‘Without Me – left clutching the hanger’

To continue with my selfies projectI have been doing some charcoal sketches of myself, trying to capture an image of me trying to grab my escaping dress. I also tried a couple of other dresses to see how it might work.



I felt this one worked the best, as I look like I have just fallen over.


The longer dress give more ‘flow’ and I think works better. (I am running out of dresses!)

A quick sketch to work out compositon…20171113_150951

I decided to work with the paynes grey again, with white when needed, and maybe add in pops of red for interest. I will work in the same way as before, using small brush strokes and building up the layers. Keeping it simple with not too much detail.


I think it is working well. I have given myself red knickers ,-) and am considering a red setting sun outside the window. Will continue tomorrow.

'Without me-left clutching the hanger'

I think it is finished. It has an almost ghostly feel to it, I think.

This selfies project has shown me how an idea can evolve and develop and in turn lead on to new ideas, from my ’15 selfies in payne’s grey’ to ‘without me’, taking inspiration from other artists and photographers; Cathy Lomax and Sam Taylor Johnson. I feel I will continue with this idea and maybe do a series of these escaping garments. (But now I need to finish assignment 5…)


‘Without me’: reflection & analysis and a new project.

‘The ‘without me’ paintings have some varied and interesting qualities in the brushwork, tonal values and how you build up the layers of paint. For example have a look at (and analyse) #2 Bette and #4 Ibiza. What might you learn from this analysis and take into other work? Set some aims to develop.’

By varying the  brushstrokes  and tones in the background, it has helped me to describe a light source and to add to the feeling of the dresses floating in the air by themselves. ‘Bette’ and ‘Ibiza’ are dresses with a lot of loose folds and ‘flow’ within the material, and this I think works best in this series, by adding interest to the garment, in the form of light and dark shaded areas. They were also more interesting and challenging to paint!

My next idea to develop in this series, is to introduce myself, in my underwear, trying to grab the dress as it escapes away….maybe with a coat hanger in my hand and perhaps a crack of a doorway, with light coming in, that the dress is heading for? I have been looking at the photographic work of Sam Taylor Johnson, who has produced quite a body of work that is basically selfies she has set up and taken of herself, floating in a room, attached to balloons or falling off a chair. Harnesses have been removed digtally.

source: http://samtaylorjohnson.com/photography/art/self-portrait-suspended-2004



I like that there is no shadow for the chair. Of course, I will not be able to suspend myself in this way (although I’d loved to!) but I find these photographs inspiring.



Assignment 4: Tutor feedback and my reflection


Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Your planning and preparation for the refinery helped inform the final assignment .
Good to see you bringing your own ideas into the assignment brief and researching more
In future do aim to do a minimum of six studies prior to the final work. As this is where you can practice and plan; composition, tonal values, colour and qualities of brushwork…
It has benefited you to set some simple aims for yourself (outside of the assignment tasks).
Starting with a clear set of intentions helps you to focus on what you want to explore and
develop . I would encourage you to continue to do this as you progress , this will begin to inform your developing personal voice.
It would be useful for you to explore several options for your composition at the prep stage. Some useful research that informed both aspects of your palette and the looser brushwork .
Elements of the canvas work well ; some simple yet lovely brushwork in the refinery structures and lights , use of red to punctuate elements in the foreground refinery (a nod to Turner here) and a varied use of dry – wet paint .  Ask yourself what you would change, develop or improve on and what will you take from this to your next assignment? Then write this into your assignment 5 proposal .

From this I will take the looseness that I achieved by working quickly outside to capture the moment and feeling of the scene. I will definitely do more preparation sketches for my assignment 5 landscapes and explore composition options more thoroughly.  I was not really intending to put the roundabout in – my aim had been for just the refinery so I need to mark out the proportions of a scene first rather than just ‘going for it’. This is what I would change perhaps.  La refineria croppedHaving said that, I am not unhappy about the inclusion of the roundabout and I am not sure this cropped version works better, although it does give the sky and smoke with the shinning lights (which I feel works best) more prominence. This above is closer to what I intended, as can be seen from my prep sketches.

Looking at tutor commentary

‘Watch the commentary by tutor Michelle Whiting on POP1 student Adrian Eaton . Interesting in terms of his approach to paint handling, colour palette, mark-making etc and how he translates his shift in focus to ideas around the ‘Selfie’,

I enjoyed watching the assessor’s commentary on this student. Actually, I really liked his urban paintings but it is his ‘selfies’ work I shall comment on.

His use of foreshortening in these paintings is dramatic, and of course more apparent than they would appear in a photograph (I have noticed this before…I can only conclude that it is because it is unexpected in a painting..) This means that the faces appear huge and the bodies shrink away.  I think is showing the faces that the girls pull when taking these selfies – somehow they strive to all look the same (what ever happened to wanting to be different?!) And also showing themselves in states of undress; to show off the results of a severely limited diet..?! There is a feeling of caricature about them all. The eyes are very real though and as the commentator says, glazed looking, focused on getting that pose just so to show themselves at their (perceived) best.

The colours are bold and blockey with not a lot of blending; they are quite linear at times. Brush strokes are evident, particularly in the hair. I note the bold high lights as well and particularly in the eyes which added to the glassey effect.


Exercise: preparing a textured ground

I have 4  x A5 canvases and I thought this might be a good chance to use them to experiment on. I covered one in glue and then stuck on a load of leaves from the orange tree we have. I then painted the glue over the top and covered it in plastic so I could weight this down a bit flatter. When almost dry I peeled the plastic off. I then painted over the whole thing in thick white acrylic paint. I then painted over the leaves using a green and blended in some white and a darker shade and used a yellow orange to contrast at the back, leaving some white to show through. I am wondering what to do with it now…

Orange leaves
Orange leaves

I collected some sand and shells the last time I was at the beach. I covered a board with glue and then covered this with sand. I scraped away one side, where I imagined some sea water coming in, and also some footprints in the sand. When it was dry I painted in the water with a blue and left some white, and in the foot prints I also added some blue and white and dabbled a little gold as well.  I think this worked rather well. The sand is quite securely on there.

Beach walk

I glued rice and some grasses onto the next one. The rice doesn’t stay on that well, although it gives a good texture. The grasses however did and were easy to paint over, much to my surprise.



I used the glue quite thickly on here into a swirly pattern and stuck on some things from my button box. When dry, I painted over with white and then with pink and blue with a touch of silver to high light. There is something female about this and the colours made me think of baby clothes. It all seems to be securely on there.

Buttons & babies
Buttons & babies

This type of work is not something that I have a great interest in; thus it was difficult to get myself to focus. I think the sand worked best and it is the one I am most pleased with, maybe because I scraped into it to create the shapes.

Assignment 5 proposal #2: ‘Juxtapositions’

Following tutor feedback from assignment 4,  I have reconsidered my proposal for assignment 5.

the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
“the juxtaposition of these two images”
Whilst painting the oil refinery for assignment 4, I noted that there are some Roman ruins amidst this area and I mentioned what an unusual contrast a painting of both would be. I believe my landscape with the oil refinery was successful as I did a lot of the painting ‘en plein aire’,  which loosened up my style somewhat. I also started to think about other contrasting things around this area and have come up with these ideas for a series of landscape paintings for my final assignment, which I hope to paint in the same way that I did the refinery, that is most of the work and sketching done outside… (I will need to do some ‘reccys’ when I return from a 2 week holiday,  and will then add more detail to this proposal. )
  • Juxtasposition #1 ‘Don Quixote’s vision of the future’. We have a lot of wind turbines in this area, and I know of a road where there is a chance to get quite close to some of them, and there is also a great view of another white pueblo in the distance, Casares. I was thinking of a turbine really close that would dominate the front, to one side, maybe cropped and the hill town in the distance. Lots of ariel perspective. A chance to paint some ‘Turneresque’ light.  (photos are my own.) 

  • Juxtaposition#2 ‘Stork City‘. There is a place I call Stork City,  about 30 minutes from home, that has a lot of large electrical pylons and boxes along side the railway line that the storks like to nest upon. I love this idea that the storks have made use of these made made things. I could contrast the hard silver metal and electrical lines with the large, twiggy nests and the vegetation around there…palm trees, bamboo etc. Maybe even the railway line itself.  I have lots of photos of the storks that I have taken so if they are not there I can add some in. IMG_6932source: http://www.iberia-natur.com/en/weissstorch/20100122_Storchenkolonie.html




  • Juxtaposition #3 ‘From Spartacus to Blade Runner‘.  Roman ruins against the oil refinery. It would have to be day time for the opening hours to this place, which is stated as 10.00 – 14.00.  Only one of their photos show the refinery but it is plumb  in the middle so I think they have perhaps been choosy with their shots. I have not been there yet but it should, looking at a map, I hope,  be possible to get a view with the tanks and chimneys behind the stones and pillars. I am imagining soft sandy coloured stones against the hard steel and smoking chimneys, plus trees etc.a5 https://www.sanroque.es/turismo/carteia-san-roque-romana

Looking at Turner’s Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle: Colour Study 1798-9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
Dolbadarn Castle: Colour Study 1798-9 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 source: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/D04166

‘Turner’s: Dolbadarn Castle study and oil painting: Do more thorough analysis of his use of brushwork, colour, the composition and how he builds up the painting . Then ask yourself, how might this understanding and knowledge inform your own.’

This piece speaks to me of the vastness of the sky and the mountains. You can see the wind and the freshness of the air in the clouds, and the sunlight breaking through up the valley. The castle stands tall, but is overshadowed by the mountains. My eye is drawn to the carved steps up to the castle and the red presence in the lower foreground.

Turner has used cool greys and whites, with a touch of warmer pink in the sky. He appears to have worked loosely with his brush to build up the layers in the sky to form the clouds and give the movement; they do not seem to be static in the sky but moving and swirling, which he describes beautifully. There is  brilliance in the centre as the sun tries to break through, he has used whites with some red to give a pinkness suggesting the warmth of the sun behind. The clouds are low and over the tops of the mountains. The further mountains are also described in the blueish greys of the sky to give ariel perspective. The nearer foreground he switches to brown, earthy colours, with horizontal brush movement. I believe the flat area it is a lake in front but appears brown as it is reflecting the near ground. He has suggested some vegetation with upward strokes. I am guessing now the red is a boat of some kind. He uses a strong broken movement with his brush for rocky areas.

I notice how he sweeps boldly with his brushwork and how that movement is carried around the whole picture and also how effective is his use of restricted pallette. He has used the rule of thirds for the positioning of the castle.

So Turner’s work is about the light breaking through and the movement within which gives the energy and atmosphere to his work. I want to bring this energy and movement to my own landscape work by suggesting with the brushwork rather than trying to be too realistic or accurate and also to look at the light and dark areas in the composition and what the general movement patterns are;  whether with the light, clouds or the wind in the trees.  Ultimately, to showing the atmosphere or feeling for a place, perhaps more than photographic accuracy.