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Updated: Apr 20, 2021

I spent most of this week working on my snowstorm painting.

Once I was freed from my masking tape hell hole, I moved onto using masking fluid for the snowfall. It was a bit hard to wrap my head around, but my process would be the following:

  • Splatter masking fluid all over the page

  • Paint over the unmasked section on the top half with burnt umber and ultramarine blue, using more blue as I went further into the distance to convey atmospheric depth

  • Remove the masking tape and splatter more masking fluid so that the houses would also be obscured by snowfall

  • Proceed to the rest of the painting

This how the painting looked once I removed the masking tape. I decided to eventually blend the houses into the rest of the painting but I also really like how crisp it looked at this point. In the future, I’d like to try playing with similar textures in other paintings.

I proceeded to blend the houses in the background to create depth and started to add details to the foreground.

Annoyingly, I didn’t document the rest of the painting enough, but to sum up the rest of my work:

  • I added in more details to the foreground

  • I used an abstract blooming effect for the tree on the right

  • I slashed watercolour in the corners to create a vignette effect

  • I removed the masking fluid and splattered some white ink on top

Now, I just need to go back in with various materials to adjust the tones of the painting. I primarily want to focus on lighting up some of the houses again (by dabbing with a tissue, using masking fluid and maybe sandpaper).


The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution, dir. by Clare Beavan (Fresh One Productions, 2013).

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

As I previously mentioned, I wanted to work on a painting of the recent snowstorm which took place in Dundee. I chose this image as I find that the expanse of snowy rooftops is effective at conveying just how much the snow took over the city

(I also how it includes a known landmark, so you can identify that it’s in Dundee).

This made me think of Pieter Bruegel the Elder‘s The Hunters in the Snow in which the high vantage point also accentuates the expansion of snow.

In composing the painting, I chose to emphacise this expansiveness by raising the horizon line and make the houses would extend past the painting. I also accentuated the hill in the foreground and moved around the branches so as to form a spiral composition and create a sense of swelling.

After doing a couple thumbnail drawings, I transferred the image to a roughly A3 sized watercolour paper. I then started covering it in masking tape, which took up most of my week. I decided to be really precise with this, since it makes my job much easier later on. It also allows me to be a lot more abstract in the way I paint it, as I have that solid foudation to rely on. That being said, this has caused me to lose my mind and I can’t look at masking tape the same way anymore.


Bruegel the Elder, Pieter, The Hunters in the Snow, 1565, Oil on wood, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Smith, Zadie, ‘Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Imaginary Portraits’, The New Yorker, 12th June 2017.

Updated: May 4, 2021

Keeping to the theme of atmosphere, I wanted to see how my setting would affect how I would draw something. I did various self portraits while media played in the background to see how the ambience would change how I composed the image. I tend to work with the sound of rain playing out my speakers as it helps me concentrate, so I wondered how music and film could change my approach. I did not try to make work based off the music, but rather to focus on my reflection and the image itself - while being mindful of what was playing, of course. I still would like to do more of these to see if patterns emerge.

The first drawing, which I ended up “ruining” out of frustration (although I really enjoy the scratchy lines now) was done while listening to electronic/hyper pop music, SOPHIE and 100 gecs. The next was drawn to drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova’s show UNHhhh. The third was done while watching an episode of The Twilight Zone.

I would like to repeat this exercise this week, with more thought given to what I play. On Wednesday, I took part in a critique/discussion session with Delia Baillie for which we had to read a conversation between artists Nicole Eisenman and David Humphrey as a starting point. I found te following passage really relevant to this exercise.

DH You were saying earlier that somehow content leaks into your work without you actually willfully putting it in. I feel that way too. I guess it comes from listening to instincts, impulses, and intuitions with the faith that somehow your decisions are going to mean something eventually. In the process of working something will emerge—almost always an aspect of yourself that you weren’t conscious of. NE Yeah, it’s not even subconscious. It’s down there below that. Your brain allows you little peeks into your subconscious via dreams. But what filters into painting is like sub-subconscious. You don’t know it’s there until you’ve painted it and, even then, it can take years to understand and see what’s there. I think you are right to use the word faith.

I’d say that painting often leads me to a type of meditation in which my subconscious comes to express itself. It also reminds me of something that Philip Braham told me during our open tutorial: no matter the subject you are painting, what you are thinking about will somehow make its way into the page. I think this is especially the case when painting brings us to that mental state. And this is something I want to focus on achieving more often, through listening to interesting podcasts on what I want to focus my art on - dissociation, mindfulness and the sublime - but also through focused meditation in which I delve into those parts of my psyche. Rain noise helps me reach this, but so can classical music and other ambient sounds.

Next week, I would like to start a painting of the snowstorm I talked about last week. I’d like to use watercolours and masking fluid/tape, since so much of the image will be white, and try using a limited colour palette (maybe burnt umber and ultramarine blue?) to emphasise the starkness of the snow. I read my flatmate Leo’s essay on the sublime which gave me great ressources and references. I have also ordered The Sublime Reader, which should arrive soon (and why not throw in Žižek’s Sublime Object of Ideology as a way of tying it all together!).


100 gecs, 1000 gecs (Los Angeles: Dog Show Records, 2019).

Clewis, Robert R., The Sublime Reader (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018)

Eisenman, Nicole and David Humphrey, ‘Nicole Eisenman and David Humphrey’, BOMB Magazine, 6th July 2015.

SOPHIE, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides (Los Angeles: MSMSMSM, 2018).

The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling (Cayuga Productions, Inc. and CBS Productions, 1959-64).

WOWPresents, YouTube, UNHhhh (2016-Present).

Žižek, Slavoj, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso Books, 1989).

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