Wednesday, 22 October 2014

More research into Psychology

Freud Perception of Personality - The Conscious mind is our current thinking processes, the Preconscious mind pays attention to the things of which we are aware, but are not paying attention to. We can choose to pay attention to these and bring them into the conscious mind. We can control our awareness to a certain extent, by focusing on one conscious act to include as much of preconscious information as possible. Freud believed that behaviour is driven directly from the subconscious mind and recent research has shown that the subconscious mind is probably even more in charge of our actions than even Freud had realized.

Components of Personality - are an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego. The Id contains our primitive drives and operates largely according to the pleasure principle, it has no real perception of reality and seeks to satisfy its needs. It has 2 major instincts: Eros: the life instinct that motivates people to focus on pleasure-seeking tendencies. Thanatos: the death instinct that motivates people to use aggressive urges to destroy. The Ego is aware of reality and understands that behaviors have consequences. The Ego has to balance the demands of the Id and Super ego with the constraints of reality. 
Super ego contains our values and social morals, and is a counterbalance to the Id. So individuals can either appeal to the basic urges of the Id or the higher morals of the Super ego. Then encourage the Ego to make the 'right choice'.

Freud stated there are three stages within the human growth patterns, and each stage can cause different impacts,the oral stage is the first, the second is the anal stage, and the final stage is the phallic stage. A balance has to be maintained within these stages, and through the changing of stages, or negative behavior can be instilled within a person.

Jungian Psychology - Carl Jung (1875-1961) had the idea of the collective conscious, that all people have the same basic patterns of behaviour. He claimed our minds and our bodies have adapted through the centuries. Jung grouped people into two general attitude groups, the introverts and the extroverts. Introverts are concerned with themselves and extroverts are concerned with everything around them. He believed all people contain aspects of both of these groups, but one aspect is more dominant. The dominant aspect is the basis for a person's personality; the same types of attitudes will be similar when it comes to how they think and act. He believed we have several archetypes of personality, he observed that there are differing but repetitive patterns of thought and actions, he devised main archetypes, these types are all within use he had four main forms.
The Shadow, is the archetype that reflects the deeper elements of our psyche, it does not like to follow rules and because of this trait may venture into new places and into trouble. The Anima and Animus - the Anima is the female and the Animus is the male aspect. The Anima/Animus represents our true self, it is our soul, our creative source. Jung thought that men have a fundamental animus and women as anima, however they may have each other, Jung did believe that women have a more variable animus made of several parts. Jung theorised that the development of the anima/animus  as an infant projection onto their mother and then as an adult projecting onto partners until a lasting relationship can be sustained. The combination of the anima/animus represents wholeness and completion, this completeness brings power and is associated with religious combinations such as the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.                         
The Self, according to Jung is what connects and joins both the conscious and unconsciousness, 
Jung's archetypes are elements that we as individual's recognise them in the idea of an image and on a emotional level, and has a profound effect on us and implies a deep and primative origin, therefore they are signifiers of aspects that are beyond our absolute understanding.

Carl Rogers was another influential person on human personalities, and his views were based upon humanistic theories. He believed that human personalities were based on experiences that they had during their life. Rogers felt that all people were born with set behaviours and that people lived life in an effort to achieve the highest acceptance of these qualities. Once a person reached their fullest potential, then they were accepted as a fully functioning person. He felt that people were more likely to become fully functioning if they were raised in an unconditional positive environment, rather than in a conditional environment. He believed that children raised in a home were they were accepted, and praised, are more likely to live a long, healthy life as a fully functioning human.

Freud, Jung and Rogers were pioneers when it came to human personalities and what affected them. Each theorist had their own views, but they all paved the way for personality studies that are still used today. The combination of theories and ideas that these three men implemented have made human personality more understandable, and it allows people to change in order to increase there positive personalities, while allowing any negative traits to be overcome.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Marlene Dumas (b.1953)

Marlene Dumas (born 1953).

Stem (2004) by Marlene Dumas

Taken from the exhibition by Marlene Dumas 'Measuring Your Own Grave' 2008 - 2009

I was fascinated to find out that Dumas works late into the early hours and I would be like that if I didn't have to work!

To me her work is reflective of recording experience of individuals, her work is instantly recognisable as the work is usually showing a figure or a face in a close up situation, there is often a neutral ground, she shows people at there most vulnerable and these images are disturbing and yet they are very sensual and force the viewer to confront these difficult situations and the only escape is to walk away or close your eyes.

Her work uses memories intermingled with public death, she uses her daughter as a model and victims of death and torture, not only does Dumas create oil paintings she also uses ink style watercolour images.

Dumas was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up under apartheid, she is the youngest of three children and she grow up on a farm, as she grew up she has a clear recollection of the issues of apartheid and how she was friends with a worker on the farm and yet they could never eat together.
Any form of media was strictly regulated and when Dumas was a child she would collect images of girls, models, cartoon characters, she created a fantasy life around these girls and loved to draw these characters.
When Dumas was twelve her Father died of Liver disease and it would be interesting to think that was a defining mark that is resonate in her work. Her work is about the human condition, she is a figurative painter who finds her subject matter from newspapers and magazines.
When I look at her work I see the humanity and are familiar, her brushstrokes seem very uncomplicated and there is an intuitive development that is observed in her work that makes it emotional. Her concentration on depicting death  reminds us all that we will all die and what we will lose when that day comes.

Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992)

'The Brutality of Fact' - Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester. Thames and Hudson, London, 1987

I feel that I do work instinctively as did Francis Bacon and especially at this moment I am attempting to expand on the visceral elements of my work, and as Francis Bacon states.
"It's an attempt to bring the figurative thing up onto the nervous system more violently and more poignantly." (1987:12)

That statement resonates with me as I am attempting to rework some pieces and I could easily loss the work, and yet I feel compelled to do this, as my work is a constant exploration and to be expanded on if I can. Bacon discusses in more detail how hard it is for an artist who is absorbed in the figurative element of the work. he states that he is attempting to create a more precise image but with a twist. In the work I am creating there is mixed in with the identity of not only myself within the work but of the individual that I am concentrating on, and when I create a piece I always have a sense that I am capturing a moment in time, and I feel that the work has to be reflected of an emotion impact that the viewer gets a sense of, and Bacon comments on his work about trapping an image which is an interesting comment 

"It lives on its own, like the image one's trying to trap; it lives on its own and therefore transfers the essence of the image more poignantly. So that the artist may be able to open up or rather, should I say unlock the valves of feeling and therefore return the onlooker to life more violently." (1987:17).

Bacon was obsessed with the nervous system, he felt he painted from his and therefore wanted an aggressive reaction from the viewer; Bacon discusses his application of paint in his work. Especially when he talks about the 'accidents' and I gained confidence in my own work when reading this book as Bacon's frank commentary is a refreshing viewpoint.

"One possibly gets better at manipulating the marks that have been made by chance, which are the marks that one made quite outside reason. As one conditions oneself by time and by working to what happens, one becomes more alive to what the accident has proposed for one. And, in my case I feel that anything I've liked has been the result of an accident on which I have been able to work. Because it has given me a disorientated vision of a fact I was attempting to trap." (1987:53).

Using oil paints for me creates a sense of constant change, I can damage and destroy in one second and then by one application of another layer bring a whole new dimension to the piece, creating a new facet to the piece by one single stroke of oil paint, this could be done by a brush or a finger and possibly then use of a rag to create a particular mark. 

Jenny Saville - Figurative Artist (b.1970)

Jenny Saville - Figurative Artist (b.1970)

The painting 'The Mothers, 2011 (see Appendix 1) fascinates me as the movement of the mark making works with the painterly area's extends the physicality of the bodies within the piece, the marks make the children seem like they are squirming, so alive! Constant flow of energy like electricity slashes around them, in contrast the face of the mother reflects exhaustion and blankness, shows a reality of being a mother. In public we have an armour that we wear, reflecting that we cope we are born to do this, but we know the feelings, it is fear of failure as parents that I feel and touches me deeply. 
Tonally there is a natural depth, and the linear application creates a sense of chaos, and fluidity that extends the image out of the canvas, you to offer support to the mother, elevating the load that she is struggling to carry.

(Appendix 1)

JENNY SAVILLE - The Mothers, 2011, Oil on canvas - Accessed 23/02/2014 

Interview between Jenny Saville and Michael Stanley, Director of Modern Art, Oxford

Saville states witnessing plastic surgery made her work more expressive in the way that she had think as if she was applying skin/cover to the canvas, the skin she painted was an artifact and had to be realistic especially on such a large scale, she felt that she was exploring the myth of the feminist ideal.
Saville looks at her work as figurative not portraiture, she recognises that the work is overtly autobiographical.
When working with carcasses felt the masculine aspect of herself as part of the work, she sees the work as landscapes, and believes that she is a frustrated abstract painter, with a passion for the figurative.  
Furthermore pregnancy and childbirth really gave her the sense movement and the work became an energetic act. The reality of reproduction, life and birth, there is such power to birth, the babies looked ancient and also new, she was part of a real human history when she gave birth.
Saville goes on the explain that due to the fast growth of the children that drawing allowed her to show the human development within a short period of time, helped her to explore movement.
Then she discussed how art history has influenced her work, Saville explains that having children has given her confidence in her ability, also that using the memory of art history has allowed her to dip in as if from a large soup bowl, but not a direct reference she declares that she is not a post modernist artist, and yet she has been influenced by art of the past. 

Research into Psychology

The idea of Transference - Sigmund Freud

Transference was identified by Sigmund Freud, he noticed that his patients formed an attachment towards him, caused by something other than the patient and Doctor relationship.
Transference occurs when a person takes the perceptions and expectations of one person and projects these onto another person. We as individuals tend to become the person that others assume we are.Transference usually occurs from a childhood relationship which could be from a person that they knew or a figure that they idealised, and that power and also a sense of expectations is transferred to another individual, and this can create positive and negative outcomes.

Types of Transference

Paternal transference
We turn the other person into an idealized father-figure. Fathers can become powerful, authoritative and wise. We want that sense of control and we can develop a sense of trust and compliance. We could see leaders as distant, powerful individuals.

Maternal transference
The relationship we often develop from our mothers regarded as a source of unconditional love, seen as mythical related and there is more of an emotional and primitive response.

Sibling transference
When parents are absent in our childhood, we may substitute these with sibling relationships. This is an increasingly significant pattern as families fracture and mothers spend long hours at work and are often away from the child during the critical early years.

Other transference
We also transfer non-familial patterns onto other people. We form stereotypes, and transfer these patterns onto others. We also form idealised prototypes, and project these onto people when we need the appropriate roles. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Reflective response

Reflective response to the research and reacting to the work I create.

When I paint I want to create work that reflects and communicates to the viewer how I view the world and individuals and how I respond to the actions of others, and in doing this I am transmitting information and the perception of what I create, I feel that I try to show the reality of how I feel is transferred into the work.
So a light overview has been given to the psychology of what possibly drives my work and obviously this will be returned to again and looked at in more depth. However I felt that I wanted to start investigating different artists and their influence on my work, especially considering their techniques and what drives them to produce the work and how that can be discussed alongside the work that has driven me to produce in these last few months.
I recognise that I place my thoughts/emotions and reactions to situations on to a canvas and then I expect a viewer to gauge that information that I have described to them in a visual context, and I do think that painting for me is a form of therapy, so the work I produce is a cathartic experience and therefore is the opinion of the viewer of no value to me? And in reflection is this work about pure selfishness and the individual's I paint have I devalued them as individuals? So when I paint these individuals and I am using them to relieve my anxiety so I project onto them I feel that I could be using them, however I do feel that I am attempting an interpretation of  their situation at some level and the work maybe more a commentary rather than a limited unyielding expression of transference. With the work I produce there are loose aspects of transference but I could also add that I also study the individuals so am also touching on the subject of anthropology, this is discipline looks at where humanities and social aspects and sciences are made to confront each aspect of cultural relations.

When I deal with people and due to my lack of confidence I tend to tip toe around these individuals as I am attempting to gauge their reaction to what I am attempting to say and I do have a need to be accepted and feel a sense of respect, and yet when I paint I am there in the moment and once the work is created there is for me a sense of the real reflecting back at me out of the canvas, as I don't have to communicate in a polite, non - conflicting tone. I can just paint the rawness and be emotive as I feel I can be.
When I use the word 'Emotive' in regards to my work I am thinking of the intention of that word, creating in an emotive way is using the emotions as internal instruments in an attempt to express the inexpressible, how I feel in a way that is not in an abstracted variation but rather a reaction to the reality of human existence. 



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Final MA Module

To start I have been producing pieces that I have worked in using charcoal, as a starting point to gain some sense of the direction in which I want to work. 
The work below is a charcoal piece and it is a reaction to what has happened where I live. As my next door neighbour had a physically attacked a woman outside my house, and racially abused her child. 

So to begin with I did the charcoal piece and then I decided that I needed to create a piece that reflected what had happened as it has really played on my mind, violence especially towards someone who is smaller than yourself and in front of children I struggle to deal with, so I created the piece which is shown below.  

Obviously this piece sets out to shock but also to make people aware of violence and abuse, but for me a sense of the anger and injustice had to be reflected within the work.

The linen is very difficult to work on, as it has a pull on it that drags the paint and the application is very difficult. And due to these issues there is a coarseness to the piece which creates a sense of rough sketching.
The painting below is about survival I suppose, survival in the worst situations, its about loss, or even about the strength and desire to live even when its hard.  

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664)   

Considering the work I have produced using the cotton and row fabric and the dragging effect of the paint, I have been researching the artist Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664

Jacob's Return 1647 -1651

The reason I have been looking at the work of Castiglione is because there has not been much written about this Italian Baroque Artist, he was an incredible draughtsman, and last year there was an exhibition of his work as a collaboration between the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle and the Denver Art Museum. I became interested in his work and I was giving a copy of the exhibition book that was part of the exhibition:

Castiglione: Lost Genius

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Friday, 1 November 2013  

Castiglione was incredibly unpredictable in his moods and was know for his violent outbursts, and there were occasions where he ended up in court, and yet his work shows reflected and studious mindset. He was mainly known as a painter and a renowned print maker, however what has fascinated myself has been the production of his dry brush drawings.
These drawings do not conform to the studio drawings or to the classicism that was favored at that time in 17th Century Italy. 
In Castiglione's youth he studied with Giovanni Battista Paggi (1554-1667) at his studio and he would have been encouraged to to sketch from pattern books, tracing and copying the work.
Castiglione moved to Rome in his 20's and it was then that he started to specialise in the landscape and animals sketches, and he was also developing his gestural mark making.
What he became renowned for was his drawing with oil pigments directly onto untreated paper. So what is fascinating is that the application of pigments mixed with a liquid medium of thinned oil, is really hard to achieve and must have taken months possibly years to achieve the stunning mark making that Castiglione managed to achieve! Because if this mixture was too thin then it would just soak and bleed outwards and if too thick or dry then the mark making would be stinted and less fluid. On top of this learning of the application and then he would be gaining an understanding of the actual mark making essence of image and he achieved this by limiting his palette to earth tones on the whole, only occasionally adding a different colour into the piece. 
Looking at these sketches you can see a development of his own style becoming clearer and in his later works there is a fluidity to his mark making and there is a sense of poetry that flows through the pieces, he instinctively knows where areas need to be darkened and almost smudged and this flows away to the lightest of strokes. 
I struggle at times in my own work to know when to withdraw so that only the lightest of impression can make such a difference to a piece as I engage so much and place such an impact that I forget that the lightest of marks can change a piece and even though it may only be the slightest of linear mark making the impact can have such a dramatic effect.. And this is why we as artists should look at our work when we think it is finished and spend a contemplative time so that we can then return and maybe add the slightness of a stroke to refine, outline, expose something in the work that could be missed and extend on.

I am interested in the idea that what I create within my work is loosely based on the idea of 'Transference' the term transference is used in psychoanalysis and  has been termed that transference is how we as individuals redirect our feelings, desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object or individual, this is something that we all do subconsciously attaching perceptions and characteristics from one individual to another.This is discussed more in the Research entries.

I feel that when I paint I want to create work that reflects and communicates to the viewer of how I view the world and individuals in this world and how I respond to the actions of others, and in doing this I am transmitting information and the perception of what I create, I feel that this the essence of the reality of how I feel is transferred into the work.

So what do I get from this work there is the sense of space, and all the work has been done using biro, so I have gone back to using charcoal and I have found this work has let me become quite engrossed within the creating of the work.

I have been spending time getting some visual ideas and attempting to create a mind map in a way... this is an on going thing that may lead to nothing or may lead me to be inspired and to create work, the images are haphazard in application as if I was working in a written book this is the kind of thing I would do. 

So I have collected some images and they relate to violence and aggression and there are different reasons for each one that I have chosen.
I have stuck them to a wall and I have added short notes.The idea behind this is to help me understand why I paint the incidents within the photographs and the individuals shown, as I have realised that people in situations fascinate me because of their reactions within the situation that they are involved in, the reality of their situation is not our reality, however I hope the work that I produce gives the viewer my own perception of the individual at that moment in time.  

I have come to realise that I paint intuitively when it comes to the application of the paint onto the canvas, and this intuitive process for me is a series of recordings of the sensations of the human experience, including my own experiences through the application of paint onto a canvas.

I had a Tutorial with Stewart Geddes he has commented on that I do need to extent on my work. He has given advice regarding preparing my canvases properly making the work more vivid and furthermore will help prevent rotting. Furthermore Stewart suggested that I had should have prepare a few canvases at a time. 

The next piece that I have been working on has been a huge advancement, because I have extended the imagery of the facial features, of a woman who survived the terrorist attach in the shopping mall in Kenya last year, this incredible woman survived by pure instinct to survive. 

Here are some close images of the painting and I have been extending the application of paint by using my hands, palette knife and a variety of different width brushes and in doing this I feel that I was abandoning the structure of the piece/imagery however I now realise that I was in fact allowing a real expression of myself into this piece of work.

At this stage I felt that I had lost the piece however I just kept going and even though I was tired I felt that it was important to keep working on it and not walk away, at times due to limitations of time in my life, I have to fight to keep working on these pieces. 

At this stage I felt that the crimson was overwhelming the image, however as I continued to apply the paint I was able to control the intensity and allow the viscosity of the paint to be reflected in the work.

Peter Doig (b.1959).

I have researched the work of Peter Doig (b.1959).

Canoe-Lake 1997

Doig's work has been referred to having a sense of magical realism, he uses his personal memories from childhood, interlaced with visual influences from films and photography. The early work has references from the film 'Friday the 13th' (1980). Canoes are often captured within the work and water is often a theme that runs through the landscapes of Doig's work.
He reveals a sense of fantasy with the originality of the world he see's, he has the capacity to twist the reality into a unique perspective of his imagination that allows the viewer to gain a glimpse on how Doig views his world.
By using influences from the social media such as film, photography within his work, Doig is using 'Transference' within his methodology, by using these external influences to inform his practice. 
Due to the palette that he uses there is a rawness of the environment that the viewer is introduced to in a vivid and sensory dimension.

'Blue' by Derek Jarmen (1993). 

I have watched this film in contrast with the sensory dimension of the work of Peter Doig(b.1959).

Derek Jarman's final feature film 'Blue' is an incredible sensory experience which in it's self stands alone as a courageous stand against the fight of the AIDS virus. Blue was first screened during the 1993 Venice Biennale, followed by the Edinburgh Film Festival, as well as the New York Film Festival later that same year.
For me as a visual artist this film really turns the whole thought process of imagery in the essence of what I deal with as a new perspective, a film without images has really made me consider the effects of the sensory not just the visual and has a way of teaching us the viewer to look more deeply and in a more abstract manner at life.
The film is a single shot of Yves Klein patented Klein Blue, and yet the sense of Rothko permeates the film due to the narrative against this colour that saturates the screen. 
The narrative consists of a loose conversation about the filmmaker's  life and this is interspersed with poetic rumblings, and graphic descriptions of the ravages of HIV. Slices of daily life, and the side effects of medication suffered. Intersected with the noise of hospital life and all the associated noises that comes from that environment.
This is balanced with Greek chanting which depicts vivid descriptions of anal sex, fetishism and sadomasochistic rituals and running throughout the film, readings of public announcements that set out to find the potential HIV/AIDS sufferers.
There is a real sense of imminent death, and as the film continuous so the condition deteriorates, fragility is reflected within the density of the blue.
The film is about the grief of life being lost but it also embraces the senses without regret, his life is explored with a tenderness that one rarely gets touched by. 

The next painting has been very frustrating as I know what I want to do with it.... and yet it isn't happening so I am having to paint in stages.

I have carefully primed the canvas, and used ink to sketch out the face, and I think that is where I have gone wrong in a way, because the ink has made a strong impression and is affecting how and where I apply the paint and I am also struggling with the palette.

I have realised today that fear of what people think of my work and not selling has held me back, not fitting in and not being liked has always been an issue for me, however as I am ageing and I cannot turn back time I feel that I can abandon these issues by expressing them in the work and every time I do this I end up feeling less tied down by my inner issues. Within the work there is a rawness of emotion that I put into the work, in doing this I resolve something in myself that clears a small space for me to think more clearly and deal with the everyday issues that at times consume my life.

This piece has been a struggle, and yet I have spent every evening with this painting, in short periods of time in an attempt to work through the issues, but I have persevered and I am happy with what I have achieved with this piece.     

I have included the use of a palette knife and a variety of brushes and I am happy with the result.

I have continued this idea of visually looking at creating and considering ideas through the visual manner, so I have been sketching using paper, pencil, charcoal and ink, and the work I have created I believe is helping me extend my work in the larger canvases that I enjoy working on.

Working in like this is partly due to finances, and the influence of the work of Jenny Saville she has been creating work using sketching and the work is really interesting and full of depth and really helped me to consider how I want to develop my work more over the next months for the final show and ending of the MA, and how I will continue my work art work after the MA.

Reproduction drawing I after the Leonardo Cartoon (2009-2010) by Jenny Saville  

I am becoming interested in images that reflect how I have felt in situations in my life that I felt but could not express, and in the next painting this is how I felt when I had to leave my home and I lost everything, at that time I would not have considered painting those emotions, I wish I had, as I would have dealt with those emotions better then and explored them in my work earlier. 

I started this piece by roughly sketching out the facial impression that I wanted to paint, I am finding that having a base colour is helping to create the work, and building the layers of colour.  

I am influenced on the way eyes show so much emotion even when not clearly defined, I do believe that the face especially the eyes draw for me personally and clearly speaks a language that crosses all languages. 

I have been more creative in the application of the paint, using a large variety of brushes, and palette knife as well as my fingers.

I feel that I am more controlled and yet far more looser in my style of application the work is more expressive.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominque Bauby. Harper Collins Publishers, Clay Ltd 1997

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a memoir by the journalist Jean Dominque Bauby, and this book describes his life after he suffered a massive stroke, which left him with locked in syndrome.
Bauby was the editor-in-chief of the french version of the magazine 'Elle' and on the 8th December 1995 he suffered from the massive stroke and awoke 20 days later, he was mentally aware of his surroundings but was physically paralyzed with locked in syndrome and the only movement he had was slight movement of his head and eyes, his right eye had to be sown shut due to an irrigation issue. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was written by Bauby by blinking his left eyelid, it took 10 months to complete the book.
The reason I have included this book as part of my research is Bauby's imagination that truly takes flight like a butterfly! And his words show the reader a real sense of the real and gives the reader a narrative that can be translated by the imagination. 
This book is not a sad tale of the difficulties that he faced, rather its an exploration of the imaginative of his huge yet invisible diving bell and how he explores the deep terrains of the deep and cavernous place that is his own personal imagination, and I believe an essential book for not just artists to read and develop from but also a book that everyone should read, as it is a true experience of what the imagination can achieve and be transcribed onto paper as writing or in a visual manner.

Jean Dominique Bauby not only created this incredible book, he also founded the 'Association du Locked-In Syndrone, Bauby died March 1997 aged 45 years.
 After the last piece that I had created, I began to think and refer back to the conditioning of the human mind, and especially parenting... I asked myself especially as I am a single parent, how we as adults have children and their reactions and actions in life, so I was thinking about a particular individual and how he reacted to a pressured situation by lashing out at a woman, that situation has affected me quite profoundly, and I kept thinking was it his childhood and what he was taught, or witnessed that made him behave so out of so called character... and then I was thinking about my relationship with my child who is now a teenager, and then I saw a image of a battered child, and this image took me back to one particular night, when my daughter was very small, I was on my own and exhausted and she just wouldn't settle!! And I got to my wits end, and there was this point when I could have reacted in an unpredictable way, but instead I built a haven in my lounge and created the safest place I possibly could, I created a large free space on which I placed a duvet and then I used cushions to surround the area so my child could not be hurt. I then brought this very upset baby downstairs and placed her in the center of the lounge. 

So changing the discussion abruptly, I saw this image of a battered child, and I used this image to create this piece, it is once again a large piece of work, I used basic pencil to sketch the main focal points and then I began painting.           

I used skin tones and salmon pinks intentionally, I wanted this piece to be realistic and I am obviously influenced by the work of Jenny Saville.

As the painting developed I realised that this piece was quite softened in my application of the paint, and I really wanted to reflect the what I thought of at that moment was a loss of control, and therefore I began to be more aggressive with the piece.

The work progressed at a steady rate, and as I worked into the piece I had to almost attack the piece as I applied the paint in large brushes, then having to go back and scratch back into it with aggressive strokes, and it dawned on me, to do this to a person, when hitting out you would have to aim, and obviously the size of a child's face the aiming has to be more accurate to inflict this damage... which made me think was this really done by someone who had lost control? Really...

So back to the memory of placing my screaming child on the lounge floor on a duvet, away from harm so she was safe, not only was she safe, warm and I loved her so much that I walked into my kitchen grabbed cigarettes and wine and I walked out into the snow sat in the garden and I did drink the wine and smoked and then I went inside and my child was calmer and so was I. Therefore I believe that the person who attacked that child did not lose control this was a systematic reaction to their stress. 
What is interesting is that comments I have received regarding this painting is what makes the child is the symbolic element of the dummy, when this is removed, and due to the severe beating the face could be a adult.
I cried when I finished the painting.

After this piece of work I became depressed and could feel myself falling into the 'black hole' I can function in the outside world, in the workplace, and at home to a point and everyone is allowed to see the Jo that functions, but the reality is that there are times I struggle to keep functioning. This day I stopped and on impulse I decided to show the reality of my dark moments and I began to photograph myself, unwashed and in the beginning of the downward slope of sadness and loneliness that at times overwhelm me. I then started to paint...

At this moment I have made the decision to not clearly sketch out the profile completely, letting the paint speak for itself, and this seems to help me especially when I am depressed as I start to become intensely concentrated on the work and in a detached manner.

The application of paint, building up layers, create a sense of a journey and in these types of paintings flow, there is no respite I am unable to stop until the piece is finishes, the application of paint is aggressive and frenetic, I get lost in the application of the paint.

In this piece I poured all the anxiety and everything that I felt so structurally the physical elements may not be exact but this piece was an emotional exorcism, clearing many things. This painting took at least eight hours to paint and I worked into the early hours, I did not have a break I just kept applying paint, this piece is instinctive and completely based on emotion. 

I have found that painting myself inspiring but difficult, so I have attempted one more piece of myself and I have done this by taking images of myself in water.

I have realised that I just don't feel the same impact when painting myself and I just really don't enjoy it and it has become a chore almost, however as I had started down this vein I felt that I should continue this to its relevant conclusion, and I have taken some pictures of Emma my daughter in the water as well.

I then attempted to paint Emma, the results are very disappointing I feel that once again I am too close to the subject matter.

I feel that I have been to sensitive to Emma and yet there is something endearing and I think reflects the transition of child into woman, and something very feminine about the piece.

I prefer this piece as I feel that I have allowed the ground to push through to the surface, and there is an element of the face just not fitting properly, the angle isn't quite right and actually this appeals to me, however I am just not happy with this last set of paintings, and I am beginning to worry, as there isn't many more months for work to be produced and what I have liked of the work lately is when they are more unfinished they have a rougher style to them, so I am going to rethink how I approach the work and just see where this leads the imagery.

As I look back at these particular pieces I am very aware of how the ground could have influenced these images more and due to my over application in this area the pieces do not work as well as they could have.

I have looked at the work I have been producing and I have gone back to basics in a way. I have moved away from the images of Emma as I felt that I was creating work that was too emotional and sentimental.

I have had a tutorial with Amelia Wilson regarding my working practice and it was a interesting and thought provoking exercise and important to do within the MA.

I have been working on images from the news and media and then I have moved onto myself as in portraiture, and then I have been working on imagery with Emma and possibly using her as part of the work for the MA.   

Current projected aims and outcomes

The aims that I am working towards are more images of Emma, creating work that has that disturbed edge but created in a more soften and subtle expression, which gently reflects the transition of child growing into adulthood and the death of childhood and how that changes not only Emma’s identity but also my own. Furthermore the work still continues to explore how Transference creates or rather effects the work.
To consider a more cohesive research question that is investigated through the work created.  

Discussion and recommendations

We discussed the colours that I have deliberately used in the work, we both agreed that this soften the impact of the work, and in doing this it show the humanity of the individual even through the grief and aggression in the imagery.

I explained to Amelia that I made an intention of adding the purple
taking the piece from sudo-realistic portrait and the use of purple 
created another message.
Amelia suggested that the removal of naturalistic portrait the purple created another level of that individual, it isn’t a portrait it’s a message. 

She also suggested that I look at the work of Andre Derain and the   
use of unseen colours as well as the artist Vladimir Tretchikoff, in regards to the portrait of a Chinese Woman. 

We discussed the idea of the de-constructing the image of the portrait.Amelia also suggested creating written investigations of an individual of a brutalised moment- write a narrative regarding the work. Especially when viewing a person in a traditional portrait format, The facial expression may not show a sense of grieve but the marks and colours are used to relay a moment of grief.
Amelia also suggested that I looked at Madame Tussaud’s and 
especially of the death masks in Paris including Marie Antoinette

She added that the portraiture should be done in a more gentle light especially when we discussed and looked at the work of Lucien Freud we looked at the portrait of the Queen as this piece was a reality piece, there is nothing that reflects emotion it is a true reflect of her face, and yet in a way is it masking the reality… We then touched on the subject of retaining the element of the formal portraiture.

We then went on to discuss the work of the Abused child – an innocence to the work the ‘dummy’ is the only thing that connects this piece to a child, Amelia suggested that to her the childhood is the dummy.  Otherwise the child could be disconnected from her childhood. – And we talked about how certain imagery sticks with the viewer. For instance a picture with a child beaten up without the additional prop of the dummy then what would people react to? I suggested that the use of colours in the work reflect the brutality of my situation rather than a physical reaction of brutality. So a formal pose of brutalised imagery without the props, is this a mask of feelings?

The image of my face in water, Amelia suggested that the background of the red suggest blood drowning the features of face Ophelia pain and anguish not brutal, which could be euphoric, I don’t know a lot about Ophelia but I am keen to research this area, and then Amelia suggested looking at Beata Beatrix as Ophelia canvas painting by Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1870.

We then discussed the two pieces based on Emma and Amelia discussed that the work is a gentle reflection of showing a child gentle moving into adulthood and to another individual that I am not expressing my loss of childhood, therefore could the loss be a positive considering the individual I am now?

I do need to explore in writing in regards to the two images, and there are positives to these pieces, and there is a sense of the stylised and yet dead pose, the second image touches the soul.

Amelia suggested that I should consider reworking the poses size and images recreating in different ways for myself, viewer and get the reaction and learn from them. Furthermore she suggested that work could have the eyes opened and vary the colour palette maybe muting the colours and then gain the reaction, if the work was softer and more eroded then what would the reaction be. I need to continue making more paintings deconstruct them and possibly rework some of them and then compare.

Amelia suggested the work of Jeanette Winterson especially ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ as this explores identity and the relationship between a Mother and her Child.

This Tutorial was really useful and I have read the book 'Oranges are not the only fruit' by Jeanette Winterson and I found the book fascinating and very reflected as a novel loosely based her own upbringing, and I connected with the individual as I never felt that I ever fitted in as a child into the world, and I still don't, but obviously growing into adulthood and by painting I have channeled these issues into my work.   

I have then looked at images of the homeless as I went to an exhibition in Leamington Spa by Josh King who took photographs of the homeless that were living on the streets there. 

And what struck me was how the images were beautifully framed and presented on the walls, in this very clean-cut and professional manner, and yet the subject matter was outside on the streets, disheveled and the stark difference from the imagery to the reality.
This has really made me think about how the work is situated and displayed within the gallery space. The new work that I have created is related to the homeless as it is of a woman who is living on the streets and she is an alcoholic and suffers from depression, and she had been physically attacked and yet the bruises have molded into her already damaged face and are hard to define.

 So this image is on a stretched canvas, but how would the viewer feel about the piece if she was slumped in a corner? Or was scrumpled up as if it was a piece of rubbish? Or if the piece was something you had to stand on as you entered the gallery? The viewer would have to engage in the work in a more personal way possibly... So with this thought in mind I asked someone who goes to a lot of galleries and exhibitions, and he kindly gave his opinion as a viewer and as a collector of artwork.

Reflection of an absent collector

I have been attending art shows, on and off, for some twenty years, and visited galleries across Europe, the United States and the far-east. I have seen some of the best curator-work, and some of the worst, but there are certain factors that inform a successful showing irrespective of geography and discipline, chiefly:
the size and layout of the gallery space (the bigger the better):
the need for space between individual canvases (since clumping is fatal to a painter's right to freedom of consideration by viewers):
the quality and focus of the lighting, which should draw the attention of the viewer to individual canvases, and away from anything by proximity:
the need for distance between the canvas and the viewer (and the opportunity for viewers to approach and retreat from individual works):
the absence of any music or secondary stimulus:
the absence of any commentary either by the artist or a curator:
the absence of any reference to anything other than the name of the artist.

Matthew Boyden.

I thought this was an interesting viewpoint when considering the commercial aspect of creating art, is also in the reality of the world, we need to sell to then be financially enable to create more.

A Painter's Perspective by Francoise Gilot.
Text taken from 'The Origin of Creativity' Edited by Karl. H. Pfenninger and Valerie .R. Shubik.

Gilot begins the essay by touching on the subject of her childhood and her absolute believe that she would be an artist from a very young age. Furthermore she reflects on her relationship with Picasso and how she met and subsequently married Mr Johas Salk the scientist who developed the Polio vaccine.
Gilot firmly believes that art and science are part of the same concept, this is due because both rely on the elements of choice, serendipity and inspiration. She regards painting as a form of language but not in the normal sense of a spoken language more of a dialogue.
Furthermore she sees beauty on artwork, and the definition of beauty, the critical element is that beauty and art is dependent upon some form of order and this is where Gilot returns back to the idea that science and art and how these two subjects have a methodology that is definitive. She believes a painting should move the senses and in her own work believes that is should be felt rather than comprehended.
Gilot comprehends and explores the symbol and believes the kindred spirit of both science and art due to the constant search for discovery. The constant need for discovery pushes the work beyond the conventional or the stereotypical; the symbolic meaning behind the work is part of that discovery.
She then goes to discuss the subject of a synchronistic perspective; perspective relates to the relationship between art and mathematics, as mathematical principles are used by artists even when they are not consciously aware of the connection. The example given is how a artist measures a body when sketching, how each body part relates and are relative to each other and when connected create the form.
Gilot believes that every artist wants to communicate their own personal vision and encompasses the creative process, art originates from the unconscious, and once the marks are made onto the canvas then it takes on a life of its own, the inner expression of the artist's self that they have become of the dialogue. She states that she uses her own feelings and emotions which are revealed in her work, we as artist continuously seek within ourselves, every time we stand in front of a canvas we look within.
Furthermore Gilot believes that serendipity plays an important part of the work. Creation of work to Gilot includes the physicality, the transportation of physical mark making, the artist's knowledge, expression of own will is transferred onto the canvas, but there is something else the work should go beyond mere representation but to incorporate a greater reality.
Gilot acknowledges the role of the viewer, believing the viewer has a complex role to play. Once the work is placed within the public domain,  opinions are going to redefine the work and in doing this something else is added to the piece.
Gilot concludes this essay by believing that what the painter puts onto the canvas is only the beginning because once the work is revealed to the public scrutiny then the meanings and subjective opinions are added to the piece. The work becomes less about the artist but a mixed metaphor of both artist and viewer.

The artist perspectives have been advanced due to the scientific revolutions that have affected all mankind. Artists use the creation of work as a form of communication and it is an extreme and fundamental way of expression.

This weekend I created more work still painting troubled individuals, and this particular person is another lost soul, forgotten by society, I started this piece by using a vibrant crimson as the ground and then used a rich palette over the top.

At this stage of the work I knew the mouth was not working, but I became quite fascinated in the fact the mouth didn't fit and created a type of tension, and so I spend a few days with this piece and I realised that this individual and many in her position have no voice at all, society does not hear them, so I have reworked the mouth area.

I believe in doing this focus is drawn back to the eye, and creates a sense of ambiguity to the piece, and I am pleased with the result. However I do feel that I need to return to some of the work to reflect on the pieces and possibly work on the pieces more. 

In this next piece, I was still working on individuals who are homeless, and as started this piece the individual was sideways on the canvas, but I decided to turn the canvas to see the difference and I ended up with the face looking down, and I kept the head in this position. When I realised that I want the head to be looking downwards, I couldn't understand why, however as I worked on the piece I realised that this was a more instinctive piece. 

I was so relaxed about this painting as I was using my fingers and brushes, and using rags to move the paint across the surface, and the fear of failure was banished as soon as I applied the paint, this was a true instinctive piece.

When I was painting this face, I felt that this was about someone looking at the abyss of their lives, the murky depths and knowing that changes are happening and nothing to stop these changes and yet there is hope that the changes are positive.

With this last piece on my mind I began to start another piece straight away, but I shifted direction, as I became interested in the emotional impact of the 'eye' and how I could use this particular feature to its best advantage, so I began working on a image of a child.

   I have spent time using my fingers, rags as well as brushes, I have been more interested in the application of paint and eyes as the focal point, so the piece is quite raw.

'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, published 1892, New England, America.

This short story has been regarded as an important early work for the American feminist literature, that attempts to illustrate the attitudes towards women's health.
The story is written in the angle of the first person, and the story unfolds as a collection of journal entries written by 'Jane' who is married to 'John' a physician, he has confined her to an upstairs room in a house that has been rented for the summer, specifically to so called 'help' Jane recover from what is perceived as a 'nervous depression' after the birth of her child.
Jane describes in depth in her secret journal entries how the windows in the room are barred and that there is a gate that prevents her access to the rest of the house, there is a so the help from a nurse, who is there to help or monitor Jane through her recuperation.
The bases of the story is the effect on her mental health of the confinement of Jane, as she descends into psychosis, as she has no interaction within society, the only contact she has is with her husband and the nurse, she is forbidden to work.
So Jane has nothing to center herself on, so within in this confinement she becomes obsessed with the appalling wallpaper within that one room, the colour and the patterning really disturbs her, to the point that she starts to imagine women creeping within the patterns of the paper, and as she falls deeper into the psychosis Jane starts to believe that she has become part of the group of skulking women, and the room becomes a haven for her and the only place where she feels secure, so she manages to lock herself in this room, to strip the wallpaper off the walls to free herself and the other women trapped in the confines of the patterning, her husband comes home and breaks into the room, he finds Jane creeping round the room touching the paper, John faints with the shock of her descent into insanity, and Jane continues to circle the room stepping over the body of her unconscious husband.
There are some interpretations of the final phase of this book as some readers believe that Jane has murdered her husband in retaliation of the position he put her in.
I don't think Jane does murder John..,. but that is a fact that is never made clear...

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this story in response to her own experience of suffering for years from depression, and she was prescribed 'rest cure' in which she was not allowed to work as a writer, and she was only allowed contact with society for two hours a day, after several months on this regime Gilman started working again and as she recovered she realised how close she was to a complete mental breakdown and that is when she decided to write 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. 

As a writer Gilman wrote about women's rights, the roles of women as a whole in society.

Lately I have been working quite frenziedly working on canvases at the same time, and returning back to some of the pieces, and the next painting followed from the young homeless girl, in which her eyes are the main focus point, and the next piece of work has been created with another shift in direction.

As I worked on this canvas I recognised that this young girl has never had a childhood and I feel very drawn to her, and I just get the sense of death about her, so I spent time with her face and the painting, and I realised that her eyes were deadened.

This piece has an obsessive reaction to it, and I look at the other work that I have made of late and I have over worked some of the pieces, with this piece I have left the rough sketching to show on the canvas, and I have used a large brush to apply the paint.

When I came to paint the eyes, I couldn't do it, the lack of vital essence removed the clear and concise addition of her eyes they are they but faded out, and for me this piece is about a child that will never gain a childhood and therefore I have called this piece 'The Child that never was'.

So the final painting for the MA is another painting of the child from the above painting and on this piece I have changed direction with the child, as I wanted her to become more alive and the emotional damage to really stand out and her to be seen. I began the process of this painting by using a rich crimson tone to off set the image of the girl.  

I have deliberately centered this portrait as usually I do off set the people I paint. 



In the images above and below it is clearly shown that I am losing the painting here, but I knew that I would regain and find the features again.

It was at this stage I began to add the etched aspects of the white almost as scarring to the features, and I have kept the marks loose and expressive. For a final piece for the exhibition I am really pleased with the outcome of this piece it has a dynamic and depth that really stands out. I have been less frenzied with the brushstrokes, I spent time being considerate with the application of paint and with this in mind I feel it is a successful painting.

This MA has helped to find myself as an artist and that I have developed and grown as a painter, I feel that what I paint and how I paint is my reaction to the reality of the human existence, I am drawn to the emotive and rawness in the figures I attempt to capture. However looking at different artists has been hugely beneficial especially when considering how they apply the paint and their reasoning into why they create the work that they do.
The work I have been producing all have an emotive reaction within myself and therefore a form of therapy, and possibly a form of meditation in a way as I lose myself in the actual application of the paint.
I hope the work has been a form of interpretation and a commentary without the use of the spoken or literal language, rather a visual discussion. I use the face to inform and show the reactions that are expressed when faced with the reality of the human condition.