Reflection on Exercises 1.1 – 1.6

At the end of Exercise 1.5 there is a short paragraph about suggestions of questions and connections to make on the various exercises in the students work:

“Remember to record all these exercises in your learning log and to annotate your images and samples with your thoughts.  Make connections between the different exercises.  Are you working with particular colours?  Do certain themes or artists recur?  Are your responses to the exercises become more lucid?  Have you invented new ways of working?  Record all these findings in your learning log.  Use your learning log to continually review your progress, record new insights and highlight your strengths and weaknesses.”

This paragraph is one I am printing out and keeping on my noticeboard as a reminder of points to include but to answer the questions now is thought provoking.

I do feel I am starting to connect the exercises – initially they felt disjointed and separate but now I am starting to want to them to flow and blend together although with distinct borders so that they can be viewed individually or as a cohesive whole.   img_4924The music exercise  has at this point been separated from the previous ones but I have also just written a post on a repeat of my journey today and the idea that I repeat the earlier exercise 1.2 and the music exercise with a different approach – I want to re-do the journey and record it on a dictaphone and with my camera again and then do two new pieces based on what I observe with my hearing aids in:  one will be a repeat of the mixed media piece with new observations and indications of the sounds and the second using the recording on the dictaphone in replace of music to work on one singular sketch of the journey on a singular plane (thinking exercise 1.4) and seeing how I respond to both.  I feel I can now see how the exercises can be linked – if I add in the words in the form suggested in exercises 1.5 or 1.4 how would that change the outcome and appearance of the pieces?  I need to take this section forward and use the exercises to inspire and create new variances of pieces and ideas.

img_5049LATER NOTE:  I have gone back to Exercise 1.6 and re-worked the watercolour but this time with my hearing aids in – the first piece can be seen above (without hearing aid) and the second is the image to the left …. a very revealing and personal exercise.  I have added a footnote with my reflections and feelings into the blog on the exercise but am really pleased I am now happier about re-working pieces or re-trying them in different ways without feeling I am going over the same ground or repeating needlessly which I think I felt in my previous course.

On the subject of colours I am aware I have my favourites but am trying now to work with differing palettes as my observational skills increase and change.  The colours used in this selection of exercises were initially based on greys and greens but the latter exercises have seen a greater variation including the addition of red and yellow as examples.  I do love working with greens, pinks or purples and blues as a general rule and in fact this is reflective of the colours of my own home with the addition of a pale bluish grey and the fact I am sat writing this facing a bright red wall!  I am not really working at this point with a consistent range of colours because each exercise has brought changes although I now realise these seem gradual but I have wanted to change the colours away from a realistic portray of the object of scene in front of me to almost an abstract representation in terms of colour at least if not at this moment in form.

This series of exercises has concentrated on the work of Edmund de Waal but I have also become more interested and wanting to research the various other artists or pieces of work that I have been directed towards such as Hogarth’s The Rakes Progress and then the scenery that Hockney created from these pieces.  I have used the work of Noelle Cuppens to inspire one of my own pieces and am now understanding the direct influence of artists upon my work – the same has happened with the work of Hokusai with his work The Great Wave.

I do feel my work is becoming more lucid or at least my blog is – my pieces are becoming more defined and easier to read or to understand and this is something I want to develop further particular as I use the techniques from this part of the course and the subsequential ones in my creative processes.  I have definitely discovered new ways of working and thinking and this has really become apparent in my blog today about the journey with my hearing aids in – this was quite revealing to me in how my thought processes are changing and how my observational skills are deepening.  I am wanting to explore these skills further and develop them and make them become part of my subconscious so that they are just a part of tools so that I do them without thinking.

One of my strengths at this point in the course has  been to recognise and work through my thoughts and ideas and also to become aware that a useful part of this learning log is that it can be a place to jot down my those thoughts  so that I can organise them in a cohesive and understandable manner in order that I can take them forward to create new ideas.  I hit a low point earlier this week when my fiance was finishing off one of his exercises and I had started to feel doing this degree was a never ending series of exercises and work – it suddenly hit how much it would be a long hard slog at times but then I realised that if I didn’t want it be that slog I had to change the way I was thinking and look at the series of exercises as individual steps on a journey of discovery which is one of excitement.  If I changed the way I viewed myself and the way I viewed even just writing this blog then maybe my mindset would change – this blog is not just a way to record the exercises and outcomes and reflections but it can be used as a journal of ideas and thoughts and an area in which I can go off at a tangent and investigate an artist such as Hokusai or a personal favourite, Takumasa Ono, who I am looking forward to meeting once more at Kedleston Hall this year.  I will also now start adding blogs of personal work such as the work I do on my crazy quilt or other sketchbook work – each is relevant as the seam treatments for the ‘crazy’ make me think of stitch combinations as well as helping me to develop my stitching skills and the work I do in my general sketchbooks including my favourite studies of flowers increase my watercolour skills or mark making and hence all is worth recording.

I feel I have hit a stage where my mind is becoming ever more enquiring and it has developed a sudden thirst for knowledge – it feels as though something has unlocked and my studying has gone from just simple enjoyment with times where it is a hard slog or a chore to one of excitement and joy as I know with each mark I make or each exercise I complete I am one step closer to my goal.  I am also wanting to analyse, reflect and critically review what I have done in order to learn from my mistakes or what I would want to change.  I guess to sum this up – the light bulb has finally gone on as to what the heck I am meant to be doing!!



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