2S6 plein-air to studio: The ob-pastoral

The aim of this sprint is to focus more on working on preparatory sketches and exploration, more heterogeneous in nature, I’m off work, so time to get out there and do some plein-air sketches, working in sketchbooks, and some figurative work around folk horror. Compositional experiments are on the agenda as well as layer management. Making work to learn about my work, to paraphrase ‘Art and Fear’.

09-11/08/22 This image rolled onto the canvas via a bit of a play with DALL-E 2 (AI photo generator). A nice starting place for figurative compositions working with versions of the 3 key figures from Hardy’s The Wicker Man. Developing variations on a theme; reference back to modes of visual storytelling in comics. Oil – square canvas. This one came out all in one go; once I had settled on a composition and support mode.
13/08/22 Developing on the characterizations of the painting above, this is an example of a page from my sketchbook with the aim of creating a ‘panel’ of images a la comic book storytelling style. Composite images bringing together various sources from recent photographs taken around the area in which I live. Maybe a bit ‘illustrative’ – narrative, but maybe that’s what I am interested in marrying with atmosphere/poetry.
.This is the composition I settled on – the palette will be broadly in line with the first painting but maybe darker as if twilight or perhaps dawn. The large red moon rising out of the sea last night provided some input here – hard to capture in photo, but I took note of the halo formation
14/08/22 sketchbook try-outs & notes on layering/glazing
First stage block-in
next layer. Too many twig-baed things too close together? (hat, staff and bundle) – might knock back the staff later on figures shapes need more work, plus edges and definition more generally
|Bottom figure now rather larger – more subtle and the sense of suggested space off-scene seems to create more dynamism, reinforcing the right to left diagonal.

Sheds – these were painted a while back but I wanted to experiment with glazing them to improve their tonality and create more atmosphere. They are small and a great way to experiment with different applications of paint/layer management in line with tonalist approaches (purposed to the folk horror theme). Sheds in the woods..decay/entropy/hauntology, places of suggested transgression as well as what has been remaindered – all grist to the folk horror theme. Calling on their meanings for children.

A ‘working out’ sketch for the third of the Wickerman series (the last of many) – a few goes to get something that worked compositionally in the square. Imagining the bodies certainly benefitted from recent life drawing. Still need to check on perspective. Trying to work out an interesting visual/proxemic dynamic between the three figures; leaving open the question – who’s the sacrifice?

shed work – large sketch plein air to get in the mood
colour and layering management reference material for skill for 3rd wicker man painting

Experiments with sheds:

  • Some thoughts from working in the studio on a few shed paintings while waiting for a canvas for the wickerman work
  • working small gives you freedom to explore
  • don’t put short ground on top of wiped back oil ground – it just peels off!
  • Add 1/4 ratio of chalk to create a short ground which is easier to work an ebouche method alla prima
  • work thin for more luminous skies
  • think layers for optical effects to happen – particularly with skies
  • think ‘range’ in terms of value, transparency, saturation, warm/cool, chroma.
  • Leave work, no time for it!
  • I love glazing…particularly with gold ochre and transparent orange.
  • 26/08/22

The Druids/Wickerman paintings are completed – 3 is enough for the Sticks and Bones show in November. I liked the continuity of doing 3 paintings, but perhaps too narrative and even though stylised not painterly and experimental enough. I’m feeling that I am seeking something more than this…something more focused emergence and happenstance – letting the fates in! Particularly after the energy created by the work done with Emily Ball on a large and very ‘in the moment’ scale. That’s the work of the next study block work. Still focused on folk horror but looking more towards an emergent style, cue Ithell Coloquhoun.

Here’s the near completed triptych.

Completed bar some gold ochre and transparent orange glazing on the middle image

By tanyakrzywinskablog

After working in the computer industry and spending some years conducting research into cinema and digital media, I became convinced that the innovative qualities of videogames as participatory media required closer academic attention. As such I have spent most of my career championing the inclusion of games within the academy, and arguing for games as an art form, a role I continue as a Professor at Falmouth University. Alongside this, and my scholarly work on the Gothic, I also maintain, in various forms, a visual art practice. This blog comes out of enrolling on the MA Fine Art degree programme at Central Sr Martins. It is mainly a record of my reflections on the work that I have undertaken for the degree. After having written about folk horror in games and cinema as an academic, this blog will focus on folk horror as a focus for my art practice.

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