Research reflection- Linking back

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 this setting for discovery.

I found it very useful to consistently reflect upon and link back to the artists that had initially helped me in my consideration of the many ways and styles in which I could express my subject matter. My finished project satisfies the intentions I had outlined in my statement of intent and project proposal, and I think really links to my artists, in all but that I had initially considered abstracting and distorting the protagonists to add further elements of confusion, like in the work of Partricia March, Cesar Biojo and Davide Cambria. However I had moved away from this idea throughout the project, focusing on other aspects that I thought would work better. Biojo’s work did still greatly influence my choice of painting styles for the background of my work, with it’s static expressive atmospheres, and I always considered the concepts behind the range of work of my researched artists and visuals. Meanwhile David Hockney’s work was very influential to the development of my ideas in the project, with the way in which he set up a narrative within each piece and created a setting for his protagonists, showing his interest of people and their relationships in the double and group portraits, playing with perspective and vantage points of the settings in his “photographic paintings of groups”.

Painting planning- Background experimentation

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I experimented with some painting techniques and colour use in planning and preparation for my background for my painting, reflecting upon my artists research again, in particular Cesar Biojo’s work, to influence how I would do this, as well as looking back at my development painting and the way in which I expressed this in that piece.

Interim critique feedback

Today we had our second interim critique for the project as a whole group. It was really interesting to see everybody’s work, hear their concepts and see their progression over the project so far, as well as giving us the opportunity to discuss and evaluate each others work and gain some valuable feedback to help us move forward with our project in the final two weeks. I was given positive feedback over the scale that I have chosen to work on for my Final piece, being much larger than I have ever worked before, as it is more impactful and feels room-like at this size. I was also told that the smaller scale of the people in relation to the large canvas was a successful element to this piece as the space further surrounds the protagonists, appearing more of a vast white void.

As I have not yet added the door in this piece, one of my classmates suggested that this added something new to the piece, compared to my small development painting and photos I had presented in the previous critique, as she thought that this provided a new and potentially better perspective on the subject. She thought that without the door included the protagonists/ subjects of the piece are not provided with a way out or a path leading them forward, and therefore appear to be more lost in this space, adding to it’s mystery and a sense of the unknown within, of what these people are then waiting for. This then provoked a little bit of a debate in the discussion as to whether this would be better or why the inclusion of the door is in fact important in the piece, making me reflect upon and further question this myself and help me to confirm my ideas and direction. When a door is included in the piece, like I considered and included in my development work, I feel that a completely different effect is created. Firstly I think inevitably the scene appears more like a room with a door in sight, but also this door suggests a way in or out of the scene and a direction for the characters, with the possibility of leading them on from this state that they are currently in, that I am trying to represent. The door prevents the feeling in the painting that they are essentially waiting for nothing, with no direction or connection to the outside world and the future, and it was agreed by most that the inclusion of some sort of door or window would add something extra to the image overall, both aesthetically and conceptually. For this reason I think I will still include a door in my final piece but I will perhaps try to do it in a way that is slightly less dominating and will not take away from the protagonists and their expressions and feelings in this state in any way.

We also discussed the style and appearance of the scene and the way in which the chairs as well as potentially the doors, look school or college like, placing them in their current settings and state. Therefore I could consider playing with the type of door that I include as well as it’s placement which could add to or take away from this effect depending.

Photographs- selecting and problem solving

outcome plans

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As my photoshoot wasn’t completely successful all the way through with lots of images produced that I didn’t think I could use, due to the different methods I was trying throughout, therefore I have combined a couple of pictures together, experimenting with this idea through collaging, to using a different photo of one of my protagonists in particular who looked a bit overdramatic in a picture I wanted to use of my other models. I also sketched and experimented with ways of adding the door into the piece, as I had still wanted to include this element, using another photo I had taken where the composition included the door to the room but at a different angle.

Further/final photographs

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I took a new set of photographs taking into account all that I have learnt from my development through the project so far. In these photographs I experimented with new set ups, changing the people around to get more variation throughout the set as well as trying lots of different perspectives and vantage points, which my further visual research into waiting rooms helped me to consider.

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I picked some of the more successful photos but liked certain aspects from different ones so I have decided to combine these for my Final painting. I liked the images that were from a bit more of an angle, showing a more interesting perspective and view point on the room and the protagonists of the scene.

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Setting investigation/ exploration

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Before I went to take my photographs for my final piece taking into account what I had found/learnt from my previous development work, research and feedback, I also decided to take some photos of the basic set up and room that I planned to use, trying out some different angles and perspectives and where I would place the chairs and protagonists in the piece. I think that this helped me prepare myself to take the actual photographs, allowing me to visualise the set up and what works in regards to the perspectives as well as what should be included in the background, considering space, and the inclusion of the door to the room.

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Extra research- Waiting rooms

I did some extra research/investigating on Waiting rooms, to find a bit of  further visual inspiration when planning for my next/final set of photographs, to hopefully use for my final piece. I found a wide range of images naturally, all of which portraying diverse atmospheres and emotions through the settings themselves and the protagonists pictured, many showing the subject appearing anxious and tired of waiting, as is clear through their various expressions and body language, as I have been trying to show myself. It was interesting to see the different angles and perspectives that these photographs that I have found, were taken at, and the effect that this had on the image, which I will consider in my own photographs. I also came across some interesting concepts that may be useful in my considerations of the sorts of waiting rooms we may come across in life, such as the idea that “we make progress as we wait, as well as moving more into the territory of a waiting room as a state of mind, much like I have thought about in my project so far, and a place for us to gather and prepare ourselves for what is to come.

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The size of the room and vast space surrounding the person featured in this picture, make this waiting room appear even more threatening and very atmospheric. The fact that she is alone here as well as being far away from the viewer, also adds a sense of isolation and distance, making it seem more intimidating and nerve-wracking for the woman waiting there for whatever reason it may be.

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Time concept considered and included- thinking about the time that passes us there and the decisions we make and thought processes we go through during this time.   Expressions, body language, setting.

 

Waiting in the waiting room (2016) Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jhr43/2313468672 (Accessed: 14 April 2016).

The waiting rooms of life (2013) Available at: http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/the-waiting-rooms-of-life.html

 

Tutorial- Feedback and evaluation

I had a tutorial reviewing my progress so far, and discussing how I plan to expand upon and develop my ideas further in the next stages of my project. In relation to my time plan and the time left for the project I feel that I am relatively on track but just need to begin my final piece as soon as possible working from a new set of photos I have just taken, so that I won’t fall behind. My tutor advised me to keep on top of my sketchbook and blog as I go along, as I have been trying to do throughout the project so far which will help me stick to my time plan too and not have to do as much last minute. I intend to keep trying to write down all my thoughts and development processes, as well as annotating the photographs that I take, work I create and any extra research and investigating I do, as an ongoing process.

When discussing with each of my tutors my new photographs and the final piece that I plan to create, we agreed that a large scale would be necessary and the most suitable in communicating my concept. My tutor encouraged me to take forward my ideas from my development work of including the large white background in my piece, making this space even larger in order to add to the atmosphere of the unknown and of it being like a big white void in this ‘waiting room’, and an almost limbo state. The idea of making the people a smaller size in relation to the scale of the large canvas overall was suggested as a development on my work, which I feel could be quite successful. I also think that it could be effective to have the white space of the room surrounding the protagonists more from all sides.

I had discussed elements to consider in relation to the photographs that I had taken/ would take for my final piece, such as the different perspectives to use, how close I was to my subjects, their distance from the background and the various vantage points to try and the impact this would create overall. We also talked about what to include in the background, if anything, and how my protagonists appear in the images, focusing on their positions and expressions as an incredibly important factor in communicating my ideas. My tutor suggested that I could also look back at my artist research at this point which might help me to think about the techniques I will use and styles that will be suitable, as well as their ideas, as reconsidering this may further influence and inspire my practice at this stage.

Development- Painting (Reflection)

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I chose this photograph to work from for my development painting, experimenting with my ideas, and I included the wider background and door like I had planned and sketched around the image in my sketchbook. My piece was on a fairly small scale, and with the inclusion of the wider background, the protagonists were even smaller and consequently I found painting them quite difficult, especially their faces, so I wasn’t as happy with them as I had hoped, feeling I had not successfully communicated their expressions and emotions through this. I do think that I still managed to communicate their body language though and was pleased with their contrasting positions and execution of this in the painting. I used oil paint which was good for blending colours and creating textures and shadows, however it was difficult to use when painting the tiny faces, to portray the defining lines and finer details, creating a messier effect than i would have liked. This medium is what I intend to use for my Final Piece, but I will make the piece on a much larger scale as I think this will be much more successful, as well as creating much more of an impact.

I think adding a more static quality may have changed the look of this background and could have been more successful which I could still consider trying in my further work. Luckily I had good quality photographs to work from as through my preliminary photos I learnt that borrowing a better quality camera from college was the best option. I will however try to work from a bigger image for my Final piece, especially to work on a larger scale, to help me to show the small details in the face and expression more successfully.

The picture that I have chosen was what I felt to be the most interesting out of the set, due to the different emotions, expressions and interactions between the protagonists, as shown through their body language. Their range of positions leave lots of room for interpretation but I think that one appears to be gazing into the distance, perhaps in anticipation of what is to come, focused on this and not looking to see what the others are doing. Meanwhile the other two show further interaction, with one looking towards the other, apparently very interested in what she is doing and is concerned with, who is on her phone, showing further connection to the world around and not just this ‘waiting room’ and moment that they are in.

In my next set of photos I’ll consider initially having a plain background with wider space like I had first planned, rather than having to improvise the background using several photo references as I did in this piece, which I feel will be more successful and fit together better overall. My main problem with this development is that despite being my plan and idea, I feel that in the execution of the painting I have discovered that my inclusion of the room in this way and the larger door at the side, almost takes the focus away from my protagonists which is not what I wanted, the people being the most important element to this project.

The piece has made me consider whether the room and setting I created in this case was perhaps too mysterious and unable to place, which discussions with my tutors helped me to evaluate. It could be due to this placement of the large door and improvised space, however I had wanted to communicate this large white void of the unknown with has think does come through. This provoked me to consider whether it may have been better to have left the other objects in the background of the room, such as the piles of boards for easels, as this may have placed them somewhere, putting them in their present as students at art college, which could have helped add more character and suggested more about the personalities of the protagonists. This would create a different atmosphere inevitably.

I did like the composition of the subjects in my photographs and still feel that the range of positions was a successful element to my painting. Talking with my tutor allowed me gain a further perspective on my development work and I think really helped me to evaluate the work myself, through discussing the strengths and weaknesses of this first painting, visualising my ideas, which I will now consider when moving on to my next set of photographs and plans for my final piece.

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Development and Experimentation

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I wanted to show the emotions as well as the interactions of the protagonists in my photographs in this scenario, through both their expressions and their body language and positions. In the best photographs they are all looking in different directions, appearing to have different interests and concerns which I felt could communicate the different directions they are looking towards and heading in, whether consciously or not. I think that the scene that I set up with the chairs to create my ‘waiting room’ atmosphere worked quite well however I plan to use a much more plain background in my future images, perhaps including a larger and wider space arounds my subjects. There was also other objects in the room, in the background behind my protagonists in the photographs, which I want to avoid in my next set of photos. In this development stage I also plan to not include these objects to experiment with further creating an atmosphere like I had initially intended. I managed to capture a range of emotions throughout this set of images, with the subjects sometimes appearing nervous, bored, confused or interested and concerned about what is going on around them, and perhaps of what is to come, in the context of my theme.

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I tried capturing a moment to exhibit the way that things won’t be the same again and it can therefore never be repeated, due to the inevitable changes approaching. I selected a couple of photographs that I liked the best and stuck them in my sketchbook with plenty of space around, to then sketch in some further lines as though there was further space in the background. This helped me to visualise how my idea would look. I also tried including the door to the room, like I had in some of my other images with a wider shot, to this photo that I preferred, in order to then create a small development painting from this.

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