Thursday, 29 November 2012

Artist Inspiration- Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy is an extraordinary, innovative British artist who creates land art. He uses a seemingly endless array of materials including snow, ice, leaves, bark, clay, stone, twigs, feathers and petals.He is undeterred by the weather and deliberately works in the spot where he finds his materials, no matter how inconvenient it may be. He wants his art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather.
I find his work to be very useful for what I'm working on at the moment. I've been using found objects from nature in my work, so to see all the creations Goldsworthy has made using the same idea is very inspiring and helpful!



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Work Update

This is just a look at what I've been up to over the past couple of days.  

As usual I've been taking a lot of photographs! The first set were all taken in my garden and outside my house on a very frosty morning. I absolutely love how my camera picked up so much detail of the frost and dew. The second set of photos were all taken in St. Stephens Green Park at the weekend. The beautiful array of flowers and the reflections in the water picked up some lovely vivid colours which I was very pleased with.

I've been enjoying working with found objects lately. The first photo is of different layers of bark that I pulled off a large branch. I thought the patterns on the bark were extremely interesting and quite beautiful. I've also been working with leaves by cutting away all of the leaf area until only the skeleton is left. I then laminated the remains and the result was what you see above! I had wanted the sheet to be completely see through but unfortunately I had to place tracing paper in the laminate as well in case the plastic melted.
I find these leaf remains very interesting to work with, but sadly the leaves are becoming scarcer and scarcer as we get deeper in to winter. I hope to experiment more with these before the leaves outside shrivel up and dissapear!

I attended a photogram workshop this week, which my leaf skeletons proved ideal for. I enjoyed getting an insight into this area of photography, and I'm quite happy with my results.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ceramics Workshop

This week I attended the ceramics workshop. Unfortunately we didn't get time to make anything, but Ciaran gave us an insight into the type of work that the ceramics students do, and showed us some beautiful work too! The most useful thing I got from the workshop was the inspiration to try out indian ink for the first time. It was very helpful to be shown all the different lines you can create with different brushes and pens, as well as the different marks they make depending on the material you use them on. 
For this piece, I used ink on tracing paper using a large flat brush.

This was done using the shavings from a branch I picked up on the street.

I made this piece using a feather dipped in ink. 

The last piece is a mixture of lines created using a flat brush and dipping pen on tissue paper.

Working With Paper

When I was doing the 3D workshop last week, Elaine showed me a simple yet very effective way of creating beautiful lines on paper. I got a hold of some tracing paper, which I then wrapped around various sized cylinder shapes and then scrunched the paper downwards as hard as I could! The results varied depending on the size of the cylinder and how hard I pressed down on the paper.

 I was very pleased with the results overall. Some of the lines I created led me to snap these pictures of moving water, as I saw some similarities between them and the ripples in the water.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Artist Inspiration- Nikki Rosato

 I did some research on Kathy Prendergast last week, as I found her work with maps to be quite useful and informative for my project. I thought that there were very obvious similarities between the lines on the maps and the lines that I'd been studying in nature and on the human body. However, I've just come across Nikki Rosato's work, and I have to say I find it even more impressive and inspirational!
Rosato also works with line maps (amongst other things) as you can see below.



 Rosato cuts out tiny strips of map and uses them to create pieces like the ones above. They are delicately interwoven like veins and the lines are "fascinatingly similar to lines that cover the surface of the human body", as the artist himself puts it.

Rosato also has delicate water colour paintings like the ones above which I was very taken by. The lines he creates here remind me an awful lot of the patterns I found when I took close up photographs of leaves. They've also got a look of mosaic about them, which is definitely something I could investigate further at some stage!
Rosato shows his versatility again with his collection of portraits done using prints of his thumb. I'm eager to try out something similar after seeing this work, as I think the lines from my fingerprint could make for an unsual and less obvious approach to painting.

The last piece of work from the artist that I looked at was this sculpture of the heart and its valves. It is made using pipes, hoses, chicken wire, paint and paper. I think it's a very effective piece and it has led me to consider using objects of a larger scale in my work.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Results from 3D Workshop

Yesterday I attended the 3D workshop which I found enormously helpful. This is what I made.

Originally I came in with the idea to make a 3D form in the shape of a tree, from which I would hang either feathers or locks of hair from. My idea came about after the painting I did where the subject's hair was made out of real leaves. I wanted to create a kind of opposite effect with my tree idea. However, when I got into the workshop, my teacher suggested that I make a similar shaped form from materials that would resemble hair, rather than using it in such an obvious way! 
I got hold of some fringed wool which I folded over a couple of times and then dipped into hot wax. I then laid the wool onto paper to cool, but while the wax was still hot, I pulled it apart slightly (not with my hands, don't worry!)so that all the little lines of the fringing became visible. I then glued the pieces together and that's how I got my final result! I'm very pleased with how it turned out, as the combination of wool and wax created an effect that has similarities not just to hair, but to all the objects I've been studying. I'm also glad that I took my teacher's advice and took a less obvious and more creative approach to my original idea.

After I removed the hot wax and wool from the paper they had been drying on, I was actually left with some interesting marks on both the front and back of the page. It was a pleasant surprise to make such a discovery at the end of the workshop!

Printmaking and More Photography

Every weekend when I go home, I get the camera out and take photos of everything around me that inspires me in terms of line and pattern. I find that this really helps to motivate me at the start of the week and gives me something to work from. 
The photos at the top half are all close up pictures of my mother's hands (bar the first one on the second row which was taken out of an extremely dirty window of a bus), which I then edited to bring out all the tiny lines that weren't originally visible in the photos. The first photo on the third row is yet another close up, this time of the reflection of people walking across a bridge in Dublin city. The rest of the photos are all of a fire lighting. I liked the way the burnt briquettes created certain lines. Also, the way in which the flames flickered and grew reminded me of the branches of the trees that I'd photographed previously.

I did some print making for the first time this week! I based the prints off the photos of the fire I took during the weekend. Overall, I'm quite happy with the results. 
During the print making process, I poured bits of white spirits over the ink. The bottle made it hard to judge how much liquid would come out, and the way it spread over the ink meant that there was a certain lack of control. At first, this really bothered me as I had wanted to spend more time really concentrating on getting the lines perfect. However, I realise now that this worked in my favour because it created a truer representation of the nature of a fire, which is quite unpredictable in the way it spreads and grows! The only thing that I think I fell back on was my presentation. I didn't manage to set the print out evenly across the page, and some of the ink dirtied the area surrounding the print. This meant that I had to cut the prints out, which could have been avoiding had I been more careful.

Monday, 12 November 2012


I mentioned in a previous post that I was interested in combining aspects of nature with the human body, which has led me to create the piece below. I was intrigued by the similarity between the leaves growing on the trees outside and the hair that grows on our head. Also, I like the fact that I have no control over the aging of the leaves and will not be able to prevent them from withering up, thus changing the way this piece will look in the future!
I also drew inspiration from one of the photos I took, which led me towards some more 3D work which you can see below.

By simply editing the colours on the photo, I immedietely got a sense of the inner workings of the body as opposed to the branches of a tree, which helped me to form these 3D studies of veins. The top piece is made using a combination of wire and wool, the second using wire and beads. I feel the second is a better representation of the veins, as it has a more delicate feel to it.


Since veering in a slightly different direction with my project, I've found that photography is a very suitable way for me to investigate different lines and patterns in the natural environment surrounding me. I seem to be finding the most interesting results when I zoom right in on the tiny details that one might not see at first glance. I've decided to arrange the photos I took on large A2 sheets of paper instead of sticking them in my sketchbook because I feel that they had more of an impact when viewed as a collection.
The first row of photos are all close ups of the different lines and veins on some leaves I picked up. The second, are shots of some miniature roses of mine that were becoming slightly withered. The middle picture of the third row is a beautiful pattern that I noticed on the wall on my way to college. The very last picture is a close up of the bark of a tree which had some webs growing on it, and the rest of the photos are all of vines growing along the wall.
These photos are a combination of tree branches, the remains of my miniature roses(they've seen better days!), zoomed in shots of my mother's hand, and some close ups of an old cottage door where the paint has been worn and scratched away.