I've had a longstanding interest in photography and film, so I was really excited to see this Lecture. What I really didn't know about and was eager to learn about was her process for creating art, as my limited experience with film and photography hasn't really given me much of an opportunity to develop any kind of style or consistent process. I really enjoy photography, because it allows me to focus on the design and composition of a shot. I find that the clear unadulterated focus on the composition - rather than the execution of the piece - is freeing, and allows me to create work on a higher level.
Freyer gave a lot of advice about being an art student and a student in general, which I found to be interesting and insightful. However, what I really was interested in was hearing about her own work. Something that I clearly hadn't realized was the amount of time and research that went into each of her films. I was amazed at how long she spent and how hard she worked at each and every film, and I was really impressed. I think that kind of research - maybe not to the same extent, but definitely some in order to gain a greater understanding of WHAT I'm photographing or filming, could be beneficial to my art.
I think the other thing I got out of her lecture was the importance of playing around and exploring different things. I enjoyed a lot of different styles last year, and now I really want to work on developing a voice or a process. The fact that Freyer seems to be always filming, an then balancing the footage in editing, is really interesting and intriguing to me. I think that idea of consistently filming is important - because not only does it provide a constant creative outlet, but it lets you practice your skills with your chosen medium at all times. I think I'd like to make a goal for myself to start carrying around my camera more in order to take more practice photos, and force myself to be constantly thinking about art and what art I could make.
I also found the brief technical bits about film and cameras very expensive, so here's a video talking about 16mm film, which Freyer used in her work:
In the end, I have to admit, I am unsatisfied with the outcome of my piece. I think in certain areas I achieved the effect that I was looking for - with kind of murky edges and infinite variations in color - but unfortunately, there were too many areas where I wasn't able to get that effect. I think the materials were certainly a part - using acrylic on a prepared canvas is very different than using acrylic stains on raw canvas, and I do think that had a pretty large effect on the final product.
I'm also not sure I'm completely happy with the composition. Honestly, it feels to similar to a Rothko, and I think I should have chosen a more experimental composition - maybe even turning the canvas sideways.
In all, I wouldn't say that I'm unhappy with the outcome, However, I would definitely say that there are some areas that could really use some fixing.
Finally, I am considering going over the entire painting with a matte medium. Right now, theres a lot of glare coming off the painting, especially with the fluorescent lighting, which makes it very difficult to see the variations in color. I think I'll go over the entire painting with a layer of matte medium next class, and it should make the piece more interesting, and the important parts too visible.
My work on the practice paintings certainly inspired my work on the final painting. While the technique I experimented in my second painting was much closer to that which I used in the final, I think there are some important comparisons to be made with my first practice as well. The translucent brown and swirled glaze that I laid over most of the surface really inspired me to pay attention to color. I knew before the first painting that I was interested in color, but that experience made me realize the ability to control and manipulate color that was possible with acrylic paints.
The second practice painting was largely an experimentation with materials. I was really trying to replicate the layered washes and glazes that color-field AbEx artists used, and in order to do that, I reversed the canvas. Unfortunately, the canvas didn't work too well, and the acrylic layers weren't dark or saturated enough to get the effect I was looking for. However, it did give me good practice with the color palette and composition that I was looking for.
I'm pretty happy with how the composition turned out. I think the balance is all right, and although if I were to do this project again, I probably wouldn't keep the same composition, I don't mind this composition, and I think it is effective. I worked with some more red this week, and added less water to build up that color a little more. I really like the saturated colors that have resulted - it feels much deeper and like there is real space to almost interact with. It definitely needs more work along the edges, but I think I'm getting pretty close to finishing this piece. It may have gotten a little too uniform in color, so I'll try to work some variations back in.
This week I struggled with composition. While I had some idea of what I wanted - I had really liked the black or dark red vertical bar on the side, which I copied from my practice painting, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the middle section. I also knew I wanted a big, black, rectangular block in the middle with some hole cut out from the middle of it, but I wasn't sure of the orientation of the rectangle or the hole. I drew a bunch of sketches and thumbnails, and I even played around with turning the canvas sideways for a little while. I almost convinced myself that I wanted to turn the canvas, before I realized that I liked it the original way better. So, without knowing exactly where I was going, I started to paint the black bar on the left side. I was pretty happy with how that went, and the edges I got on that, so I decided to push forward on the design that seemed to make the most sense to me, and just felt right.
So I went on with the painting, and then realized I was unsatisfied with it. I was no longer bothered by the darkness - I think that merely complements the subtlety - but now the shape in the front was too far removed from that ground. I really want those shapes and colors to blend together, almost as if the shapes in front are sinking into a sea of the reds. So at that point, I began to go back in, sometimes into the still wet black paint to bring in some red colors, but more with a pretty bright red over the bottom right hand corner. As I worked back and forth with the colors - pushing and pulling edges, I began to get the effect I was really looking for. I think the secret is really to not stress the work too much. Because the paint is opaque, it layers well, and nothing is completely permanent. I can just keep working at it until I reach the effect and result that I envision.
Firstly, my apologies for the extremely washed out picture - the room has some bright fluorescent bulbs that create a ton of glare.I made some progress this painting session, however, in some ways I think I regressed more than progressed. I started off by going back in over almost everything with a much darker "stain" (if I can call it that, as it doesn't really stain the canvas like it would on raw canvas). Unfortunately, I didn't watch this as closely as I should have, and it ended up dripping a bit and streaking in a way that I didn't like. To try to cover up the streaks, I went back again with more dark paint, which made the painting as a whole too dark in my opinion. While it may not align exactly with what I had in mind, I still really like the subtlety that I have created, and I think I can make it work quite well as I continue to work.
Here's my work on the first day of this project. At this point, I'm actually really happy with how its going. I am extremely nervous about actually starting works, and especially with something more permanent than pencil. However, I am really happy with this ground color that I've gone with. I think it allows for the depth and complexity in color and value that I'm really looking for, and when mixed aggressively with black like I've done in parts of this work, it creates a lot of interest and subtlety. I think I went in with the black a little too aggressively perhaps, and it made the work (so far) look like 2 separate panels instead of one continuously morphing segment. This shouldn't be a big deal to fix, however, and I'm looking forward to continuing on it.