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Updated: Nov 30, 2021

For my philosophy module this semester, we have the option to either submit an essay and textual commentary or an art project and brief. I originally wrote off the art project as I was worried the kind of work I make might not be conceptual enough. Then I remembered an idea I had last year of looking at modern instances of the sublime - in terms of the scale of technological infrastructure, the threat of capitalism and climate change, natural disasters, etc. - and realised how connected it was to what we are studying. I emailed my tutor, who said it would be a great way to kerry tjr two works.

Our module this year is called Understanding Media - The Philosophical and Cultural Impacts of Technology. It looks to expand discussion surrounding technology from one that focuses on its practical aspects to one that considers wider philosophical perspectives: political, phenomenological, hauntological…

I would like to make a small series of landscape paintings looking at how modern infrastructures affect our sense of scale and place in the world. Concretely, this would involve going to various places near Dundee (the oil rigs, windmills, abandoned factories and hospital….) and painting them in a way that emphasises how they change my relationship to the landscape.

What are the various levels on which I experience them? Do they contradict each other?

I’ll take particularly inspiration in Mark Fisher’s writings in Ghosts of my Life on Hauntology, a term coined by Jacques Derrida to refer to how lost futures and dreams of the past live on in the present even if they never came to fruition. I’m particularly interested in Fisher’s writings on contemporary nihilism, which he relates to an inability to imagine the future. How might I represent the sense of creative decay caused by capitalist realism?

So far, I have gone out the oil rigs, where I drew some sketches, did some audio recordings and took some pictures. I then collaged some of the photos together to construct a composition.

[UPDATE] I’ve also uploaded my full art description, which goes in a lot more depth about the philosophical perspectives of this project.


Derrida, Jacques, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2006).

Fisher, Mark, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (London: Zero Books, 2014).

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

It’s taken me a couple weeks to start my research journal up again since starting uni, but we are now… officially back in business!

I’ve mainly spent my first weeks back get accustomed to being in university again. Having access to studios has been such a blessing, it really brings life back to your art. I’m definitely still getting used to balancing my art and philosophy studies though. It’s a pretty intense course, but it feels invigorating to push myself to succeed. This semester, we are allowed to submit an art piece as our Philosophy assignment, which could allow me to have a more coherent workflow. I will discuss what I am considering in my next post.

So far, I’ve mainly been working on a commission piece. This is my first time doing this, so it’s pretty exciting! The painting was commissioned by a family friend with whom I was on holiday in Brittany for a few days this Summer. They asked me to paint the beach which was nearest to where we were staying, so I actually have a first hand experience of the scene. They’ve given me creative control of the piece, which I found very flattering. The emphasis, however, should be on the light. This is great as it allows me to have enough of a directive to keep myself on track, but also use this as an opportunity to further explore my use of paint. And I feel like I’ve done a good job at that, further experimenting witj both transparency and impasto.

I started off with a tonal layer. I knew I would be using a lot of blues, so in order to balance them out I went with a warm sepia.

I moved onto adding colour, making sure to work with transparency so that the base layer would peak through. I then used thicker layers of paint to convey the structure of the rocks. Im trying to push myself to work more in impasto, as I have a bad tendency to be too frugal with the paint I use. This has been quite freeing as it offers me a wider “vocabulary” to use in painting. In the piece, it creates a nice contrast with the water and sand, which I wish to appear a lot softer.

In terms of light and colour, I’ve been looking at the work of Sorolla. His ability to convey specific times of day absolutely fills me with awe.

Next, I need to bring this structure to the foreground and emphasise it to create depth. I also need to add more thin layers to the water to make it more luminous. and add some more interesting colours. Afterwards, I will add more colour to the cliffs, add more layers to the sky and work on bridging the gap between the softer and more striking parts of the painting. I also wish to add people to the painting to make it more personal.


National Gallery, Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light (London: National Gallery Company Limited, 2019).

Updated: May 2, 2021

What a strange year it’s been...

COVID has affected everyone’s ability to work this year. For me, this has especially been the case this semester, as not having any access to the studio at all has made it a lot more difficult to motivate myself and to keep a steady rhythm (on top of which I have come to realise I probably have ADHD, although that‘s still TBC). It’s also restricted me in terms of materials, as I am a very messy worker. So oils and clay, at least on a large scale, have been off the table this semester.

That being said, I don’t feel like this year was taken from me either. I have become more confident artistically and produced some solid (albeit sporadic) work. I’m privileged to have access to a large workspace and supplies, which allowed me to create a studio space in my room. Living with five other art students has also made it a lot easier to stay motivated.

My cozy studio space this semester

In many ways, working from home has been quite an enjoyable experience. It was definitely a lot more relaxing than in first semester, when we were moving back and forth from the studio to home. It was also good practice in motivating myself when I don’t have a place to go and work, which is something I don’t want to take for granted.

I do wish I had made more work this semester, but I am generally really happy with the work I did produce. I am also really proud of my essay, although I do wonder if it was a bit too descriptive - I spent a lot of time trying to fully understand Kristeva, so I ran out of time to research other writers. I’m curious as to what my grade will be.

If anything, I feel more motivated to do my best next year, when (fingers crossed) we will have full access to the studio. I am the type of person who really needs to separate work and leisure time in order to be productive (and happy), so I’m really excited to have a designated workspace again.

This Summer, there a few projects I want to work on. I already mentioned the painting I wanted to do on glass. I have since been researching paintings on glass and played around with different mediums (I am thinking of ordering some more transparent oils, as mine are either opaque or semi-opaque). I also emailed an artist who has done a series of landscape oil paintings on glass to ask for technical advice.

Once I go home, I would also like to make at least one oil on canvas piece. My dad is an oil painter himself, so I’ll ask if I can borrow some of his paint for a wee painting.

I would also like to do some sculpture this Summer. I ordered a lazy susan (which has taken forever to arrive), to use as a turntable. I really want to do more sculpture next year, as well as pottery once I have access to the clay workshop.

Most importantly, I want to make the most of my time. I’m looking forward to visiting plenty of art galleries once I am back home and sketching places around town. Once I am back in Scotland, I would really like to travel around to paint the beautiful scenery from life. I havent been to the highlands since I was little, so if COVID regulations allow it, I would love to go up at least once.

I‘ve really enjoyed writing these entries. It has kept me sane and helped me focus on the tasks at hand. Writing essays was my favourite part of school, so it’s been a great comfort to have this space to return to every week. I am planning on continuing to post here over the Summer at least every two weeks, depending on the amount of work I am doin... I hope my ramblings were also enjoyable to read.

Lastly... Upon my tutor Mark‘s request, I ended the semester with piña coladas... Here’s to many more!


Giacomelli, Amy, Stained Glass Tree #1, 2012, Acrylic on canvas.

Giacomelli, Amy, Stained Glass Tree #2, 2012, Acrylic on canvas.

Giacomelli, Amy, Stained Glass Tree #3, 2012, Acrylic on canvas.

Stavela, Velina, With and Without I, 2017, Mixed media.

Stavela, Velina, Winter footage III, 2017, Mixed media.

Weaver, Kevin, Kippford Sunrise, Dumfries & Galloway, Oil on glass backed on whiteboard.

Weaver, Kevin, Winter Fields, Dumfries & Galloway, Oil on glass backed on whiteboard.

Weaver, Kevin, Pica, Oil on glass backed on whiteboard.

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