VIDEO OF PAINTINGS: The Hidden Loneliness of City Life

I was incredibly pleased with the feedback that I received within a tutorial that I attended before the Easter break. I was delighted to hear the tutor mentioning successes within the body of work that I have created and agreeing with me that creating a stop motion was a great way of consolidating my photo manipulations and works well as a final piece to this project. We talked about how everything seemed to inform something and that you could see my journey and progression throughout this project rather that there being lots of random experiments. I was very pleased with this feedback and we then moved on to discuss how the tutor felt I could finalize this work and bring everything together. He felt that making a fade video out of photographs of all my paintings would be beneficial and would allow people to see the development in my work and consolidate a large amount of blog posts and images into one outcome.

After producing this piece, I feel that to me, it shows progression and all the hard work that I have put in to produce paintings alongside my photo-manipulations, animations, experiments and my collaboration work. In terms of the title of my project, I feel that when looking at these paintings you get the feeling of loneliness. I have worked with the topic of the Hidden Loneliness of City life when producing these paintings. When experimenting with photo-manipulation I found that cutting out figures and leaving one left behind portrayed the feeling of being alone in the city even though you are surrounded by others. I thought about the fact that all the other people in the city may as well not exist or at least might as well just be white silhouettes. These paintings were inspired by my photo-manipulation work and I have experimented with grounds, colours, loneliness representation and scale throughout. I think the theme of the white silhouettes running through the video heightens the feeling of the single figures feeling alone amongst the masses in the city.

Overall, I feel that both these paintings and the video portraying them all are highly successful. I think this video shows the journey that I have undertaken during this project and brings together all of my paintings so that they can be viewed all at once. I hadn’t realised quite how much work I have created and I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved within this project. The loneliness of City life is heightened within this piece and it showcases my work in a professional and consolidated way.



FINAL PIECE: Based on the Fine Art Painting Project

I have decided to submit my monochrome shaped painting that I started within the last fine art project session as a final piece. It communicates all of the material skills that I have learnt throughout the painting project and accurately consolidates my body of work surrounding the hidden loneliness of life in the City. Participating in the project has taught me a wide variety of skills, I had never explored the technique of underpainting before and I learnt how much an underpainting really can inform a final piece. I also acquired a knowledge of dry brushing and allowing an underpainting to come through the top layer of paint. Creating a shaped painting was a new and interesting concept for me as well as like many other painters, I tend to traditionally paint on square or rectangular surfaces. I wanted my final piece to convey all of the skills and knowledge that I have gained from attending these sessions and I feel that this monochrome shaped piece with a green sort of under glow definitely does.






Previously, I experimented with making the people the focus in my work  rather than the architecture and making the buildings more gestural. Like I said, I do think that this was highly successful, but in this piece, I think the buildings really add to the feeling of loneliness within the work because of the eery and sort of uneasy green underglow that is coming through the monochrome overlay. I employed the technique of dry brushing within this piece so that the green underpainting is really a valued part of this final outcome. I feel this piece really consolidates my city project. It portrays everything I have learnt, the things I have progressed with, the things I have not taken any further but learnt from and the meaning and concept behind my take on the city itself. I have included a coloured figure surrounded by white silhouettes within this piece because it has been my most successful portrayal of being surrounded by others in the city but alone. You might as well be alone in the city because no one interacts with you or notices your existence. You may as well be surrounded by bodies with no defining features – white silhouettes. I definitely feel that it is worse being around people and being made to feel alone in the city than actually being around no one. This piece represents how you are alone in the city regardless of being surrounded by others and that if the only people you see all day are the passers-by of the city, then your time in the urban environment can be an incredibly lonely, with no interaction or conversation with others.

As this is a final piece, I thought about the fact that it should be able to be presented and hung on the wall as a final outcome and so fixed a block of wood to the back of the board so that it can be hung upon nails or screws.

IMG_2688 IMG_2687

I definitely would not have made this piece without attending the painting project sessions, they have been extremely valuable to me and even though I have had to create a final piece based on what I have learnt in these sessions, I think I would have made a piece inspired by them anyway because of how many new techniques and methods  I have worked with. Underpainting is definitely something I am going to be considering in the future as I feel it has really informed and added to the outcome created here. I think this piece is highly successful in portraying what I have learnt in the sessions as well as highlighting the hidden loneliness of City life and how you are alone and a singular figure in the city even when you are surrounded by others. I am incredibly happy with and proud of this final piece. It is definitely not something I would have usually created but that has taught me that experimenting with new styles and techniques can make for highly successful outcomes.


Paint Workshop : Paint, Mediums and Glazes

Today, I attended an incredibly interesting workshop, where the tutor talked about paint, mediums that we can mixed with both oil paint and acrylic paint, varnishing, adding colour, layering colour and glazing with many layers of paint. I learnt so much this morning and I will outline all of the things that learnt during this workshop below.

Oil Paint and Acrylic Paint is made from the same pigment. Burnt Sienna is an exception to this rule, as art students we probable rarely use real burnt sienna pigment, it is now mostly synthetic. Certain pigments within paint have certain qualities, for example Naples Yellow has a thick and buttery quality to it and Rose Madder comes from a natural dye and is more of a liquid paint. Paints have very individual qualities but the only reason for this is the medium that is added.

Commonly, artists may use turpentine to thin oil paint however, turps evaporates and leaves nothing for the colour to bind to. Turpentine is not a medium and it shouldn’t be used to think  oil paints. Linseed oil is the correct medium for this purpose, the colours don’t become transparent when using it and the paint binds easily. The thinner the paint you want, the more Linseed Oil you would add. Mediums give you the potential to change the consistency of paint by adding them to it. You can also use mediums to increase the drying time of oil paint.

To make oil paint, you use Linseed oil, you use it to extend oil paint also. Refined Linseed oil will slow dow the drying time when using oils. Stand oil is exactly the same material as linseed oil, its a lot thicker in consistency and because it is thicker, it tend to get rid of brush marks when it is mixed with paint and applied. If making acrylic paint, you wouldn’t use Linseed oil, you’d use an acrylic medium and copolymer, a colourless acrylic paint with pigment. This mixture should then b ground together as if you don’t bits of pigment will be floating in it. However, this could be a desirable effect to use within your work. If you extend acrylic colours with PVA Homopolymer the paint will become glossy and plasticky. You can add a matting agent to if afterwards if you want to get rid of the glossy effect. The paint will be a lot thinner when you add copolymer but you can thicken it uo with copolymetric thickener. The more you add the thicker it gets but if you put too much it will solidify. It is really interesting to me that making and using mediums is like baking and following a recipe. If you wanted your paint to be thick, chalky and dry you could add powders to it. With Acrylic, you could paint a thicker mixture of paint and powder on and it would be dry and ready to work with in just 30 minutes. Acrylic paint is a glue, if you were using it with collage, it would stick the collage material to the painting. Acrylic is a lot less harmful than oil paint. Oil materials involve solvents and chemicals, also acrylic paint has a greater rang of consistencies. For example, you cannot make matt oil paint. The possibilities are greater with acrylic but oil paint is still favoured.

 Acrylic didn’t used to be very permanent when it first came out, it cracked and the colour often faded over time. Colour Field artists were given acrylic paint to experiment with and started creating new ways of applying large expanses of colour like pouring it onto the canvas.



Now acrylic is a lot better and almost on parr with oils. Oil Paint comes in many different grades. The difference between student grade oil paint and an artist quality paint is that there is more pigment in artist quality paint and it contains real pigment where as student paints tend to be coloured with dye.  I didn’t realise until undertaking this workshop that paint can carry a safety warning. Naples Yellow is  like arsenic, it is highly poisonous. In student quality paint, there is no real Naples yellow pigment so its safe, but artists quality is toxic and does contain it. The reason you would use artists quality paint is usually if you were adding mediums to it, you would get more mileage out of it and the colour would still be rich even though mediums have been added.

Mediums and Varnish being different is a myth. Mediums and varnishes are the same material. If you are putting the material into paint it is known as a medium. If you are painting it on top of a painting it is known as a varnish. The way the material is used affects its name, not the material itself. A typical medium make up is 1 portion of oil, 1 portion of varnish and 4 portions of turps. You can obtain varnish in crystal form. It comes from a tree and is what you make damar varnish from. You would put a crystal in a cloth bag, hang it in a jar and fill the jar with turps. Damar varnish is a finishing varnish. Years ago, artists thought that the surface of a painting should be even and covered it in varnish to bring the painting to life. The disadvantage of all varnishes is that they eventually yellow and could turn a shade of brown. Industrial varnishes yellow even quicker. Varnish can also be used as a dryer. All paints conform to varying levels of transparency. If you make brighter colours transparent on a white background, they glow.

Wax is a painting medium, and allows you to work with incredibly thick paint, Microcrystalline wax is cold wax and is very thin but has a definite presence if used within art work. Hot wax makes an incredibly thick paint when oil paint is added to it. This can be seen in the work of Jasper Johns.


Wax has a quality that is unlike oil and acrylic, it is sort of in-between. Egyptians used it to bind the painting they did onto caskets. Wax painting holds every single mark of the brush used to apply it. Another artist that has worked with wax is Terry Setch, he uses buckets of it and embeds things within the wax.


Layering paint is an interesting idea. Painting one colour on top of another colour makes a third colour. In Rembrandt’s work. There are about 30 layers of slightly different colours, creating a new colour every time. Landscape Painters used layering to produce greens back when they were inaccessible. It is very difficult to describe the amalgams of colour that are created through layering. The combinations of glazes can be incredibly complex or incredibly simple. You can use layering and glazing to modify a colour. If a colour has become too cold, yu can make it warmer by applying a thin yellow glaze and vice versa, if it has become to warm you could use a thin blue glaze to cool it down.

You could mix up a heavy dark colour of glaze and use a soft cloth to take glaze away and allow the white behind it (as long as you had used a white ground) to come through. you can reveal the underneath colour and build up highlights and shadows this way within a painting. Rather than adding white, you are creating volumetric space. Layering glazes creates volumetric colour and depth.

Today there are many new mediums that are ready-made like synthetic resins. Liquin is an example. Spectra-Gel means you can put a glaze over something with thin, minimal colour, but with an incredibly thick paint consistency. The medium itself has a jelly like consistency and makes thick paint dry a lot quicker. Alcaflow is treacle in consistency amd tends to get rid of brush marks. Spectraflow is a thinner version of spectra gel. Spectra gel responds to friction, if you used a palette knife to apply it, it can flatten out if you over work it. Synthetic resins are much more prone to yellowing than traditional varnishes. You wouldn’t use synthetic resins as finishing varnishes.

Under taking this workshop has made me want to get samples of mediums and just have a little play  with them and investigate how they change paint. I am going to experiment with how using a ground changes the end result of a painting and I will also experiment with how mediums can effect end results of pieces too. I came back from the workshop with a Jar of acrylic co-polymer to play around with as a starting point.

Artistic Influence: Srboohie Abaijan

Whilst researching my subject, I came across a piece portraying loneliness in the city by Srboohie Abaijan. I immediately started finding out about the artist and their intentions when creating their artwork. Even though the piece concerned was the initial inspiration for my coming across this artist, it was their artistic statement that really captured me:

“Art is not a matter of painting something to the last detail. It is a matter of expressing the state, emotions, and thoughts of one’s subject.

True art expresses life as a whole, and it is more alive and moving than life itself.

Art must express those characteristics and emotional states that are inexpressible in words.

Being an artist means seeing the world in a new way. The artist is not the one who paints well and correctly; the artist is the one who looks at life anew and expresses his own philosophy of life.

A wealth of technique is worthless in itself. Technique must serve one’s intended meaning. And meaning must originate from life.”

-Srboohie Abajian

In her words, she captures exactly how I feel about being an artist myself. I don’t believe being an artist is about painting things accurately or realistic practice. I believe it is about expressing yourself. Throughout this project, I intend to express the loneliness of the city within my work. I do not however intend to paint photo realistic imagery because in my opinion it lacks individuality and doesn’t portray your view of the subject concerned. I want to show how people can be lonely even though they are around others and how the city can be a lonely place in general, I will produce artwork that emits and expresses a feeling of loneliness.

loneliness - srboohie

Abajian experiments with Acrylic, Monotype and Collage within her piece “Loneliness in the Big City”. It is a visually stunning artwork in my opinion and to me expresses the need for emotional interaction within the city. It shows how people can be alone so easily within cities and how you can end up on a downward spiral of depression or upset by being alone and craving emotional attachment. The Hollywood sign and use of vibrant colouring makes me think the artist is making a statement about how life in Hollywood is shown to us as being glamorous and full of highly social people and the reality of many of those people feeling lonely. This piece is highly inspirational to my project and makes me think about juxtaposing how the city is perceived to be and how lonely it is within my artwork.

Summer Project Piece – “Home is Where the Heart Is”

One of the requirements of my summer project was to produce a piece that would show me to my new tutorial group. In my opinion, nothing shows me better than the way I enjoy to create art in my own time.This piece is bright and highly textural.

beacons blog

It is painted in Acrylic and includes tissue paper, glue, kitchen towel, sugar and modelling paste. I am passionate about colour and how it creates mood and atmosphere within artwork,  especially landscapes. Recently I have become interested in mixed media work and whether simple everyday items can be used to make artwork. This piece also says alot about me as its a scene from home – The Brecon Beacons.