Friday, 20 September 2013

Oh I Do Love To Be Beside The Seaside

Hello! Mabuhay! Bonjour! ...or whichever language you speak in. 

3 weeks in and I still feel slightly strange and weird. Anyway, I'll get straight to it and tell you how I am finding my foundation course at AUB.

Monday (16th of September 2013)

On Monday only had a morning session with our tutor group and an individual tutorial later for anyone who had a set time. Mine was around 3:35 and basically me and my tutor Simon sat down and looked at my loose work (drawings and such), sketchbook and learning journal. 

We all have this learning journal each and in it I have to write down the things I've accomplished, learnt, discoveries I've come across and all that jazz. After reflecting back on my work I have to evaluate it, write down strengths/weaknesses and then write an action plan to improve. It's not just a diary...Simon says.

This is a photo of it, looks rather dull and black but I've written some pretty expressive stuff in there...

My tutor said I could also actually write in this blog as a way of expressing my thoughts, what I've accomplished, etc, instead of writing tediously on the learning journal. I also think it will save me a lot of time drawing lines in the journal and having to write quite neatly. I'm a bit OCD when it comes to presentation.

So, from now on this blog will be my learning journal as well as the place where I post some of my own illustrations. My work from the foundation course might be written slightly more formally (and longer!) than usual so please bear that in mind, but I will also be posting some posts which may not be as formal, like I said with my own illustration work. 

This is a scan of the tutorial I had, summarising my progress so far and what I need to do.

My targets from this tutorial are:
  • Research contemporary practitioners in the field of children's illustration- make a list of top 5 illustrators; talk to Roland who is the pathway leader for Illustration in the foundation course. 
  • Try to use small sketchbook every day.
  • Attend extra life drawing classes whenever possible.

Tuesday (17th of September 2013)

In this session we had for the whole day we were just asked to create at least 10 pieces of ideas or more, to help develop a more finished piece to end the 2 week Art project. Like I mentioned in my previous post, this project has to somehow be based around these strange objects on the different islands within the room we were in, or the theme of islands itself. 

I ended up drawing some of the animals, creating mini concertina booklets and a collage piece.

For some reason the pictures I took on landscape on the camera aren't displayed on a landscape format when I uploaded them here :/ You're going to have to tilt your head to the side I suppose.

Wednesday (18th of September 2013)

We had a lecture on Wednesday on Western Culture Through The Ages (a quick sketch), informing us how different movements have influenced modern art. 
(The information here are my lecture notes and some that I have found/added myself so if I do get some of this wrong I will update it)

 These movements included:

Ancient Greece- the beginning of western culture. Ideas of beauty, art, democracy were formed. 

Ancient Rome-  a time of architecture, art, engineering. 

Middle Ages or what is known as the Dark Ages- a few people could read and write around this time and so not many documents were found during this period, hence the 'dark' in Dark Ages. Around this time Christianity flourished and a way of dealing with the decline in literacy was to create illustrations- particularly illustrating Christian stories.

Durham Cathedral (built from 1093-1128)

'May' from Tres Riches Heures by Paul and Jean Limbourg (1410)

The attention to detail is one thing to note in this piece and also the use of vibrant colour.

Renaissance (c. 1400-1600)

In translation 'renaissance' means 'birth' in French. During this period  there was a rebirth of interest in Ancient Greek and Roman culture.

There was also this idea of Humanism that came about where it placed renewed value on human knowledge-  instead of focusing on religion/ heavenly realm. 

The invention of the printing press also meant that books could be published to a wide audience- literacy rates soared. 

During the Renaissance was also a period of Scientific Revolution as well as the Artistic and Philosophical Revolution.

There was a conflict between Observation vs. Religion at that time. 

Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sistene Chapel, Michelangelo.

School of Athens, Raphael.

This painting is displaying some of the world's greatest masterminds, mathematicians, scientists, philosophers all gathered under one roof learning from each other and generating ideas. All lived at different points but have been painted altogether in this piece.

1700's- The Age of Enlightenment

A sense of individuality was beginning to emerge, religion slowly diminishing. 

The French & American Revolutions.

It was starting to become all about the individual, challenging the ideas of monarchy and power.

19th Century (Moving on to Modern)

Photography- taking photos meant that an image became permanent. (Speed, resolution).

The Modern Era (c. 1850- 1960)
  • Capitalism
  • Increased standards of living
  • Technological advances- steam powered machines (efficient), factories.
  • Urban growth- people moved away from the countryside to find a higher standard of living.
  • Secular society- paintings and sculpture were being questioned in Art.   

The Birth of Venus, Alexandre Cabanal. (1863)

Mythological, eroticism, a classical example of beauty.

In that same year when the painting above was created, Edouard Manet painted this piece...

Olympia, Edouard Manet.

This painting in particular was shocking at that time as the title of the piece 'Olympia' doesn't reflect that idea of a goddess like stature- the main subject was a modern day prostitute. The fact that she is looking at us, the viewer, with this expressionless look is not displaying that 'idealised', voluptuous, elegant essence that has been portrayed previously. 

The painting (Olympia) by Manet was based on...

Venus of Urbino, Titian (1538).

This would have been considered a 'normal' painting but Manet decided to go for a more daring route with his Olympia piece. He was beginning to question the idea of beauty.

"Pretty pictures" were made depicting the beauty of natural surroundings/ environment and what Manet did was to try and move away from that idea of perfectionism.

Boating, Edouard Manet (1874).

In this painting the artist was playing around with surface. The visible display of the expressive brushstrokes was not normally accomplished before, showing that sketchiness and the impressionistic strokes, again, was not normal. It was quite radical at that time to paint something like this. It was considered 'wrong' and odd as it gave a new perspective- it wasn't realistic. Manet was beginning to challenge the way of painting. 

Along came Impressionism...

Characteristics of Impressionism:
  • High keyed palette- new colours (set painters apart)
  • Sketchy brushwork- not resembling to a photographic image.
  • New subject matter.
  • Influence of photography on compositions.
  • Shocking- new and different ways of perceiving.

These unfamiliar Japanese woodcut prints influenced some artists like Van Gogh where it gave unusual viewpoints. Due to their bold use of colour, Van Gogh used it as a means of emotion- to represent and convey of how he felt about a particular place. 

The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh (1889)

Along also came Picasso who also played around with colour 
and challenging the idea of what Art is...

(Another influence were African masks and relics of the Dan and Ashanti tribes)

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Pablo Picasso (1907)

The painting above was a massive change, a shock. Here Picasso paints five prostitutes in a distorted, ugly and barbaric fashion on a large scale canvas (having more of an impact on the viewer). His new approach to painting meant it was difficult to understand what the artist was depicting- he completely abandons perspective. In the past  a sense of beauty was attained through painting the female figure, but now the artist changed that.

Picasso was trying to say that Art is not just about entertaining people and "pretty pictures". He was trying to challenge perceived reality (of beauty and elegance), testing the creativity of the human mind. 

He was rejecting tradition and gave birth to Cubism. The idea behind Cubism is to abandon one point of view. He fragmented his subject matter, moving around it so that the different sides could be shown. Picasso moved away from imitating nature and the way things came across at first hand. 

Ma Jolie, Pablo Picasso (1912)

The artist was also trying to question materials, again, experimenting in unconventional ways. Picasso was playing games, breaking the rules and questioning reality.

Guitar, Pablo Picasso (1913)

Mostly everyone was trying to say that this way of depicting a subject matter is not real. And what Picasso is trying to say within this piece is "What's more real than real?". Something to note in the piece is that he stuck real newsprint and wallpaper on the surface which made it more 'real'.

20th Century Art

During this period Art was a form of self-expression where it was mostly all about the individual creating works for himself, moving away from the classical traditional ways.

A way to describe this would be going "into a kaleidoscope of artistic practices".

Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue, Piet Mondrian (1935).

Mondrian thought about underlying structures behind his subject matter and approached his works in a minimalistic way.

Composition VII, Wassily Kandinsky (1913).

Kandinsky was mostly trying to convey feelings and sensations within his art. He was trained as a musician and translated the musicality aspect in his works, playing around with shapes and colour to represent movement and structure.

Bauhaus was founded after the first world war, the first school of design to be built based in Germany.

The Bauhaus movement introduced one of the most popular, distinctive styles in modern design, having a massive influence on art, architecture, product design, interior design, graphic design, etc.

This period was thought of as 'a century of violence'- the dismantling of colonialism. 

And to forget these horrors, a radical, crazy framework was established within the world of Art.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp (1917)

L.H.O.O.Q., Marcel Duchamp (1919).
To create this piece of artwork Duchamp brought a postcard of the Mona Lisa and drew on a moustache and the letters l,h,o,o,q. When saying the letters in French translation, this means "she has a hot arse". Duchamp was crude (in some ways clever) to think up of something like this, making a joke on the most popular painting of all time created by Da Vinci. 

Automatic drawing, Andre Masson.

The artist drew without having a preconceived idea on the outcome or a subject matter without control, just drawing automatically through instinct. He soon found subtle hints of image such as bodies and objects from the abstract lines. In some cases he added sections onto the drawings or making changes but kept the ink traces intact.

That is where we left off from the presentation and some time this week there will be a continuation.

The images above obviously aren't mine but they are just there for visual reference.

From this particular theory lesson I admired the way in which the lecturer was talking about the different movements and the way she described the pieces of art in great depth with such complex vocabulary. I should also try and show the technicality aspect if I were to describe some pieces of my work.

Thursday (19th of September 2013)

By Thursday we had to have made a final piece, finishing off the Art project which lasted for two weeks. We had a critique and this is where we had to look at other people's work and write comments about their project and final piece.

The day before I was still stuck on ideas and what I did was just play games with some props I had.

This was the cake topper from my 18th birthday debut and I created a character based on this.

I was listening to a song called 'Islands' by a band called The XX. I played that song on repeat and came up with an idea...

The final (not quite finished) piece. I worked with mixed media combining acrylic, magazine cutouts, packaging strips, coloured paper, colouring pencils and pen.

Overall, I am quite glad with how the outcome turned out but could have refined it slightly if I had more time. I could have also added some of the strange objects on the island but I think that would have made the piece even more complex.

And all of that work I did for two weeks was based loosely around this ...


I always find it fascinating looking through other people's work and I got a lot of inspiration from that critique session.

This was my critique sheet:


All in all the art experience I thought at times was fun and enjoyable as I liked the freedom to do whatever I liked but at times thought needed a bit of guidance. Art is very much open and what I feel I lacked on this two week project was experimentation work. Next time around I need generate more ideas in order to produce a variety of work. I also didn't feel like I didn't take enough risks, I could have experimented with more unusual materials that I may have not worked with in the past so that this shows how I have worked outside of my comfort zone.

I think one of my strengths would have to be my broad range of research and I think that shows how I have been influenced with the subject matter I have drawn upon. Research helps tremendously to gain inspiration and ideas. The workshops helped refine my drawing skills, introducing me to unconventional ways of drawing a subject matter. From those workshops the time we were sometimes given to work on a piece (ranging from 5 seconds to 25 minutes) also influenced the way I approached to drawing. Throughout these two weeks I mostly considered upon composition and showcasing expression within my pieces.

Coming up with new and exciting ways to drawing may also be something I need to consider as I have a particularly keen interest in the area of Illustration within Art. 

Friday (20th of September 2013)

I had a day off on Friday and so when Alexina and our friend Anna finished their class we ventured off to the beach!



Anna built a box,
Alexina made a hole with a kitchen spoon
and I need a hug.

Oh, and our other housemate Marcella moved in this week! Her course starts later than ours because she's doing a degree and me and my two other housemates are doing foundation. (I will have a selfie with her at some point).

I apologise again for the long post. Just to give you a warning I will be doing this on a weekly basis as part of my course but don't let that stop you from coming to visit my blog!


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