Throughout my Final Major project I think that I successfully collected a wide range of visual research relevant to my concept of ‘The Waiting Room’, to inform and inspire my project and it’s progression. Initially I had collected visuals from a wide range of artist’s whom I then further looked into, collecting images of their work that I thought was relevant or could benefit my project in any way, these mainly being paintings and photography. I used these as initial influences to include in my presentation of my ideas and project proposal. I sourced my visual research from all over the internet, using google at first to take me to a range of artists websites where I was able to source and save my images whilst ensuring that they were of a good quality. I also used websites such as the Saatchi and the Tate to find interesting and inspiring contemporary artwork. The visuals that a sourced encompassed a great range of styles, compositions and subject matter which I think was a strength in informing my project, giving me a great starting position with many possible directions to explore.
I could have possibly looked into further and more varied visuals from other artists, such as sculptures, installations or films that could link to my theme and could provoke further ideas. This may have been useful in giving me an even wider scope on my subject matter and could have given me new ideas for visually communicating my concept. Perhaps researching set designers and collecting visuals from this may have been useful considering my ideas of trying to set u this ‘Waiting room’ scene featuring my protagonists. However I think the visuals that I did collect were successful enough in providing me with inspiration for the type of outcome I had intended to create. I also took some preliminary photographs of completely natural scenes and environments with my peers at college, as a comparison for settings and situations and the atmospheres communicated. I did a quick sketch in pen of one of these photographs, as further visual inspiration studying the body language of the people featured in this setting as well as the many objects surrounding them and the feeling this creates. Later in the project I researched and collected some visuals of waiting rooms and of people photographed in these situations, which I feel further helped me to consider the set up of my development and final piece photographs, as well as the atmosphere and setting I wanted to actually present and communicate through my work. I also then went on to some further primary research, collecting a range of visuals of my own scene that I had set up, after being informed by development photos and painting, envisioning the chairs in the room in slightly different places and from different perspectives, to see what would be the most successful for when I next included my protagonists in the scene, to use for my final painting.
From the start of my project, the underlying concept and ideas for my project were inspired by the poem ‘In the waiting room’ by Elizabeth Bishop. I feel that like this poem linked greatly to my initial ideas and helped me develop them greatly in new directions. It provoked me to think about growing up and the confusion of different changes and awakenings, through this young child’s experiences in the setting of the waiting room, using this as a representation of this waiting state. Furthermore it made me consider this in relation to my own life and the stage that myself and my friends are currently at, with things changing, having new realisations and understandings, and having to make decisions about our destinations and what we hope to do with our future. I think that using this poem as a reference, even just for the initial concept and title, was a strongpoint for my context and to aid the development for my project, whilst providing me with the inspiration for this setting for discovery. A potential area for development could again be simply gaining a further breadth of artists perspectives, collecting even more research to inform my ideas and practice.
To inspire my ideas and project development, I did research into a range artists with a spectrum of styles and subject matter which I felt could influence my concepts, theme and ambitions for the project, and found very useful. As well as collecting the visuals, I did lots of research into the background of some of the artists and most importantly what their work was about and their own contexts to some of their practice, which I found very useful and influential, selecting eight artists to include in my sketchbook and annotations. These artists helped me in my consideration of the many ways and styles in which I could express my subject matter.
The artists I selected were mainly painters, with some photography, all with contrasting styles, some more figurative while others such as Tracie Cheng were much more conceptual, and whose ideas behind the work was the aspect I felt I could take inspiration from in this case, looking at the layers and complexity of the unknown. Artists such as Patricia March, Cesar Biojo and Davide Cambria all had really interesting, unique styles in their portraiture, each suggesting elements of distortion and abstraction, and expressing a lot of emotion. March and Biojo both introduce concepts of time in their work, it’s fleeting nature and therefore the importance of small moments, yet in very different ways. This was a main attraction to these artists for me in relation to my project. I was also inspired by the static and atmospheric looking backgrounds in Cesar Biojo’s work in particular. Meanwhile David Hockney’s work was very influential to the development of my ideas in the project. He manages to set up a narrative within each piece and create a setting for his protagonists, showing his interest of people and their relationships in the double portraits, manipulating the picture to tell dual stories and shifting more towards a study of human behaviour in some cases such as ‘My Parents’. His vision and composition in his portraits exhibit his abilities as a stage designer. I was intrigued by Hockney’s range of paintings and “photographic paintings” of card players and portraits of friends, playing with perspective and vanishing points of his settings in these group portraits and I feel these in particular influence my outcomes.
I also collected primary research to support my ideas, in the form of asking my peers questions relating to my ideas and the emotions that I want to express through my project, which I feel gave me valuable further insight and a broader perspective on the topic as well as my own feelings about the matter. This prepared me for the next stages of my project, taking photographs and visualising my ideas.
I experimented with a range of different materials and processes throughout my project, trying out different ways of collecting information, exploring my ideas and making outcomes. I started with mind maps to explore my initial ideas which helped me to just get my ideas down on paper and consider research that would link to my three different ideas, before narrowing it down and selecting my concept of ‘The Waiting Room’ for the project. After collecting all of my research, exploring different sources in ways I hadn’t before, I then went on to collect some primary research, asking questions and collecting responses, gaining useful information and insights through this process.
I took a range of preliminary photographs of people relaxed and natural in their messy studio environment to use as a comparison, which is a way I would not typically work in, but again was a useful experiment and way of visualising some of my ideas. I did a small study from a picture from this set, as well as a quick sketch in pen in my sketchbook, further investigating the environment and people in relation to it, as well as essentially human behaviour. I feel this was a step in the direction of forming and developing my ideas as I then went on to taking my development photos to experiment with and test the set up, waiting room type environment, visualising the way in which my intended ideas and setting would actually look. I think testing this out at this stage was a strength for my project to allow me to then move forward. My small development painting from these photographs was an even more successful step in allowing me to show my ideas in a different format which then helped me to further identify the strengths and weaknesses to the piece and essentially to my actual concept and ideas. It allowed me to try out techniques for my painting and the different styles that would work well. From this painting I realised a large scale would be more successful and powerful and that I wanted to experiment with new perspectives.
I could have perhaps tried out other methods of experimentation and used some different medium in order to find further ways of expressing my ideas, to develop the project further. However, I think that through my experimentation I have explored a lot of the ideas I had planned to explore from the outset, and those inspired by my research and artists, and that this all ties in quite well and links to the piece I produced as my final outcome and project ideas on the whole. I constantly considered elements of my artists work throughout my experimentation, whether in regards to the set up of the scene in my images, the focus and concept I was trying to express in the moment and the emotions within, or the background and my painting style. I feel that all of my experimentation really helped to inform my final piece and the final set of photos I took prior to creating my painting, allowing to bring all of my ideas and newfound knowledge and understanding together.
I think that through developing my ideas and trying them out I have been able to find out what works successfully and what doesn’t and that I identified what I actually wanted to express with my concept through this development and exploration in order to portray this in the end result which I think has gone well for me in the project. Therefore I feel that considering the final outcome, I explored and expanded upon my ideas sufficiently.
Despite this, as an area for development I could have perhaps tried to fit in doing some further development work around the middle of my project, leading up to the final outcome, trying out some quicker pieces in different mediums and on a larger scale than my small painting and sketchbook work for example. This could have just allowed for some further exploration and understanding of what I wanted to communicate exactly in my project outcome overall. Getting some of my development work done sooner could have also made the project more successful, enabling me to make a start on my final painting sooner and helping me to identify the strengths and weaknesses in my ideas and their portrayal further, as well as their practicalities more thoroughly and in good time.
Although in doing so I may have generated more ideas of how to carry out my later outcome, I still feel that I had done a substantial amount of exploring and developing in the initial and early stages of the project, considering the many possible directions the work could take, which brought me to this particular outcome which I think is a strength, generating a lot of ideas throughout the project in general, and therefore I do not think that this was a problem really. I worked on and developed my concept and influences taken from my artists and contextual research well, giving myself a wide range to work with from the outset.
For my Final outcome I produced my very large scale (6’4 by 6’10) painting of ‘The Waiting Room’. In this piece I carried out an idea fairly similar to my small development painting, but with further considerations and developments, selecting and producing what I believe to be my strongest idea. I think this final painting and my idea was developed thoroughly, taking into account everything I had discovered during the project up to this point. I considered the good and less successful aspects of my work and thought about the atmosphere I wanted to create, and use of perspectives and setting, whilst taking my newest set of photographs to work from for my final piece. Although this was quite difficult as many of my photographs weren’t as successful as I had hoped, I worked with the best images together to create my painting from, to produce something new and more dynamic.
I think that this idea and state of ‘The waiting room’ that these protagonists are currently in, as many could interpret and relate to in different stages of our lives, has worked successfully and translated well, especially in it’s portrayal on this huge scale. I feel I produced the painting itself to a good quality, bringing together a combination of styles and techniques, the contrast of which being and interesting and successful element I believe, and as my feedback from the final group critique suggested. I included a lot of detail in my protagonists in the painting, trying to fully portray their expressions, emotions and personality through their clothing, and their body language and feelings in this setting and essentially, mental state. Therefore I took a lot of time on each to show this in a very figurative style. On the other hand, I was much more expressive when painting the background and floor of my piece, portraying elements of blurriness and trying to demonstrate a static quality to the background, as well as a very flowing floor beneath the protagonists, coming from the canvas and drawing the viewer’s perspective into the room. I wanted to make the piece very atmospheric, trying to communicate the idea of all the emotions, thoughts and feelings being up in the air, surrounding and engulfing these people in the setting and white void of the unknown that room also suggests. I tried to express this through my experimental and more abstract use of colours and brush-strokes in regards to my painting techniques. The outcome of this is a painting with an almost dream-like quality and atmosphere to the background, which I feel enhances this state I was referencing and emphasises the confusion element, and I think quite an impactful painting overall.
In the build up to this final outcome I think I have thoroughly explored my ideas and development of the project, taking all of my previous considerations into account and that I have also put a lot of time and effort into my work so I do feel pleased with the end result overall. My finished project satisfies the intentions I had outlined in my statement of intent and project proposal, in all but that I had initially considered abstracting and distorting the protagonists to add further elements of confusion, however I had moved away from this idea throughout the project, focusing on other aspects that I thought would work better.
At the beginning of the project we presented our Proposed project in a formal presentation in front of our tutors and peers, outlining our intentions for the final project as well as including some of our initial supporting visuals and research. I think it helped to talk through our ideas and intended response to the brief, in this way and that the research presentation itself helped me to make sense of my own ideas ready to move on. I consistently considered the presentation of my work, even just throughout my sketchbook, presenting my photographs, drawings and annotating everything to help myself and anyone else, understand and see my thought processes, ideas and their development into my paintings to present.
To present my Final painting I would like it to be hung on a white wall, with nothing else around it in the room so that all of the viewers focus is on the setting in the painting, drawing them into the setting and environment of ‘The waiting room’. I would like it to be hung quite central, further enhancing the white space surrounding the painting and the protagonists in it, as thought this waiting room is continuing from the canvas and is part of the environment it is hung in, whilst appearing almost a window into this ‘state’ of consciousness. I would like the piece to be hung a couple of feet from the ground if this is practical and looks good in the actual practice of it, so that the floor in the painting isn’t too high up as I feel this may look odd and retract from the room-like atmosphere, making it even more surreal. It would probably also be best if I could avoid having to have a door on either side of the painting as this may look less effective when viewing the painting from further back, as it should be really due to the scale of it to see the overall scene. I want the presentation space to be well lit if possible to emphasise the environment.
Upon reflection of my Final Major Project, I think that I have developed massively as an art student, artist and painter through my work in this project and on the course. This was confirmed for me in the group critique, reflecting upon my Final outcome painting which has really pushed the boundaries of the way in which I have previously worked. The feedback also suggested that I have developed greatly in both my technique and my tackling of subject matter, and that my large painting was a success and a good conclusion to my project. The piece itself and also my concept and focus throughout the project has pushed me out of my comfort zone, provoking me to develop my own ideas and thought processes. I feel that I have learnt a lot of new things in this project and have discovered new ways of working, particularly on this large scale, having to edit the way I would normally go about it, in order to get the paint all over and complete the painting to my deadline.
I think I have gained confidence in my own ideas and production of them, sticking with a concept and expressing and exploring this fully to get the best possible outcome. I believe that knowing what to paint and explore and deciding what to focus on became a strength for me in this project, which it hasn’t always been in the past, with more uncertainty about what it was I wanted to portray. During this project I think I have also become more confident in discussing my work, and the work of peers, giving and receiving advice whether individually or during larger and full class group critiques. I am also happier to talk to and ask my tutors for advice, coming to them with more useful and thought out questions to help support and develop my practice. I thinking that I have grown more confident in voicing and writing down my thought process and opinions, as well as evaluating and reflecting upon everything as I go along.
As an area for development I could have perhaps been more daring and experimental at certain points of my project, such as in my development work, using some different and even new mediums and methods which I would then have therefore gained knowledge about but I still feel I have learnt a lot through the work that I did do. I have an understanding now of what it is like to completely write my own brief for a project, and direct it for myself from the outset without prompts, just receiving advice and suggestions from my tutors and sometimes peers along the way when I asked for it, which I feel quite proud of as I had never really done this before.