Thursday, 1 August 2013

So then...

After that bombshell, did I walk out, no I burst into tears and went home to my lovely hubby. He has the power to calm me and set me back on track. I informed my tutor of what I was going to do and basically, he had the choice of letting me get on with it or walking out. He had already lost a couple of people off the course, so I carried on, returning to my first love of sound.

I had the first bit of my piece, from the Radio Times, worked out. Now I needed to transfer it onto staves in Garageband. Yes, that is what I use, being non-musical, it opens up a new world to me of creating experimental, electronic music.

This first picture shows all the points from two days, placed on a stave, ready to be inserted into GarageBand.

Here are some early idea's with the stave's temporarily removed. These were intended to be used as transparencies but I decided to do something different, move away from print and back into the moving image.
I wanted the audience to imagine that a probe has been sent to Denebola, one of the stars in the constellation system of Leo. It would be a watery planet, some of which would return on the probe, bringing an alien virus back to Earth.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


You will notice I have added a Bloglovin button for anyone who would like to read my blog after Google reader closes on July 1st 2013.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Beginning Denebola

So where to begin, where was my inspiration, what was leaping out at me?

Initially, nothing seemed to be 'speaking' to me. I was looking through the radio section of the Radio Times (something I rarely do) and the pattern just hit me in the face.

I forgot to take a photograph of it before I drew over it but here it is after doing so, a little blurred I'm afraid but you get the idea:

I turned it on its side, then used tracing paper to get just the lines, then scanned that into the computer:

Working with it in Photoshop, I was able to create this:

Each of the three sections were cut and 'stuck' together to form one long template. The white was cut away and the lower black part was flipped over and carefully traced onto mount board (it was flipped for those who don't know about print so that when inked and a print taken from it, the 'picture' appears the right way around).

I forgot to take a photograph of this next stage. Once the tracing had been put onto the mount board, the top part of it was carefully cut away. Then the board was varnished twice both sides to turn it into a collograph plate ready for inking up and printing from.

I was not at all interested in the prints resulting from this plate, they were just a means to an end. This did not go down too well I can tell you, after all, I was supposed to be on a printmaking course!!

Collograph plates are beautiful once inked, printed from and cleaned up. I went through the printing process merely to produce the desired effect on the collograph plate itself.

Here it is, cleaned up after its printing session:

Rather unexpectedly, it reminded me of the blitz from roof tops and the search lights - my knife cuts which should not have been noticeable! Anyway, what I had wanted to do was to scan this plate back into the computer to work on it digitally.

I wanted to try and either get a stand alone picture to use with a sound piece OR a digital print that would then have the collograph plate pressed back onto it to create a meld between two different ways of working.

These are a few of my very early trial prints:

The middle black and white work has the word Denebola, loosely translated in Morse code.  I was intending to use 6 weeks worth of RT Times templates (covering the period of the star sign Leo as it happens), to eventually create a long aural and visual piece based on them. Each would be in the colours representing each of the stars in the constellation Leo. Denebola is a blue white star hence these colours.

It was during these (what was for me very early exciting possibilities) that the tutor looked over my shoulder, told me to come to his office and basically tore into me. My work was not what he was expecting from a Masters student (this was just 7 weeks into the course and at one day per week was in effect 1 1/2 weeks into it - doh!!!)

He obviously couldn't understand where I was coming from, that this was how I worked in the early days, experimenting etc. It was all to no avail, he didn't want to know and the whole thing rapidly went downhill from there. 

I'll finished for today as it just brings back too many bad memories.


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Moving on!

Firstly, welcome Hilde, glad you popped over from my other blog to see this one!

Having had 4 lovely years at my current establishment (Access to Art & Design and B. A. Fine Art) it was time to leave. I really wanted to carry on with my Fine Art as I felt I had found my niche. However, the nearest place that offered this was full time, 1 year, 5 days a week, that would be a one hour drive either way each day.

I know my limits. Some days during my B.A., the 5 minute walk and 10 minute drive was troublesome in that I often arrived home and couldn't remember the journey at all. So, Fine Art there wasn't an option.

The next choice was Printmaking at a different place. This would involve a 10 minute drive, a 45 minute train journey (and the cost of all that), a 10 minute walk and the reverse to come home. This course though could be done part time over 3 years, 1 day a week. I knew it would be tiring but seemed possible.

Anyways, to cut a long story short, I went for my interview, told and showed the tutor what I was interested in and that I planned to initially do traditional print but would later change to video. This was accepted and so it began.

However, within a very short space of time, I was called up to his office to explain what I was doing. I was perplexed, I knew what I was doing, turning data into work but all of a sudden, it seemed unacceptable. I was told to go to the Head tutor in Fine Art to see if he could 'help' me!

Said tutor thought what I was doing was very exciting and I didn't need help. I should have got the message. From there, it went down hill rapidly and within 7 weeks (just 7 days), I knew I couldn't carry on. The tutor constantly tore strips off my work, including in what should have been private tutorials where others tutors were teaching students in the office!

Need I say more. However, my saving grace was my ex-tutor C. from the B.A. course as well as some of the others. They all thought my work exciting and couldn't understand what my current tutor was finding difficult.

Anyhow, I grit my teeth, got through the first year to get my Postgraduate Certificate in Printmaking and promptly left.

Do I regret it – NO!

Do I miss academia – NO!

Could I have carried on elsewhere – NO! (well actually I did apply for an online Master's degree in Fine Art and would probably have got my place after praise from the selection tutor – but they, like everyone else, put up their fees and that was that).

As it happens, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I took ages to get over it, nearly 18 months. Now though I can feel the old bug slowly but surely beginning to bite me again. This time though, anything I produce will be solely for my pleasure, to be shown on this blog for your perusal. There will be no pressure over timetables, exhibiting, selling etc. I never wanted to be a practicing artist, I simply wanted to stretch my brain.

So, I will show you the work I produced for that first year and you can judge it for yourselves. Come back soon.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Origins - the movie!

Finally, after much hard work by myself and the animator, my son J., the work was rendered (many, many hours). 

Here it is, I hope you like it as I think it is by far, the best piece of work to date. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Origins - Animated Graphic Notation

The final piece of work and major exhibition piece was an animated graphic notation developed from the map below which details my ancestors births, marriages and deaths. 

These areas of dots were firstly entered onto a spreadsheet, then a document ready for entering into Garageband. 

Each piece of information was turned into a musical note and put into the music programme. As I have said before, I am not a musician, I cannot just sit and play this information. It has to go through many hours or detailed work to get it to appear as a sound piece.

Once entered into the music programme, piano role sheets were printed out, then stuck together to form the story board for the  animator. Here is part of one of those sheets.

Each note had to have its colour and what octave it belonged to, for transferring into his animation programme.

As you can imagine this took a long time with much liaison between us.

I have a belief that within each of us, are miniscule amounts of stardust; trace elements that have come to earth from other systems in the universe. Many belief systems are based on our ancestors being in the heavens, looking down at us, guiding us.

It felt right then, to have each piece of ancestral information displayed as a sequence of star bursts. The task for the animator was to ensure that each piece of information (one data entry note) began at the correct time, in the correct part of the sky (the octave on the stave) and in the correct colour (the coloured thread above each note on the map).

Here are individual stills of one area of star burst. The first is the wire frame still of number 1054, the second the rendered still.

So, to reiterate, every star burst represents a birth, marriage or death. It's colour refers to the coloured thread above that event dot on the Origins map at the top of this page. The placement of each note on the vertical axis depends on which octave it belongs to.

There are 4 beats to a bar and each beat on the horizontal axis represents one year. There are 17 frames of animation per year and each year lasts for 0.68 seconds. The notes run from the year 2009 through to 1797 where the order of the notes (not the music itself) is reversed to finish back in 2009. This ebb and flow of time links to gene inheritance, genetic memory and remembrance.

Gaps between the star bursts represent silence indicating a lack of ancestral events (i.e. no-one was born, married or died). All frames have a black background to them, which ensures that the silence appears as a normal part of the sky and musical sequence.

The animated graphic piece will be added when I have uploaded it to you tube.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Liminal Fragments Semester 2

I am very interested in the liminal which refers to a state of betwixt and between, neither one thing nor the other. 

At the precise moment that life ceases, the body is in a state of flux. It is not fully living nor fully dead, neither hot nor cold, not in one realm or the other. 

Does all life die when the body dies or can the essence/spirit/soul of our ancestors live on?

These photographs suggest the possibility that our ancestors are still here; but we are unable to see them because of their liminal state.

The final pictures were developed through many stages of print and application of filters.

Original 1918-1920's photographs were used, starting with my maternal grandmother Elsie. These were printed onto thick, iron on Vilene (the kind used to stiffen home made blinds).

Each panel was pulled apart, layer by layer, leaving a print that was almost transparent. Each person was cut out, mounted and  photographed with light projected from behind them. Then it was worked on through various layers of filters until I got the effect I was looking for.

Most of my peers found some of the effect unsettling but I thought they really reflected the effect I was trying to achieve.

 The finished one of her for the final exhibition (A1 size):

Maternal grandfather Phineas:

 The finished one of him for the final exhibition (A1 size):

Finally, my aunt (in law) Mary (left) and my mother in law Olive (right).

 The finished one of them for the final exhibition (A1 size):