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As semester 1 comes to an close, I have mixed feelings when looking back on my work. On the one hand, I am happy with the quality of work I have produced. My main intention was to get comfortable using mediums I was interested in developing - primarily oil painting and sculpture - and I think I did so successfully. On the other hand, the amount of work I have produced is frankly underwhelming. I noticed myself, especially towards the end of the semester, really struggling to keep a good pace. And once I let myself go, it was really hard to pick it back up.

On yet another hand (...don’t ask me where it is), I feel absolutely awful. I have struggled with mental illness for most of my life, but this semester broke me on a much deeper level. I have been going back to therapy and experimenting with antidepressants (mostly unsuccessfully because of respiratory side effects) for the first time. COVID has utterly sucked, and the lack of steady rhythm has completely disrupted my ability to focus on my work, or on anything for that matter.

I am, however, deeply grateful for the time I have been allowed in the studio. It is what has allowed me to produce work despite all of this (and also to maintain a part of sanity). I also believe that I can push myself to paint more despite this, even if I struggle to think clearly about it. My research journal will probably suffer as it already has, but I will try my best to dedicate to it the moments of emotional clarity I still occasionally have. My main focus, though, will be on drawing and painting regularly. Self doubt has a tendency to make me forget this, but I know from experience (and from literally every artist ever) that a steady practice is the most important part of developing as an artist. I also know that I am primarily interested in traditional forms of art, so I want to focus on that. I would, however, also like to incorporate printmaking and collage into my work. I am particularly interested in acetone transfers and lino print.

Anyway, here’s the painting I started this week. I am still unsure as to how much more I want to work on it, but I am very happy with the results so far. Moving to a larger scale has been really freeing.

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

When I chatted with Mark last week, I got reminded of the importance of maintaining a regular painting practice. Of course this is something I've always been aware of, but I feel like it had gotten lost in the last few weeks. I was putting too much pressure on coming up with novel ideas (in a time when I quite frankly find it extremely difficult) rather than just working. As such, I started working on a painting as soon as I could.

I took this reference picture a few weeks ago when Dundee was taken over by fog. Just like when I first witnessed it last year, I was taken aback by it, as such weather conditions never occurred back home. I find the way it creates a natural soft focus effect absolutely gorgeous, and it reminded me of how the world can feel when I dissociate heavily. This is something that tends to come back in most of my paintings, since it is how I experience the world most of the time.

I also wanted to include some figures, so I photoshopped another picture I had taken that day onto it. But when I used the auto select tool, the effect that was created was that of ghosts. I feel like it suits the mood very well.

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

I started the week by continuing my large head sculpture. I used vertical slabs of clay to create a structure in the base and further hollowed out the head so that it wouldn’t be too heavy once I added the hair. With some slight repositioning, I think the sculpture really came alive - I wonder what they’re looking at? As I kept working, I noticed it slowly look like an old lady rather than myself so I decided to push it in that direction. I'd say it’s mostly finished now, I would just like to touch up the hair and the bust next week.

Later on in the week, I was playing with a piece of cardboard that was lying around the house and started drawing over the ridges. I drew a face and really enjoyed how subtle the imprint was. I then used lines of masking tape to recreate the effect in my sketchbook - this imprint looks even cooler in my opinion, but the lines are definitely too sparse to make out the face (unless its pointed out). I would really enjoy layering this over a painting at some point so

next week I will keep experimenting with the technique. It reminds me of the artwork of Jesus Rafael Soto - maybe I could take this into three dimensions somehow?

I have been feeling quite burned out lately, so I’m glad I found this. I’m looking forward to making my drawings more disjointed by using this method and maybe experimenting with printmaking as well. It would also be interesting to see how I could use similar techniques in painting. I think watercolour would work especially well with this.

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