Part 5 – third wave of ideas

This time I’m reviewing my #lockdownart paintings. Movement restrictions have characterised this module like no other and, whether I intended it or not, some of this has leaked into the work itself.

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It’s a long time since I wore a mask. Back then they were in a cupboard on the ward but now they’re on my sideboard. I stained a standard blue issue mask with inks; the inks leaked through several layers of the sugar paper it was resting on, then I let it drip onto the paper from my easel. When all the items were dry I took photos, pasted them into a video editing app, and added a sound track from my little stock of recorded clips. This one is of the tide crashing onto the beach at Lancing, a place I hope to get back to before I forget how to drive.

Photos via iPhone 8, sound by iPhone 8 using Voice Recorder, video made in Filmora9 by Wondershare. Sound is slowed and the bass is enhanced.

7th July and I’m back to the locks – this time with a paint sketch of an old key on crumpled packaging paper (Amazon) sealed with transparent gesso. The idea at this stage is to show the key half submerged as an illustration of where we are with research into preventative/curative/alleviating treatment for this disease.

Lamp black, Naples yellow, titanium white, ultramarine blue, cad orange, copper (imit).

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Details:

I’m looking for rusty, shiny, old metal; turbulence, light, and heavy depth. The texture of the crumpled paper is offering ridges and valleys as resistance and making its own patterns which I intend to follow. I need a little more above surface definition for the key, and better hints at the submerged area. The paint needs to dry first.

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Judicious application of fineliner. I find looking at my paintings as photographs gives them a quality of distance that’s more than physical. They’re not mine and so they’re easier to ‘see’ objectively. Also, the way digital photography works tends to pull out details I don’t see in the original and that I can either capitalise on or reduce as required. I can see a log pier with a fort on the end of it now and some kind of sculpture on the left at what must be the entrance. It brought to mind a book I read recently called The Wall by John Lanchester which is about guarding the coastline from invasion by ‘the others’ whom no one has ever seen. There are some deeply pertinent references to isolation and the awfulness of disobeying or failure to keep The Others out, and the political pertinence is drawn out in Tom Holland’s review in the Guardian in 2019.

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8th July. Fineliner is more permanent than I’d thought so I washed it and then added some less dilute paint to that ‘sea’ area. I also highlighted the key with copper acrylic, heavier at the top than the submerged area, added colour to the higher parts of the sky and whiter starker tones to the horizon. I quite like the torn paper and the rather threatening ambiguity of the image. To me, while I can still see the key, this still resonates with Lanchester’s Wall but now I’m not sure if it’s the sky that’s boiling or the business end of the key that’s on fire. I’ve temporarily taped it to a piece of A1 cartridge for want of any better solution, but as I’m thinking this might be my support of choice for this series of paintings, I need to think about how to manage the end results. I’ve had another delivery so there is more Amazon brown packing paper but it’s a finite supply and more isn’t guaranteed so, as with the toilet rolls at the beginning of this episode, I’ll need to be judicious about use.

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Details.

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Something of a solution here. I used Paintshop Pro to remove the background. A bit fiddly but there’s zoom to help get into the corners. I think that’s better than the variable quality of shade/light/tone on the cartridge paper. Amazingly, the little shadows are there!

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Holland, T. 2019. The Wall by John Lanchester review – The Others are coming. [online] Available at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/19/the-wall-john-lanchester-review Accessed 7 July 2020.

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