The extended field / the next layer / places we call home

Two weeks away from my studio space left me with a massive desire to get back in and get creating again. This first week has already been productive; my hands can't stop making and my mind won't stop wandering to the next step of my process. On my first day back I finished the final layer of paint in the piece I left unfinished. However, the piece as a whole is far from finished. There are more layers to come.

All my work over the weeks I've been developing this project have been trials. None have really amounted to a final piece, or at least I haven't felt as if they were 'finished'. That isn't a problem for me anymore, but before coming to university I was very precious about my work and saw uncompleted or unsuccessful pieces as a failure; something I could or should never share. Now, I see them as a learning curve. All these trials have been different, be it in size, colour palette, texture, complexity, composition or technique. Each 'experiment' added another element to the process; developing my primary idea further by adding something new which if successful, was taken forward to the next piece.

This development has led to where I am now. My scale is much larger. I'm painting on a board of MDF almost ten times larger in scale than my first attempt, which was on cartridge paper. I'm content with how the paint layers are sitting now; they feel ready for building a next layer on top, but I'm extending the field with a different media to bring a lightness to the dark, textural piece I'm currently working with. 

Scribbled in my physical reflective journal are notes of ways I wanted to try to make this next layer:

Printmaking, with white ink, either a screen print or an etching. Paint again, possibly, but with a paintbrush rather than a roller. Pen? Again, white ink. Collaging different materials on top? As I trial these ideas over the coming weeks, I know that I want this next layer to bring a lightness to the darker layers of paint that came before, and underneath, it.

I made a drawing from one of my photographs of Venice and scanned this into my computer to trial how line drawings would sit on top of my paintings. I inverted the image so that the black pencil marks were white and layered these on top of photographs of my work using Photoshop. Although the drawing is perhaps too illustrative to work completely with the geometric, simplistic shapes beneath, I'm pleased with the effect of the stark white on the dark of the work beneath. I would like to simplify the lines to reach a point where they add a more intricate quality to the piece but still maintain the aesthetic the background layers embody. 

Numerous discoveries were made in my chat with my tutor Mark about where my work was headed. I spoke about one of my ideas of using maps on top of my work and how the idea of a journey between the places we call home is becoming more important for me as an artist to represent, as opposed to simply representing the buildings that are symbolic of the feeling of being at home.

Inspired by our tutorial, I rushed down to the nearest junk shop 'Dig 'n' Delve' (as crazy and amazingly kooky as it sounds) to pick up three old ordnance survey maps.

I got out my knife and did a paper cutting from the maps - cutting out the fields, villages and empty spaces to leave behind the important lines, roads and pathways that join up the places, bringing people together on their journeys. I wrote in my journal:

Paper cutting. Journeys. Roads. Lines, connecting the places we call ‘home’.

This week, I'll be in the studio working away to see if this method of paper cutting works on top of my piece and trialling other methods of creating the next layer before I settle on a single method indefinitely. I'm also going to start a new piece, because I miss my paint and my rollers. Paper cutting and drawing is fun, but making a mess is something I always seem to be drawn to... My mum will attest to that.