Category Archives: Research & Reflection

Manchester Gallery Summer 2015

Modern and Contemporary exhibition:

Mill and Essex1938

John Aldridge 1905-1983

Made by Contemporary Lithography limited 1936-1939

Attracted to rural locations. Escape. Aligned himself with British Romantic landscape painting. Captures the spirit of the locations.

Paper shortages of war brought this short lived initiative to an end.

I really love the way that the artist conveyed the trees. They have been of personal inspiration in to my own work. They are similar to the shapes used in many of the contemporary paintings that I have been really enjoying.

Still life 1941

Mary Potter 1900-1981 Oil on Plywood.

Potter painted casual arrangements of her objects in order to concentrate on the act of painting. Thickly and quickly, visible brushstrokes, textured surface, marks only approximating appearances.

I really enjoyed the playful freedom with her paint and enjoyment of exploring painting itself.

Semi-Sunset 1995

Colin Blanchard b. 1952

Photo-etching on paper

Personal note to research this!

Gartside street, Manchester 1942

Arthur Sherwood Edwards 1887-1960

Pencil on paper

I wanted to remember this and take note of its brilliant use of line and tone, etc.

Lansdowne Place East and Lasdowne Crescent, Bath 1942

JohnPiper 1903-1992

Watercolour with ink, pastel and chalk on paper.

Commissioned by the war artists advisory committee 1940-1941 to record devastating effects of the war on British landscapes (bomb damage).

Produced a series of watercolours focused on Georgian domestic architecture of Lansdowne where bomb damage was greatest. 1800 houses left inhabitable.

I absolutely loved this piece. The chosen mediums are my favourite and really work well together. I absolutely got lost in this creation.

Interior 1964-65

Richard Hamilton 1922-2011


Published by Petersburg Preet Limited, Edition of 50.

Inspired by a still from a film “Shockproof” 1949 (which Hamilton found by chance)

Film: None of the walls joined and perspective distorted and lighting came from different sources.

Hamilton replicated collage cuttings from different sources and photographing in black and white. Rearranging in to a composite image and then adding colour. Increased the fragmentation by mixing historic and modern furnishings, highly detailed patterns and areas of black abstraction including a woman from a contemporary washing machine advert and part of the drawing room belonging to Claude Monet’s daughter.

Result: visually unsettling view of domestic interior. Meaning cannot be deciphered.

Hamilton pioneer of British pop art, regarded fine art, photography and popular culture as a creative continuum.

I really do enjoy seeing how artists bring together various forms of creative art in order to voice and convey what they want to express. This for me was a really brilliant example of how the creative arts work together.


Palm Trees at Le Cannet (about) 1924

Pierre Bonnard 1867-1977

Oil on canvas.

Positioned next to nude (with trees in).

Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard- last of impressionists taking their exploration of the painting of light well in to the 20th century. Patterns of strong sunlight on shaded gardens was popular Impressionists theme. Allowed painter to explore the effect of the eye of both deep shade and dazzling sunlight in 1 painting. Le Connet- near Cannes- South of France- his home Le Bosquet from 1925 until death.

I couldn’t help but fall in to this painting. The texture and colour was my personal taste and what I want to achieve through my own work.

Paradise Row, Bath

Walter Richard Stickert 1860-1942

Oil on Canvas

There wasn’t any writing with this painting. However it is landscape that I wanted to record for later research.

Summer in Cumberland 1942-5

James Durden 1873-1964

Oil on Canvas

(View through window) Born in Manchester and studied at the Manchester School of Art. Painted from his own house in Lake Distict. Siddaw Bank- Overlooking Derwent Water. Includes his family. Strong sunlight and light airy colours.

I absolutely loved the light and detail in this piece and was very drawn to the grande scale of the painting. A very successful view through a window.

Overall this was a really enjoyable gallery trip. There was so many pieces of inspiration and of personal interest to me.


Gallery trips Summer 2015

Gallery Trip Summer 2015

Landscape exhibition at Contemporary Six The Gallery, Manchester.

There is currently a hard and soft landscape. To one side of the small gallery space is the soft landscape paintings and to the other hard landscapes. Both bouncing off of each other whist complementing at the same time. I like that gallery attempts to show so many pieces at once, whist remaining separate from each other and not cluttered. The gallery itself becomes a piece of art work in the process in my opinion.

Some of the artists whose work inspired me and appealed to me in particular (that when I home I spent time researching as there was no information accompanying the pieces) are as follows (the current main exhibition, as well as other artists whose work are on display to):

The exhibition of Cityscapes/Wordscapes

Artist Colin Taylor in collaboration with poet Anthony Rowland

Combining the landscapes paintings of Colin Taylor with the poems of Rowland. A really interesting collaboration with brilliant results. His paintings complement the poetry beautifully.

Inspired by the city of Manchester’s skyline he completed this series of paintings.

I was intrigued by this collaboration especially considering the pathway of the degree I have embarked on. Bothe creative felt the other form of expression complemented as well as enhanced their work and what they wanted to say.

The paintings work well with each other and bring a story to life. The abstract paintings built up with obvious, textured and bold, confident brushstrokes. He confidently makes decisions without fuss over detail, instead strong decisions. All fairly work together and flow in to each other through their colours. It was inspiring to experience modern contemporary hard landscapes in such a way.


Rob Wilson

Influenced by his history with graphic design and illustration as well as inspired by his inspiration from the North Wests dramatic architecture and its moody landscapes. He creates unique abstract pieces containing typeface and stitching sitting to the side of traditional media.

He uses a method that combines paint and print. To do this he uses a variety of printed matter such as pages from programmes, brochures and leaflets, vogue sewing patters, etc. (all often relating to the subject of painting). Paint builds the pieces up with layers and texture. Then adding the printed matter as well as tissue paper. Wilson goes on to add lines of machine stitch to literally bring the painting to life.

Quoted so say “I usually work from photos. If the piece has been commissioned I would wait for the right light before taking the photos. I like strong light as it brings out the contrast of a building’s architecture. I’m also very particular about the angle of the photo and like to have foreground interest (usually people) as it provides perspective to the scene and also gives the building a sense of purpose or context.

From this I produce a very quick line drawing on to canvas using watercolour pencil crayons. This becomes the rough layout for the painting and introduces pace and movement to the painting right at the start. I water down the pencil drawing using diluted glue before laying on the trademark dress patterns. Once dry I often use a wash of acrylic inks to start adding large areas of tone. I then use acrylic paint to define the areas of intense light and shade before adding cut sections of news print and leaflets which are often relevant to the subject.  After more layers of print I finish with subtle wash of watercolour to fine tune the tones. Then the piece is ready for stitching. This stage is very important as it literally ties together various elements of the painting, without which the painting feels unresolved.”

Mathew Bourne

His landscapes are absolutely incredible in terms of texture through paint application. I absolutely love the lively, excited movement created by the artists signature moves with the paint. The content creates quite a dreamlike feeling. Everything about this artists landscapes really appeal to me. They remind me of the experimenting that I myself have been enjoying exploring with pallet knives.

References for information and quotes:

Researching artists suggested by my tutor

  • Jenny Saville
    The skin tone achieved by Saville is unique. Although natural there is something really raw and stripped back about her paintings of the human form. Fitting for her subjects and what she wants to say as an artist. It’s quite poetic to use the paint itself to aid in the story, not just the painted subject.

  • Euan Uglow
  • 1932-2000
    His tonal range is incredible and very natural/ realistic. His ability to create life like dimensions with his paint is one of inspiration.

  • Luc Tuymans
    Unusual skin tone very distinct and quite haunting.

  • John Currin
  • 1962 American based in New York.
    “Best known for satirical figurative paintings which deal with provocative sexual and social themes in a technically skillful manner. His work shows a wide range of influences, including sources as diverse as the Renaissance, popular culture magazines, and contemporary fashion models. He often distorts or exaggerates the erotic forms of the female body, and has stressed that his characters are reflections of himself rather than inspired by real people.”

  • Sally Muir
    Very dull colours. I understand how this itself can say a lot about a portraits subject.

  • Paula Rego</lhtm
    Surrealist and a very dreamlike approach to the human form. Quite reminds me of my approach to eyes.

    I am currently working on some critical readings of some examples and sketchbook work to follow.

Research point: The evolution of paintings (18th century to present day)

Spending time researching this area brought out many interesting changes through time. From imaginary subjects, through biblical times, romantic settings and atmospheres through to modern interpretations of this genre. The following are some that particularly stood out for me representing a passage through time, mainly 18th century to present day:

Cao Fei, The Birth of RMB City 2009. Second life environment. Tacita Dean, Bubble Hose 1999. R-type photograph 99×147 (39×57 1/8). No place Utopian possibility.
Modern contemporary artists such as the example above most definitely voice their environmental concerns through their interpretations of this genre.

Vincent van Gogh 1853–1890
Title: The Oise at Auver 1890
Medium: Graphite and gouache on paper
Dimensions, Support: 473 x 629 mm
Collection: Tate
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933

Up until the eighteenth century landscapes weren’t seen as important in terms of recording them for historical purposes or documenting them for educational purposes.
“By the late nineteenth century, some of the world’s most beloved landscapes were being painted by artists like Van Gogh and Monet, practising the technique of en plein air, or painting outdoors. Now that pre-mixed boxed paints were readily available, the artists could travel outdoors to paint amidst a more natural setting, further developing the quickly changing social customs and the idea of the weekend. The bourgeoisie could take the train to the countryside on the weekends, escaping the drab of the city. Moments like these were captured by the Impressionists and their contemporaries, documenting this new lifestyle in paintings of landscapes and social scenes. Their modern masterpieces broke ground for today’s contemporary landscape artists”.

Research point: Artists who have sought to express the more emotional and subjective aspects of landscapes:

I had spent a large amount of time researching this area. Here are some of the examples that I have come across:

Salvador Dali (Surrealist – Dream like):

The persistent memory
1931 oil on canvas
9.5 inches x 13 inches
Location: Museum of modern art New York
I love how Dali uses the landscape to express his story: “The craggy rocks to the right represent a tip of Cap de Creus peninsula in north-eastern Catalonia. Many of Dalí’s paintings were inspired by the landscapes of his life in Catalonia. The strange and foreboding shadow in the foreground of this painting is a reference to Mount Pani.”

Gustav Klimt (Symbolist movement):

The birch wood
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Birch Forest
signed ‘Gustav Klimt’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
43¼ x 43¼ in. (110 x 110 cm.)
Painted in 1903

“Klimt’s landscapes express his wider concerns with biological growth and the cycle of life. Their dazzling decorative surfaces and abstracted motifs align him with emergent modernist tendencies. The trees depicted in Pine Forest I 1901 seem stylised, rendered in a strict vertical rhythm with reduced spatial depth, the quasi-pointillist brushstrokes recalling the treatment of costume in his portraits of Marie Henneberg and Hermine Gallia. The foliage in The Park 1909–10 is similarly flattened while his late Garden Landscape with Hilltop 1916 recalls the symbiosis of naturalism and ornament in the contemporary work of Egon Schiele (1890–1918).”

Paul Nash (Emotional and subjective aspects of landscape):


Wood on the downs 1930 (Aberdeen art gallery)

One of the most evocative landscape painters of his generation. Tate gallery says “Nash, however, found his personal inspiration in the English landscape and he saw himself in the tradition of English mystical painters William Blake and Samuel Palmer. He was particularly drawn to landscapes with a sense of ancient history: grassy burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts and the standing stones at Avebury and Stonehenge. For him these sites had a talismanic quality which he called genius loci, or ‘the spirit of a place’, and he painted them repeatedly.”

Landscape painters of this genre really do bring such a greater depth to the world around us. Yet again through art a subject that can often be taken for granted, can be used to express the depths of a persons soul. Beautiful!

Reflecting on part 4 before moving on to assignment 4

I have to say that I am really surprised by how much I enjoyed this subject area. There are so many way that I am continuing to practice and explore in this area that I will continue to add to my learning log, especially in terms of leaves and trees and how to convey them through paint. I did prefer many of my watercolour paintings over the acrylic. This is something I am exploring greatly at the moment through my sketchbook. The bold brush marks appeal o me greatly through acrylic. However I find the watercolour translates what I want to say to a much greater degree. I will continue to experiment with this.

I am also really happy with how my studies and confidence with colour are going. This subject really allowed my to explore the complexity of changes within a single colour and how much of a variety of options I have available and should be exploring. I am excited to see where this takes me.

In my opinion a successful landscape can beautifully take your breath away. Nature at its finest and most pure, is stunning and to be able to capture and translate that breath of life and beauty is an incredible talent, one that I plan to practice and grow in a very personal way. I can take so much forward with me thanks to the knowledge that I have gained so far. Very exciting.

Reflecting on tutor’s feedback from Part 3 and Assignment 3

My tutor’s feedback was really valuable and has most definitely helped me grow, especially through my sketchbook presentation. The following are key points to learn from, as well as points for personal growth, etc. Also reflection on feedback and notes:

  • I was surprisingly challenged by this section. The human form is one of my favourite subjects to draw. However I feel that taking this in to painting has brought an area of my art that is in much need of exploration and practice. Practice drawing the human form more and finding a way of expressing it artistically is agreeably an area that I am spending time developing over time and will continue to do so. I have also been developing my sketchbook through coursework subjects recently which I will be adding to my blog and working on continuously too.
  • I agree with and enjoy the lively mark making through my painting. I do have more confidence to an extent in more gestural work. I have been, am doing and will continue to push myself to see what I can develop.
  • Personal note: Make testers of samples pieces. Make connections between initial sketches, what they convey and the painted outcome. This is something that I have been spending a lot of time doing and has recently helped evolve my recent assignment. It has taken my preparation work forward vastly.
  • I appreciate advise on how to loosen up my painting method and be less constrained.
  • I spent time after my previous feedback looking at Jenny Saville and Euan Uglow to see how they use colour to make the flesh appear more flesh. I will spend some time reflecting on this in a future post.
  • Personal notes: Treat background and the subject equally, research background, Luc Tuymans and work brighter and lighter. Also explore the subject rather than trying to refine it.
  • I appreciate the comment that my enjoyment of the challenge shows through my work.
  • Personal notes: Look at John Currin and Sally Muir.
  • Personal note: Examine the way that Charmaine Olivia uses palette knives.
  • Personal note: Other artists sketchbooks: Paula Rego, Frida Khalo, Marc Chagall, etc (search online).
  • Personal note: Research paint as a subject.

Self portrait feedback:

  • There is so much very helpful feedback that I find really helpful and will undoubtedly make it stronger when I work on it again. I agree that currently the face and background appear to be on the same plain.

I look forward to taking all of this forward with me. It has already helped me greatly through how I have been progressing so far.