The past week in the studio has been slower than usual. I have been working avidly on my dissertation ahead of my first draft hand-in, due this afternoon.
I have still been thinking a lot more about how I was going to translate the pigments onto the canvas works, though. My trials of leaving out the frottage and using a vast amount of negative space didn't feel right.
I actually said to Lucy in a tutorial that it didn't feel like my own work. It felt weird, strange, unnatural. I am so drawn to working in a format that incorporates dualities and constrasts, perhaps because I am so interested in depicted 'the spaces in between' in my works - and the panel format I was working in before allowed for that.
I decided in the end to return to that split panel format but playing with a vast array of compositions, working with rock powder pigments rather then only natural dyes, working bigger, pushing the minimalism in them a little bit more. The compositions may differ in various ways; strips of uninterrupted colour dashing through two panels of frottage either side, a line of rubbing running through two panels of colour or working with more of a grid system rather than just horizontal panels. The possibilities are vast.
Now I have eradicated the use of block colours and am working on blending my rock powder pigments together in layers, the works become more sensitive, blurred, misty, foggy... The line of the horizon will be a factor once again and drawings from contours of waves will be tied in with hand stitching, overlapping and thus giving the painting a 'shifting' sense, hinting to the ephemerality of the landscapes I'm working within.
In my tutorial with Lucy we also spoke about ways I can take this new way of thinking into an installation space, in particular thinking ahead to when I am installing my work in a space for my degree show later on in the year. I want to bring the work off the wall, onto the floor. Through my own ramblings I eventually came to the conclusion that it would be interesting to use my powdered pigments in a different way than making just paint.
A line of a journey taken for me to reach my field work site could be traced from a map, enlarged and laid on the floor by scattering the ground pigments. The line could even connect two paintings from one side of the room to the other. Strips of masking tape could be laid down and then pulled back up, leaving the pigment neatly on the floor, tracing the line of a journey throughout the landscape that my works aim to depict.
For now I am just busy working away on these new paintings. Finally, for the first time this term, I feel that the work I am making is true to me. The brushstrokes, the marks I am making, they feel right. So far, because of this, these paintings have been a joy to make. Watching the dusty layers of rock powder pigment form upon the surface of the raw canvas, changing the colour beneath ever so slightly as the layers build, is magical.
Next week, I also plan to make some process-led drawings with my rock powder pigments. I will be freezing some of the pigment in ice cubes, then leaving these to melt upon blank paper to make their own marks. The melting will not only be a mark-making exercise but also allude to global climate change and glacial meltwater...
I will start small with these, but then I plan to work bigger. A large block of pigment suspended in ice, attached to the ceiling with rope, hung over a sheet of paper on the floor. The pigment would be left to drip, drop and melt in a slower, more interesting, sensory and thought provoking way. I will be documenting these trials with video and photography.. But that's something for next week.