Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ceramic samples

After a couple of months of feeling totally uninspired with my ceramic work, last week I had a breakthrough and am loving it again and so excited about the possibilities.

Here are some of the samples I worked on. I have experimented with layering colour, drawing and texture onto little porcelain samples which I have to say I am very happy with. I mixed the glazes myself which, for those who know me, know that this is very hard for me. Too much precision. Weighing out tiny amounts of oxides etc, and then sieving them for crying out loud! I have patience for some things and not for others and samples and glazing is certainly not one.

For these samples slip is put onto embossed porcelain and then scraped away leaving the slip in the embossed areas

Here I used oxides to draw images from my sketch book onto the samples
Translating images from sketch book to ceramic samples
After the glaze firing with coloured craze free glazes and turquoise Carina glaze

 Winged shoe drawn onto a porcelain slab with oxides and with the embossed slip technique

 And to the left porcelain winged shoes...

I love the combination of colours, textures and images here
The first attempt at creating a room in porcelain. Very exciting

Sunday, 27 October 2013

House in progress

This is a picture taken of the house, at this stage a prototype, in progress, in cardboard. As mentioned in previous posts, ultimately this will be translated into porcelain. The images in the house and the layout are based on the active imagination work I am doing with Estelle. Still early days but there is some interesting stuff developing and interesting combinations of images. Lots more drawing needed mixed in with photographic images.

Again I've covered this in previous posts but as a recap, below is an example of how this cardboard stage can be translated into porcelain. Here the porcelain house is unfired with two firings and glazing yet to do. At this stage all the images on the porcelain green-ware are in oxides

Here are some more photos taken from different angles of the prototype cardboard house. More rooms to come. An upstairs and a basement at least...
I haven't indicated how big it is... Each room no taller than a box of pronutro.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Fig 2

What a journey.

During my last crit at varsity Ian pointed out an area in my painting (Fig 1) he liked the best... the area I'd done least on! It was very brush stroke-y, semi glaze semi scumble with the colour underneath showing through.

For a moment I felt very deflated (understatement) but then picked their brains on how to move forward. I had to agree with them that I was focusing too much on colour and not enough on tone so I spent the next few weeks learning as much as I could about tonal painting, techniques of the old masters, grisaille etc. I chose to work on the fig again in order to be able to compare it with the first fig painting at the end and then with great trepidation took it to varsity for another crit.

Oh joy! How wonderful it is to be told you've made big strides in the right direction. I wasn't 100% pleased with it. Not enough brush stroke marks, not enough of the background colours showing through the tonal painting and I overdid the glazes and highlights but still, I understand the principles and feel confident moving forward.

So I'd started by wiping excess paint from my brushes onto the canvas, layering the colours and along turps to drip creating gorgeous colour combinations and textures
Sad to start losing some of these colours and textures when beginning to paint the fig in zinc white and Vandyke brown. Not really happy with how it's looking.
Bringing some more colour into the painting. Again not happy but some interesting things happening in areas where the background colours show through.
Cover the whole thing with a burnt sienna glaze. Aah feeling better. The colours all blend together better, feeling more harmonious.
Start with the zinc white and Vandyke brown combination again for the tonal (grisaille) painting. Again some interesting areas but not happy. The zinc white isn't working here.
Close up
Even worse when I put a glaze on top. Take it all off!
But some interesting marks. Remember this for another time.
Sad to be losing this. Love some of what is happening here under the grisaille.
Back to titanium white for the grisaille tonal painting. Here are the shades I used. Actually I had 9 shades by the time I started.
Yes looking a lot better and I love the colour underneath showing through.
A bit further along
Not sure about starting to paint the background here as I love that rich background colours but as this is an exercise I carry on. I could leave this another time.
Almost finished with the tonal grisaille painting apart from some more in the background.
After adding a pinkish glaze using transparent alizarin crimson, pthalo blue and indian yellow. I actually don't like it as much as before the glaze but again as it is an exercise I continue.
A close up of the fig trunk. Funny how at different times of the day the fig changes from having an overall pinkish tinge to a greenish tinge...
Close ups before the first glaze. I'm really liking the brush stroke marks and under painting showing through. With the glazes I lost some of this detail so could have exaggerated the tones and brushstroke marks some more perhaps. I could also have left the glazing away from the darkest darks and lightest lights.
After the second greenish glaze
For the highlights I tried this colour first. On the painting it looked far too light
so I went darker
and darker.. Still too light
and darker. I'm very surprised I have to go this dark for the final highlights to get
There are areas I am pleased with and areas I am not so pleased with but what a journey and so much learned...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

So much to do. So little time

it's been a while again.
Since the last post I have been encouraged at varsity to learn the basics in classical painting. Watch this space. I have felt somewhat out of my depth and out on a limb as I am only at varsity for input once a week at the most so I am so thankful for the internet. Not as good as being in a learning environment every day with fellow students and tutors at hand but at least at a touch of a keyboard I am able to access fantastic information and you tube clips on techniques and documentaries on artists of all eras and movements. And my bedtime reading is a colossal book on the history of art...
For my ceramics, I am still working in my sketchbook and on the 3D cardboard house prototype creating a 'story', my story, part of my myth, in images which I will eventually translate into porcelain. Lots more drawing into these pages to be done

As mentioned before, Estelle and I are working with active imagination on exploring the idea of the house symbolising the psyche
'As developed by Carl Jung between 1913 and 1916, active imagination is a meditation technique wherein the contents of one's unconscious are translated into images, narrative or personified as separate entities. It can serve as a bridge between the conscious 'ego' and the unconscious and includes working with dreams and the creative self via imagination or fantasy. Jung linked Active Imagination with the processes of alchemy in that both strive for oneness and inter-relatedness from a set of fragmented and dissociated parts.
Key to the process of active imagination is the goal of exerting as little influence as possible on mental images as they unfold. For example, if a person were recording a spoken visualization of a scene or object from a dream, Jung's approach would ask the practitioner to observe the scene, watch for changes, and report them, rather than to consciously fill the scene with one's desired changes. One would then respond genuinely to these changes, and report any further changes in the scene. This approach is meant to ensure that the unconscious contents express themselves without overbearing influence from the conscious mind. At the same time, however, Jung was insistent that some form of participation in active imagination was essential: 'You yourself must enter into the process with your personal if the drama being enacted before your eyes were real'.'

Estelle records what I say during the session and I start translating these images into the 3D prototype. Early days. (Here I am crouched on the floor looking through the front door of my cardboard house looking into the entrance hall. Gosh sometimes I wonder about my sanity. A modern day Alice through the looking glass)...

but it makes for exciting stuff...

And here is not such a good pic of one of the pairs of my Hermes (the Greek god of transition and boundaries who guides people into the world of dreams and back) winged porcelain shoes. Need to get a picture where the wings are visible