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.




Photography – Week Two

Watched a video of Errol Morris talking – always an elephant just outside the frame.

Elimination from photo is never visible.

Documentary to possibly watch – Gates of Heaven – on you tube.

Werner Herzog – film maker – watched Werner Herzog eats his shoe

We don’t have adequate images.

Ambiguity – multiple potential meanings.

Image assemblies:

Series, sequence, survey and story


Set of related artworks with a common title.


Images in a particular order which may be chronological, temporal, spatial.

Ordered, logical, progressive/regressive

Suits process oriented approaches – ? showing the development of an image in sequence.


Exploration of a subject – breadth or depth.

Taxonomy – a system for naming and organizing things, especially plants and animals, into groups that share similar qualities    Viewed 21 July 2020


Narrative exploration of a subject

Pat Brassington

Had a look at The Pressings – A set of 10 diptyches arranged to look like they are in a book or a locket that could be closed with the faces of the images together.

Pat Brassington.JPG     Viewed 21 July 2020

It is a series of diptyches that are related under a common title, format and colour scheme. Presumably there are a few levels on which the title is appropriate for all images – the images have a generally flat rather than three D look. In the image above you can see the the flowers could be pressed flat and that the fabric is placed on a flat plane and not appearing to follow the body contours.

The images appear to be suggesting they could be folded together or pressed together

Martin also mentioned the pressings of wine – the left overs.

The diptych format encourages you to look firstly at the relationships between the two images of the diptych and secondarily look at the relationships between the diptychs in the series.

If the 20 images were arranged differently, out of diptych format, they could potentially be arranged to tell a story or sequence through time.

I find these images vaguely disturbing. The body ones are a bit like the informe – obviously flesh but not so obvious the context or even part of the body at first glance. They are cold images with a flash of red the cuts across them rather than warming them up.

Derwent Project: 

David Stephenson and Martin Walch

Multi year project collecting data and imagery around the Derwent River system and presenting this in video and still format showing the passage of time, river height, seasons, movement of objects from various locations along the length of the river.

One interesting presentation involved a still with slivers of time across a 24 hour period. So the whole day was represented travelling across the image from left to right. Camera position was static taking photos every 5 mins and then the photo was assembled from midnight to midnight only showing a sliver of the appropriate photo in its position as it read from left to right. Hard to explain but hopefully I understand my own explanation.

At a tangent to this I have a quilt in progress made up of slivers of photos on fabric of different colours and I was trying to rearrange these month by month by colour where each colour represents my emotional state of play in regard to my son for that month. So cool grief was blue and anxiety and fear yellow and red. Sort of similar sliver construction. Must get it finished.


Have to think how my images are going to be arranged. Currently I’m working on the simple diptych and triptych for the hurdle task but wanting to print on fabric, and a quilting background, means that I could assemble in a variety of ways, including cutting up to collage and to rearrange in sequence or story. Sort of an analogue version of the computer arrangements in the Derwent project . 🙂






Covid toes

Yesterday I took photos for a first idea for a triptych.

Had to re edit the feet photo so it may not be completely accurate to my actual transparency. Learnt my lesson there – didn’t save my photos after printing.

I used the idea of three associated words and chose feet, socks, ugg boots.

The photos are not the original photos but edited with a view to making transparencies to print on fabric. I plan to print in black and white with solar fast as I can only make a black and white transparency. Then I’ll hand colour a few points in red to resonate with the toe nail polish.

This work is referencing the changes that have come about in this time. Fancy shoes are gone, most days are spent in hand made socks and ugg boots. My feet have become flatter and dry.  Ugg boots are worn and stained. Socks are stretched and thread has come loose.  Only remnants of precovid times is my chipped and grown out nail polish from a beauty salon gift redeemed months ago, when such things were still possible.

Covid toes actually also refers to a actual condition – red lesions on the feet, possibly in response to endothelial vascular damage.

Article below from Science Daily :

Wiley. “Study supports link between COVID-19 and ‘COVID Toes’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2020. <>.
Viewed 20 July 2020

Study supports link between COVID-19 and ‘COVID Toes’

July 2, 2020
A new study provides evidence supporting a link between ‘COVID toes’ — red sores or lesions on the feet and hands in children and young adults — and COVID-19.

There’s considerable controversy over whether “COVID toes” — red sores or lesions on the feet and hands in children and young adults — are truly caused by COVID-19. A new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology provides evidence in support of the link.

In most cases, affected individuals test negative with traditional COVID-19 tests involving throat swabs and measurements of circulating antibodies, but this study’s investigators found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was present in skin biopsies in children with symptoms of COVID toes, despite negative results from traditional tests.

Analyses detected the virus in skin’s blood vessel endothelial cells, as well as in the sweat glands. Electron microscopy in one biopsy also found evidence of viral particles within endothelial cells.

“Our findings support a causal relation of SARS-CoV-2 with COVID toes. Endothelial damage induced by the virus could be the key mechanism causing these lesions,” said lead author Isabel Colmenero, MD, of Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, in Spain. “Furthermore, vascular damage could also explain some clinical features seen in patients with severe COVID-19.”


My first attempt. This is 13 inches x 19 inches which is the size of my biggest transparency. It is reversed because I inadvertently put emulsion down. There is also a lot of random artefact. I painted the dye on the back and then put the lot into a frame. This was actually black but is low contrast as usual and colour separation. I think I will try dye on the front next time and transparency on top and expose no frame. This exposure was 3 hours but I think I’ve taken it a bit far. It’s also quite dilute for black. I painted water on first but it’s meant to be able to stand 1:1 water to dye. Perhaps water on the back first meant it acted as a bit of a resist to the dye getting through to the front.

One good thing is the toenails. Just painted them with straight dye on to dry fabric and exposed. Very happy with that intensity of colour.


Michelle Piergoelam

This artist has produced art photography books with text and photos. The one that I looked at online tells a personal story of her near drowning in poetry and photos.

Screen Shot 2020-07-19 at 11.07.25 am.png

I heard water holds a secret        Viewed 19 July 2020

I found this artist in a grouping of 2020 Lenscratch student prize entrants

I was interested to see that a lot of photos are clearly contrived. They are not snaps but are partially constructed scenes that are then photographed. I am interested in this for my work as I would like my imagery to be emotive or have a background narrative. I also like using words associated with my imagery. Previously I have added text to my actual imagery but I’m now thinking of having text separate but guiding the imagery. So start with text like a haiku or a story and then construct imagery around that. I’m even wondering about making objects in other media to suit my ultimate image.

My work was already about the everyday and this covid situation really only contributes to that, leaving so many of us trapped in our houses surrounded by the things we have brought into our homes over a lifetime. Forced to look again at all our old stuff and evaluate our lives to date.

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.


Sculpture one first lesson – Impressions

I used home made dough to make impressions – hard, soft, smooth, rough, friable or fragile.

Had a bit of a problem because I made my dough with gluten, trying to be smart but instead it was very elastic and kept springing back and obliterating my marks!

Reflection on this activity:

Hard objects made the best marks as quite a bit of pressure had to be exerted to get a good mark. Others used hard objects to make repeated marks and patterns. I didn’t think of doing this but will in future as interesting patterns could be made from mundane objects. With my photograms I could do the same thing if I was prepared to do multiple exposures with one object or a single exposure with multiples of the same object.

Soft objects only gave a mark if they were also resilient and had a hard surface behind. And again the springiness of my substrate was a problem with these. Next time I will unearth my clay or I will make a lower gluten dough.

Smooth objects were boring unless you wanted to mould around them and get a 3 D structure, which you I did try and would be a way of creating a smooth 3 D surface. Difficult to get off though and there was talk in class about using releasing agents. Guess we’ll find out more about that.

Rough objects were interesting. My impression of bricks showed a lot more subtle detail than I was expecting. I’d like to make impression plates for printing intaglio, collagraphs or rubbings but I’m not sure of the best material. I have put polyclay through the press but it’s a bit expensive for larger size things. I did condition my polyclay yesterday thinking I might use it and I was pleased that it came up well even after years.

Friable objects crushed but did leave remnants which could add another dimension. As someone noted – if you then fired  the impression those traces would burn away and leave marks.

Impressions are another way of looking at my everyday objects but difficult to translate to solar printing which is my technique of choice currently for getting my imagery on to fabric, which is my ultimate aim.

I did bake my dough impressions yesterday and then stacked them up on to a solarfast primed piece of fabric and exposed. The impressions didn’t contribute to this at all but I was more thinking of future 3 D works being documented as photograms. If I had wanted to capture the impressions I could have photographed and then printed on to fabric from a transparency.

journal photo1.jpgjournal photo

Chiharu Shiota


Chiaharu Shiota.JPG

Uncertain journey 2019          Viewed 15 July 2020

Installation made from wire frame and red wool. Lots of complexity and the colour really adds to the evocative nature of the work. Her works in black yarn have a different feel. This would be a mammoth technical task and the curvy nature of the final work must be from layers of straight threads at different angles.


Photography 2B week one

Mostly about diptychs and triptychs today.

Joachim Froese:

Amazing photos in triptych forms. Photos of the everyday, looking closely at details around you. Resonates with my work which also focuses on the beauty and interest in the small details of everyday objects. He has called this Rhopography. – old fashioned term for still life with rhopos meaning trivial in Greek

Discussion in class about the technical aspects. How these are three photos but blended to match, whilst at the same time retaining points of difference that show that it is not a single photo.   Viewed 14 July 2020

Joachim Froese.JPG

Also did a brainstorming exercise linking words in pairs or threes to demonstrate how imagery could be linked in a diptych or triptych. Two words tended to be opposites but three words could be on a continuum or demonstrate passage of time.

Word combinations like this can be used to trigger ideas for images in in a diptych or triptych.

Reminded me of a previous idea I had to base imagery around a haiku poem when I tried to use text in my work.

Haiku is three lines –  before – action –  after. So would suit a triptych.

Uneasy peace

Cruelly sliced by madness

Black ice paves the way

Going to try and do today’s 100 day project print as a triptych of photograms based on the above.

Well can’t say I’m happy with this. Too blocky and not evocative. Getting good strong colour though when I expose for an hour with no transparency over the top.