A Sketchbook has always been my starting point, part of my process, I find it the most immediate form of exploring and understanding the world around me.
This year I have focused on experimenting with a sketchbook on the wall. I have used different paints, techniques, colours on scraps of canvas, paper and materials and placed them on the wall I am working on. This has freed me from the pressure of creating a final image. I start with nothing maybe just a colour or a mark and work with trying to make as many small experiments with the paint. The results have been fascinating as these scraps seem to represent the final image as much as the portrait itself.
I usually prefer to work with oils but have found the transparency and quick-drying effects of acrylic as a medium exciting, and it feeds into my portraits as with the painting completed recently for the Islington Arts Factory. I want to further experiment with this with oil paints and layers of colours and transparency to see the depths I can create over the coming year.
Showing the portrait of Charlie at the Islington Arts Factory this year worked well. It was a commanding size and colour, the simplicity of the oversized face worked in the vast space; however, I am always wanting to develop my ideas further. I feel it could have had more impact with the fragments of the paint sketches experiments from the sketchbook on the wall surrounding the painting, framing the work as it had done in the studio space while painting it, Or possibly displayed separately alongside the portrait. It will be an interesting experiment for next year.
This year I have painted more Holocaust survivors. A project I started a few years ago and I try to paint more of these survivors each year. I find people so interesting finding out the stories behind the portrait;
I have visited several galleries over the year. My favourite Exhibition was with some of my most influential artists at the Whitechapel gallery. Paintings by Cecily Brown, Michael Armitage and Daniel Richter alongside artist like Nicole Eiseman. There figurative painterly images and colours of rhythm I found so incredibly exciting and proves that painting is still very much alive.
Other exhibitions that have been important to my last years' development has been the Dorethea Tanning exhibition at the Tate modern. The variety of painting and sculpture I found fun and dreamlike.
The day trip to the Turner Prize in Margate was another memorable moment from this year. The inspirational tunnels and Margate itself being the most exciting part for me with their old wall paintings.
In-studio practice this year, I found the visit to the Tate Modern a critical experiment. We all placed a piece of our work or sketchbooks amongst the works showing at the Tate, discussing as a group how and where we fit in. I have since questioned my relevance and how I can relate to the artists working today.
The critical practice module lectures have also been a great learning curve. Trying to digest the readings, and complicated text, from Walter Benjamin and Marx and learning about the great philosophers I find this deepens my understanding of art. I am sure this is feeding into my work as I develop as an artist and has widened my reading materials over the year.