Black dog test layout

Black dog layout test.jpg

I have manipulated a photo of my painting in photoshop and then made masks and stencils out of each element with a view to creating a new work with solarfast exposed under stencils. I’m hoping this will give me some sharper edges, some serendipitous marks and so complex mixing of colours.

In the process I decided to try and expand the size of the work and used the biggest incarnation of each element that would fit on a A4 sheet for ease of printing and laminating. As a consequence the dog is strikingly larger than in the first painting but I thought that this actually works. As a metaphor for depression it is appropriate to have the dog overwhelming the man.

Gregory T Wilkins


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Gregory Wilkins: Varanasi, India: Portrait Number 1, 2017, Colour photography, acrylic paint, ink, graphite, embroidery thread, sewing thread, yarn, collage on canvas    Viewed 25 July 2020

Gregory Wilkins is an American artist who uses photographs, paint and stitch to create his works. I am lucky enough to be part of Textile stitch club which brings me mini workshops led by new textile artists three times per month. Last week was Gregory Wilkins.

It’s inspiring for me to see an artist working with photography to guide the work but with added texture and formal elements from both paint and stitch.

Starting with a photograph printed on fabric and building up from there is something I’ve done in the past and it gives me structure to work from and avoids jarring misproportions if that was not my intention. Starting with a blank page is very difficult for me and I enjoy the tweaking rather than the blocking in of the foundation.

I will definitely look at trying something with a fabric photo as base in the future.

I would like to try it with my current image but I need a male body to photograph on the bed and my partner just can’t be convinced. There are dogs next door I could ask to borrow for a photo. I don’t like to use stock photos. I was considering trying to manipulate the image I’ve been given to create a prone figure but not sure how well that would work. Still another thing to try.


Painting 2B week two

Lecture was on self portrait work. Next project relates to self.  

Artist at work – paintings showing the artist working on a painting, Eg. Lucien Freud – Painter Working.

Artist as other – Artist playing another role. Self fashioning Eg. Cindy Sherman – History portraits

The self as subject matter – Eg. Phillip Akkerman self portraits from 1981 onwards.

William Utermohlen

Williamutermohlen.JPG      Viewed 23 July 2020

This portrait was painted after he had been diagnosed with dementia that had been slowly coming on in the years prior to this.

So expressive with enough detail but bold lines, jarring colour and a sense of obliteration with the grey overlay to the face.

Did a couple of extra layers on my sketch painting and will probably stop there or might try and use bleach to put a bit of a rim of light along the top of the body. More to see if bleach will work rather than anything else. The fabric is tussah silk though so I better be cautious. Wondering how I can present my paintings though. I’d like to maybe add a bit of stitch. Or maybe that’s not necessary for this unit. This work is a bit representational. Don’t like that as much. Want to try making an evocative work but not as representational. Going to try using layers of stencils and painting.

Painting 2 B: Story/poem about my photo and phrase

Project one painting photos

It was so warm and sunny


I have started by looking for the stock image on the dreamstime website to see what it’s caption was. The result was The man with an imperious look and the description was man isolated over white background.

Looked at a large number of arrogant looking young men in leather jackets before I noticed the ID number on the side of the photo. 🙂

Lets start by describing the image to get some words started:

Young man posing against a white background, wearing a black leather jacket and looking directly into camera down his nose. Lips closed fairly tightly and almost slightly pursed. Two piercings in his left ear. Previously trendy haircut but not looking like it has lots of product. Cleanshaven, grey eyes, brown hair. Looks like he may not have a shirt under his jacket. Look is slightly dated.

Let’s call him Nathan – Its a slightly dated name.

Nathan was a model. He was 28 when when this photo was taken in 2005. He was at the peak of his career modelling for catalogues. The arrogant look came naturally to him. He thought it was sexy but the truth was that it a little too cold for a Kmart catalogue.  Modelling work slowly dried up for Nathan and he moved on to pulling drinks in a bar. He wasn’t happy with this but he needed money. The look changed to one more resembling resentment. Life wasn’t quite turning out how he expected. He was alone except for his dog Scruff. But Scruff made Nathan smile and forget his fading dreams for a while.

Scruff loved to walk and Nathan accommodated him most days before he went to work at the bar in North Melbourne. They walked the streets together and appreciated the trees partially obscuring the public housing towers. Nathan was glad he didn’t live in those. He lived in a terrace house where the sun streamed in a front window on to his bed in the morning. Scruff slept on the bed and other times gazed out the window longingly.

Then the world changed. At 43 Nathan was the first to lose his job when the bar closed because of restrictions. The truth is he was already a bit old for that job and the managers used the restrictions to cut him loose. He’d been a bit short with customers and some of the younger female staff found him a bit creepy.

Nathan had already been struggling. When he looked in the mirror he still envisioned the young, sultry model rather than the middle aged barman. And now to be an unemployed middle aged barman living alone with his dog…. At first he tried to keep up with activities within the range of the pandemic restriction. He walked Scruff each day for exercise and went shopping at the supermarket. He zoomed with friends, mostly now married admittedly, and he commiserated with his family over the phone. He’d never been one much for family but his Mum was old and afraid now and to his credit he did chat with her and take some groceries to her once or twice.

Thankfully with no partner or kids he had managed to pay off his house so JobSeeker only had to stretch to food and utilities. Life was cheaper anyway because there was nowhere to go out and he no longer cared about fancy clothes. Days were spent in tracksuit pants and ugg boots watching Netflix and drinking beer.

After the initial flurry of drama and anxiety surrounding the pandemic, Nathan found that he was feeling simple flat and uninterested. He reduced the number of walks with Scruff and slept in until lunchtime. Sometimes he didn’t bother showering because, let’s face it, you can’t smell over zoom, and anyway those calls had dropped off. Sometimes he didn’t speak to anyone the whole day. He ate in bed and let the rubbish pile up.

Scruff was loyal, he stayed with Nathan and licked his hand. Sometimes he barked to try and get Nathan out of bed. But Nathan just wanted to sleep. In sleep he found escape. Outside it was so warm and sunny, but inside Nathan was cold to the core.


Man lying on a bed beneath a window showing a sunny day outside. Black dog sitting on his chest and looking out the window. Man has eyes closed and is pale, slightly unnaturally so and a bit blue. Posture is a bit awkward or splayed out. Want to suggest that he might be dead or sleeping. Day outside is red and yellow. Bed is messy and there is rubbish around.

Trouble is I will struggle to render this image. Maybe I can take some photos and transfer them on to fabric first and then paint over that? ? some sort of collage.

Painting progress photo.jpg

Just mapping out a possible layout for the painting. Very difficult to work out what you’re doing wet all I can see with this light sensitive dye is that the fabric gets wet with a bit of yellow colour. Have to rely on what I know of colour mixing without getting the feedback of seeing it.

This first attempt is all painting but I think I could get better imagery if I used masks to manipulate the subjects better – working outside and masking figure for example and then working into figure. Will give me sharper edges and a different look.




Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun.JPG    Viewed 17 July 2020

Interesting artist mentioned in class yesterday that I had never heard of.

Seemingly inappropriately grinning faces highlight conflict between the setting and affect. Creepy and defiant at the same time. Presumably born out of living under a more oppressive regime. His own website was blocked by China too when I tried to go to it.

Painting 2B Starting to work on first task

First task involves linking a photo of a person and a line of text together to create a new work.

Project one painting photos.jpg

It was so warm and sunny


My first idea was to devise a warm and sunny landscape with the text from a close up of this man’s not so warm and sunny looking lips. This is what I did the other day resulting in this work.


I cropped out just a part of his mouth and then turned it upside down and then printed the text across the bottom. The text was all crushed up because the enlargement of the picture was so huge and that is the explanation for the degradation into pixels too.

So in my work above I have used the formal qualities of the photo only to try and create a literal landscape work based on the text.

… Not sure that this is the full intention. Sounds like other possibilities include looking at the text and the image and creating a narrative that could be outside of the image. Then using that to create a work.


Suggestion was to look at each individually first:


Young man looking directly to camera down his nose. Lips have a sense of being firmly shut, almost pursed. Wearing a leather jacket with the collar turned up and arms folded. Clean shaven and trendy haircut so doesn’t really look like a bikie despite the jacket. Left ear has two piercings.  Photo is taken from waist height which gives the feeling of him looking down.

I don’t enjoy looking at this photo. Looks like he is possibly trying to be intimidating and closed. Not the sort of person I would like.


My first thought is of a nice warm day and I imagine an orange landscape. I associate warmth with security and sun with happiness.

But the phrase could also be taken in a more negative way –  If you were dying of thirst in the desert you could be thinking  – It was SO warm and sunny

Need to do a bit more work on this.