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Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Last week, I continued my exploration into the field of sculpture. The first thing I worked

on was a head shaped plant pot for my foundry induction. In the same vein as last week's bottle head, I enjoy how comical it (hopefully) appears. Similar to my previous project, it also reminds me of a shrunken head. That being said, I don’t know if that’s the direction I want to be going in.

I then started a much larger clay portrait. Primarily, this is a study of the human form (or rather part of it, for the time being) as I would like to eventually bring in more figures into my landscape paintings. But I am also finding great joy in experimenting with sculpture. Something about it’s materiality is extremely engaging creatively. With this sculpture, I wanted to focus more on the expression than making it look like myself so as to move away from the stiffness of my previous sculptures. So even though I used a mirror, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a self portrait.

Next week, I would like to finish my large sculpture. I need to work on the hair as well as well as the structure so that it can stand on its own.

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

I started the week by working on a sculpture of my face. I used air drying clay and newspaper, which created the texture i needed. That being said, I don’t think I focused enough on texture in the skin. Maybe mixing paper into the clay will allow me to create a more interesting surface without betraying the integrity of the sculpture?

In general, I found the exercise extremely helpful in visualising why certain parts of my face look the way they do. For example, I thought about which shapes were caused by the bones in my face and which ones were more due to the sagging of my skin. I think this knowledge will be useful when painting.

Sculpture is a medium I find naturally creatively engaging. Maybe it’s due to how active you are when sculpting - I also think it’s how it lends itself to mixed media. This is something I could maybe look into incorporating into my paintings. I enjoy how Njideka Akunyili Crosby does this in her paintings.

Once DJCAD Clay get back in touch with me, I would like to work on sculptures of a larger scale so as to capture more detail. I also learned how to stretch a canvas, so I will be working on a portrait on a larger scale too. For the time being, I think I will keep painting self portraits as I can pose for myself for much longer but I will also ask my flat mates if they can pose for some drawings so that I am practicing other faces too. I kept looking into Celia Paul this week, so I am interested in how portraits can serve as an autobiography - whether that be of yourself or those closest to you.

Updated: May 2, 2021

Throughout the week, I mainly worked on a self portrait in oil. As I previously discussed, I wanted to focus on making my brushwork less smooth and concentrate on abstraction. I struggled quite a bit with this, especially with the slow drying time, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I started the painting in the studio where the lighting was a lot more interesting, but most of it was done at home (and from pictures I took in the studio).

The main artists I looked at was Lucian Freud, for obvious reasons. I am always taken aback by how expressive and honest his brushwork is, especially in his later paintings. This is in large part what attracted me towards oil paint (which makes it all the more frustrating that this is what I'm most struggling with right now!). I watched a documentary about his life, which led me to looking into Celia Paul, whom he had a relationship with and frequently depicted in his paintings over a period of ten years.

Similarly to Freud, I find the brushwork in Celia Paul's work to be incredibly expressive. I see both a longing and wisdom in her self portraits. I also found her painting My Sisters in Mourning to be very impactful.

Looking back at my own work, it definitely feels like it’s time for me to increase the scale. I certainly cherish the intimacy of the small scale of most of my previous work, but at this point I feel like it is more an expression of timidity than vulnerability. This is also the case of my brushwork.

To break out of these confines, I would first like to focus on sculpture. This came to mind when I was watching the Freud documentary and they discussed how he mainly got into art school based on his sculpture work (which could explain how “sculpted” his paintings eventually became). In terms of my own work, I think working in three dimensions could be very effective at loosening myself up. I have always found sculpture very freeing.

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