I have achieved has clearly been a risk but it hasn’t felt like that. My logical brain, normally a hindrance when I am in need of imaginative, exploratory skills, has been an asset when researching possible materials and reflecting on their success, or otherwise. It has enabled me to be methodical in my approach, and be confident that I have explored all available options, with the result that it just feels like a natural progression for my work.
This task has made me think more deeply about how I work and my subject matter. I decided to continue my exploration of working with family photos, particularly as it continues from Task 2 and the making day, but also because the work is so different to my previous process. Taking the lead from Emily Ball and ‘suspending my commonsense’, I have approached images from an exploratory perspective, using charcoal, ink and watercolour, seeking to achieve the essence of the image rather than the ‘draughtsmanship’. Not always successful, the motivation for likeness being hardwired, but I can feel a small shift.
Have I explored enough, have I been playful enough? No, but I have learnt a lot about myself and with that will come fresh ideas and a loosening of the reins of control. I have achieved far more than I ever thought I could, and the summer will be all about reflecting and continuing to push against my self-imposed boundaries, seeking to use the learnings from my research to develop a more contemporary approach to my painting. It won’t happen overnight, but it will be at the forefront of everything I do and will feed through my unconscious.
I now have everything I materially need to move forward, leaving me free to focus on the direction I wish to travel. Where that is going to be is still unknown, but that is what is so exciting.