Monday, 28 February 2011

Illustration Friday: Layer

This week's Illustration Friday was 'Layer'. For this I had so many ideas, I found it hard to choose just one, so I tried combining them into one image.Here, the 'layers' are the colours, as well as the pieces of the face e.g the eyes, and the skull that is on display. This shows all the layers of the body on display.
I also added the arms behind the body to give the drawing yet another dimension. The whole image, to me, has a surreal feeling, which I haven't really experimented with before.

Illustration Friday: Sweater

This piece was for the Illustration Friday theme of 'Sweater'. I decided to do a more sketchy, whimsical piece instead of an illustration, and sketched up this little guy, lost in the vastness of a too-big sweater.

An Analytical Review of the Work of Lucian Freud

In this essay I am going to discuss the work of Lucian Freud, a legendary painter who uses oil paint to portray the naked form. I will analyse his techniques, materials and subject matter, and discuss the effect these things have on his audience.

                  Lucian Freud has said that he prefers not to use professional models. Instead, he uses friends and acquaintances as models, which gives the painting a more meaningful and purposeful feel. Freud has said that he “could never put anything into a picture that wasn't actually there” which implies he likes to pour some of his feelings and knowledge of the person he’s painting into his work.
Freud likes to give his audience a real experience of what the model is all about, painting not only the figure but the true essence of a person, something you cannot convey with a paid model: "I want paint to work as flesh... my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, being them... As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does."

Freud works in thick layers of oil paint and says that he doesn’t pay much attention to colour when he works: "I don't want any colour to be noticeable... I don't want it to operate in the modernist sense as colour, something independent... Full, saturated colours have an emotional significance I want to avoid."
Works like ‘Reflection’, a self-portrait, are created with thick, non-precise strokes that define the face with seemingly no effort. Every stroke can be clearly seen on the canvas as no blending takes place and all the strokes have a fluid motion about them, like Freud is crafting the flesh on the canvas himself.

His works are designed to depict a person in his or her entirety, and colour is seen as unimportant. His works give the feel that they would be just as striking in any colour scheme, as the focus is not on the tones and hues, rather the strokes and shapes the paint creates. His work creates a stark realism with the audience that some can find difficult to look at. No blemishes or marks of imperfection are ignored, which adds to the feeling that Freud knows his models well enough to not be scared to portray them, warts-and-all.

In conclusion, though I was not particularly fond of Freud’s work at the start of this essay, I have taken a closer look at it over the course of writing this, and have found respect for his strong portrayal of his subjects. While Freud’s work has no clear, strong, meaningful message, his work still leaves an impression on me. Despite the fact it is not a focus in his work, I like his use of colours to paint everything in such a harsh, this-is-how-it-is way. He doesn’t attempt to mislead his audience with warm, friendly hues or drown them with cool, depressing colours, his work simply speaks for itself as a strong portrayal of the human form.

Friday, 11 February 2011

An Analytical Review of the Work of Jenny Saville

In this essay I plan to discuss the work of the painter Jenny Saville, whose work I admire for it’s stark, harsh subject matter and uncomplicated execution. In this essay I will analyse Jenny Saville’s techniques, materials and subject matter and the effect they have on her audience.

Jenny Saville is famous for painting huge portraits of fat, disfigured or transgender subjects. She says this comes from being a child, sitting underneath her piano teacher and examining the teacher’s large thighs: “From below she had these big, thick thighs, a thick tweed skirt and tights, and I'd spend the whole time looking at the way her thighs never parted and how the flesh would rub against the tights.”
Because of the sheer size of the canvas Saville likes to work on, and the size of the models she paints, the viewer gets a strong feeling of being a small child gazing up at a huge subject, and this can create a feeling of fear of inferiority very easily. Overall this seems to be a theme in Jenny Saville’s work – uncovering the uncomfortable and displaying it so massively that it is impossible to avoid. As a race we’re very fond of hiding away the ugly people, the fat people, the strange people and the disfigured people, but Jenny Saville is all too fond of putting those people up on huge canvases to be stared at and admired.

Saville works in oil paint on a huge, larger-than-life-size scale. She paints in a way that is reminiscent of finger painting, and very little attention is paid to whether strokes are inside the lines. This in itself could be a statement on the human race’s reluctance to accept anything outside of the beautiful norm we see on television and in magazines every day.

Saville uses pigmented hues and tones in her work, and her use of almost creamy oil paint gives the skin a poured or smeared appearance, making it seem almost unrealistic in nature. In pieces like ‘Rosetta’, blues are used to create a cool, harsh, sad feeling with the viewer, which can make them feel sympathy for the subject of the painting. Using harsh blues in the eyes gives them a sad look, and the use of creamy colours and purples around the eyes makes the viewer anxious to look into the subject’s eyes, which are staring right out of the canvas.

In conclusion, I love the stark, harsh realism of Jenny Saville’s work. I love her willingness to focus on subjects that are perfectly imperfect – subjects that are not usually seen in paintings and photographs are glorified in huge life-size paintings and daubed, creamy oil paint. Jenny Saville’s work gives a macabre-yet-beautiful look to the overlooked, shamed members of society. I adore her work, and would love to emulate her style in my work in the future.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Illustration Friday - Reverse

This week's Illustration Friday theme was 'Reverse'.
My idea this week was to do a mirror image, where one side of the image is the opposite of the other. I decided to use a mirror image of two women - one happy, one sad - which I based off of photographs of myself.
I did this piece in graphics pen and went over it with water to blur and bleed the ink, though the effect isn't so apparent in this photograph.

In a crit, I was told to:
- Improve my picture quality as the photograph isn't so clear, or up the contrast in Photoshop so the image is easier to see.
- Photograph my work in a sketchbook instead of pulling it out.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Illustration Friday - Surrender

This week's Illustration Friday was 'Surrender' - easily the most inspiring theme I've had so far. The theme gave me the freedom to explore one of the avenues of art that I truly adore - macabre art. I was hit with this idea immediately, and after many days of hard work I finally arrived at this result.

I've placed my illustration after a jump, as the subject matter may be sensitive for some people.