Haiku to Klimt

A small piece arising from an exercise in the Studio Practice module of my OCA painting degree. This is gold and silver acrylic on black cartridge primed with gloss varnish. The thin dark marks are scratched texture made with a pen.

Gold; leafed and shaped to
the wish of a painter's hand
in the longest kiss.

Haiku to Klimt - SCH 2021

Its journey, along with some other pieces, is here.

Short hiatus

When you’re doing a course, every so often there’s the inconvenience of preparing an assessment portfolio. These days, it’s digital so there’s no more wrestling of large pieces into massive cases for posting. Or, increasingly because now there’s something a bit more worthwhile in there, worrying till it gets to its destination and back. One time, I found someone else’s sketch book in amongst my stuff.

Still, there’s the selection, the photographing – clean crop, dirty crop (bit of contextual background), and some detail, the essay (500 words at this stage and to be submitted for plagiarism checks), a raft of blog posts referring back to learning outcomes (what??!), and a 750 word doc or six minute video artist statement.

Basically it’s admin [yawn].

I’m getting it done in short bursts in between long bursts of prevarication because the deadline is some way off, but now I’ve run out of legitimate prevaricants [<– new made-up word and I like it] so Strayfish Arts will have to take a back seat for a while.

If you’re so inclined, the blog for the current course is here. See you on the other side!

Side project – copy a Degas

Animation with audio. This one lost its soundtrack in Instagram and thence Facebook, the one below didn’t. The difference? A track by someone who knew what they were doing (but which wasn’t subject to licence) versus a DIY job by me using Magix Music Maker.

The text on each of these is intended to bring the painting into the 21st century.

The animation was made in MotionLeap for iPad, the video with audio in Filmora10, the audio for the first video was provided by Epidemic Sounds, copyright free and subject only to Creative Commons licence which recognises fair use, and the track for the second video was made in Magix Music Maker by putting together, clipping, cutting, and fading, a number of clips from their suite of instruments.


Sometimes I just need to break out of a planned route and go off piste. At this point in the execution of the final assignment for UPM, I’ve a) had about enough of cartridge and building work, conservatories and mud, and b) I can’t do the last pair of paintings until there’s been another step towards completion which will give me a different configuration of the micro-landscape. So I’ve begun a copy/interpretation of Degas’ The Star’ (1880).

Whilst I have some misgivings about his propensity to lurk in the dressing rooms of young girls, a view not without substance according to Greer (2009) in her article for the Guardian, I’ve long been drawn to the way he depicts the lightness and fuzzy fragility of the nets and tulles of the dresses, and the way the dancers hold themselves both when performing and when backstage. And from the age of four…

View original post 642 more words

Contemporary art or palette?

Remember those quiz questions that go something like, UK law or Game of Thrones? Well here’s another – Abstract art or painter’s palette?

Whilst this may seem somewhat uncharitable with regard to contemporary art, I think there is a valid question lurking somewhere in the question. It’s the one about how art is judged, how we assign value to a piece of work, where we put it in the grand scheme of art history things.

I’ve discussed some of this elsewhere:

To me, contemporary art can be mystifying; what is it, what does it mean, is it just something nice to look at? Often there’s a design behind it, an intention, and it’s for us to experience the outcome, but sometimes there isn’t – or not much of one anyway. Spin paintings for instance, drips and dribbles and drops. So can something unintentionally ‘artistic’ or aesthetic be described as art?

Art or Palette? – Conboyhillpaintingmedia (wordpress.com)

Similarly, I’ve considered the role of association – who ‘likes’ the particular piece of work – and positioning, usually on a gallery wall or maybe taking up several rooms in a gallery if you’re Anish Kapoor. There’s a phenomenon called the Halo Effect whereby people perceived as having a significantly favourable characteristic, are often credited then with having many more. My suspicion is that this might also apply to creative output and the contexts it finds itself in.

… who were the enablers, the handy contacts, the people with money, the influencers (who may have no idea what constitutes ‘good’ but they know what will sell) who got it there? And where did it come from – the local market, someone’s attic, the back bedroom of a teenager with a laptop and a music app. It seems to me that the final question … should always be, would I judge this as ‘good’ if I didn’t know it was a Pollock?

“Would I say this was good if I didn’t know it was a Pollock?” – Conboyhillpaintingmedia (wordpress.com)

When people visit a gallery, they’re already geared to expect an experience consistent with being about to see remarkable art work. And let’s be clear, a painting hung on a pristine wall, maybe on its own and framed by two arched doorways and a corridor (a large abstract by Sean Scully appeared this way in a documentary) would have to try really hard not to look good or at least impressive. But what would those pieces, Scully’s for instance, look like in a less impressive context? A craft fair? Your loft? A garage sale?

I’m a psychologist and so my immediate thought is, who has done the experiments? Who has transposed pieces of work – big name/unknown artist – from one of these contexts to the other and measured people’s response to them? I haven’t come across anything yet but long ago something similar happened with a ‘prestigious speaker’ delivering a talk at a high calibre university, and while the talk was comprised of clear English in grammatically coherent sentences, it was total gobbledygook. Nevertheless it was highly rated afterwards by the audience of students and academics, which I think lends some credence to my extrapolation here.

This means I’m still at a loss as to what ‘good’ art as opposed to ‘high value’ or exhibited art might be, and so I present my Painting or Palette conundrum. I like it so does it matter? Here’s an animation which I like even better.

An introduction to the Halo Effect: Halo effect – Biases & Heuristics | The Decision Lab

21st century tondos

Original art work in acrylics on OHP film, framed in Paintshop Pro, animation via Pixaloop by Lightricks.
Original art work in acrylics on primed cartridge, framed in Paintshop Pro, animation via Pixaloop by Lightricks.
Original art work in acrylics over gloss, framed in Paintshop Pro, animation and sound track via Pixaloop by Lightricks.

All artwork and manipulated images (c) suzanne conboy-hill 2020. The art work they came from is on my dedicated UPM module blog here, here, and here.

Painting for practice

This is from my OCA blog, Understanding Painting Media:

“Periodically, when I get stuck or frustrated at how things are going, I make a copy of a painting that’s caught my eye. It could be the colours, the style, the composition, anything really; and I have a go at making something similar with my own preferred media and maybe adding some that the original artist may not have had to hand or didn’t care to use.”

Copy of Breitner’s ‘Gust of Wind’ 1890. Acrylics on duck cotton, approx size A2.