Portraiture – “Look inside”

INTRO/MESSAGE/ARTISTIC INSTPIRATION

In this project, we were given the opportunity to depict anyone we wanted through the painting of a portrait, with the use of any medium such as oil or acrylic paint. The reason I decided to title this piece “Look Inside” because I want the viewers to look closely at one’s innermost feelings when viewing the piece. Most people have different minds, whether that is shown or hidden behind. Both these expressions, whether it is shown or hidden, in my opinion are hard for people to read. However, I think people can still obtain a base understanding of what they have in mind, even if they do not want to show it.

In my piece, I hope to show both the inner and outer feelings of the person that is close to me, in which is my mother. She is a person that I personally think is warm hearted but also cold at the same time. This is because even though she has the motherly affection, she does not seem to express it obviously. Often times my mother would attempt to only show her strong personality to me, but I know that it is because she is trying hard to be a great mother.

This piece leads to the guiding question of “How can we represent the intangible in portrait.” I wanted to show the intangible in the portrait by using the colour scheme. Firstly, the general mood of my painting is the warmth of my mother. I intentionally placed the warm colour scheme, on the negative space, to create a cozy intangible feeling of my mother, and the flower pattern in the background also further emphasizes on this feeling. I specifically wanted to add the things she liked to the piece, which are flowers. Adding on, the composition of the flower also creates a flow at the back. On the other hand, the cool colour scheme is mostly used on the portrait, which is used to show the contrast between the warm and cold feeling. Within the different combinations of the colours, I had generally used analogous and split-complementary colour scheme. Firstly, analogous creates a natural flow of the colour scheme, as each colour are linked together, such as yellow, green, some blue and purple. Secondly, split-complementary uses two colours adjacent to its complementary colour, besides the base colour. Overall, this creates the same strong visual contrast but with less tension than the complementary colour scheme.

Before starting the project, we proceeded multiple media testing, such as trying various style of textures, colour scheme, and materials. During media testing, I was able to explore and familiarize myself with both oil and acrylic paint. For me, this was the first time working with both acrylic or oil painting, so I decided to use this chance to help me determine which medium would be more suitable for my portrait. From media testing, I was able to get a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the mediums.

In the end, since I am a beginner at painting, I decided that the medium more suitable for this piece of work would be acrylic. This is because acrylic paint can be easily edited as the paint dries very quickly, giving me a lot of time to make changes to the piece. Also, as it dries quickly it will make the process faster, which cannot be done by oil paint. Lastly, I wanted the texture of a brush stroke shown in my work, which I feel oil paint cannot produce as well.

When thinking about the materials, I was originally thinking about using a palette knife to create a stiffer texture to the piece, but at last I decided to use a paint brush instead. This is because with the utilization of a paint brush I can create both smooth and textured brushstrokes, further emphasizing on the contrasting idea I want to present. Moreover, the choice of using a paint brush was also influenced by a few artists, and especially from Anna Bocek. In Anna Bocek’s work, the unique style of the strokes of the brush shown and the fluorescence color scheme was very attractive. Likewise, I was also attracted to Jen Mann’s painting because the composition and the feeling of the facial expression was very intriguing. Therefore, in my work I attempted to borrow the rough and unsmooth style of texture from Anna Bosck’s paintings and the compositions of Jen Mann’s paintings.

 

CREATIVE PROCESS

Final piece of this studio work was somehow similar to what I envisioned but also different in some perspectives. The composition and the general mood that was being conveyed haven’t altered, but the overall color scheme and the texture it developed have changed. Through the process of crafting my work, numerous challenges were inevitable. I had to encounter not only deciding on the color scheme and texture, but also selecting the appropriate media.

In my final plan, to both appropriately and significantly express my theme, I planned to use monochromatic colors for the skin and complementary colors for areas of highlight. As working on my project, however, I realized the use of monochromatic colors weren’t a good fit for coloring the skin since the color was too pure. Not only the monochromatic color, but also the use of complementary colors wasn’t successful at highlighting the shadows and highlights of the painting. The rough texture I was envisioning was also not visible in my art. Furthermore, my initial idea of using a palette knife was altered due to the inspiration from a painter Anna Bocek, who uses a flat brush for her artworks. From using a brush, I tend to strongly visualize the texture of the brush strokes in my painting. However, the use of the flat brush wasn’t creating the texture, yet blending the paint more smoothly. This problem made me consider rather I should just use oil painting to fully blend all the colors together or stay with my initial idea of creating the texture of the brush strokes with using acrylic painting. At the end, I decided to not alter my mind and stay with creating the stiff texture with acrylic paint.

To overcome these inevitable problems, it took me countless of trials. Also in the process of crafting I even decided to do some media testing with the opinions of others that were suggested. Through this media testing, I was able to gain the knowledge of how these media works and that it gave me confidence of finishing.

 

ARTISTIC GROWTH

As I finish this project, I could vision myself overcoming the challenge to use intense colours to create stronger highlights and shadows on the piece. As in the beginning I was struggling with the mid-tone colors on my paintings. However, I had pulled through these issue by challenging myself to try various range of colour scheme, which gave me a better vision of the bright and dark parts. This further explains that I had applied myself to incorporate my best work and with fascinating ideas. The process was started by drawing various sketches of composition and media test. I also had reflected several peoples’ opinion on the project, which really helped me to choose a specific plan for the final piece. Overall, all of the edit on the painting was done during class time. It was the only time that I spent finishing my painting.

Comparing my painting at the beginning of this project, I think I have grown much more like an artist. As I was lost what to do during the start of this project. However, as I get to be able to handle the suitable materials, color scheme, texture and mood, it gave me more management time as an artist. In addition, the feedback of other people had made me grow mature about how we can reflect their view in the project.

 

2 ARTISTIC HABIT OF MIND

Reflect

In class, we divided in groups of four to share our final plans to each other. By sharing the overall plan about the media and meaning we gave each other warm and cold feedbacks. This was the time when I could listen to one’s opinion/thoughts of my plan and determine whether the meaning that I wanted to express in this piece is delivered to others. Within this section, I had received some advice about the parts that can be developed and is well suited in the plan.

 

Express

By testing all medias, I concluded to use the analogous color scheme to convey my idea, feeling and personal meaning in my project. Using analogous colors, the temperature of the color wheel smoothly connects from warm to cool feeling. This supports the meaning of the piece, showing that mothers are not always cold and that they have a warm vibe that is surrounding them, which is unseen. In addition, the hidden meaning of the flower at the background relates to my mother that likes flowers.

Stretch & Explore

Throughout this project, it had made me reach beyond my supposed limits. As there were lots of difficulty in this project. I tried to reach beyond my naturalistic drawing into a challenge with the media, such as acrylic and color scheme. By overcoming these limits, I had understood how to explore playfully without a pre-conceived plan. From these steps, I had learned that the final plan is not really going to end up as the final piece. Moreover, there are several more steps to make the final project and it can be totally different from the final plan.

Acrylic Painting – Media Testing

steps
  1. Take a photo of your face and print the photo in color on a piece of paper.
  2. Stick the paper on the cardboard with gesso. Then cover it with gesso again.
  3. Take small bits of different acrylic colors on the tray. Mix those color to make a new color.
  4. Use the acrylic paint to paint the photo.
What I learned
  • Acrylic painting dries very quickly and does not blend easily. Personally, I liked to paint over and cover the parts, than to blend. I also liked the feeling of the painting that looks less naturalistic.
What I want to learn more
  • Could acrylic paint be used as oil paint?
  • Can acrylic paint blend like oil paint?
  • Would the feeling of the paint be different by the different types of brushes?

 

Oil Painting – Media Testing

Steps
  1. Take a photo of your self and change the photo into black and white. Bring the shadow and highlights by editing.
  2. Print the photo and grid the photo with letters or numbers. Write numbers or alphabet on the edge to name each square. Do the same, on the cardboard.
  3. Use the grid on the photo to help sketch on the cardboard.
  4. After sketching the basic lines, get a small amount of black and white old paint.
  5. First, color with the brightest color. Then, mix a little of black to white to make different grays. Lastly, color the darkest parts.
What I learned
  • Oil painting is easy to blend, but does not dry fast. This can be the merit of oil painting. However as it was my first time using oil painting, it was hard to blend and to make corrections.
  • There are several steps to properly clean the brush. So that we can use a clean brush for a long time.                                                                                      These are the steps to clean the brush:
    1. Clean the brush with the paint thinner.
    2. With the tissue, clear the paint thinner that is left on the brush.
    3. Wash the brush, again, with soap
Frustrating times

Oil painting wasn’t that easy to paint with. When I make changes, I kept on using the brush that I used for the other parts of the drawing. To get rid of this habit, I kept the tissue, next to me, to keep the habit of wiping. So that I can have a clean brush that doesn’t ruin the drawing.

What I want to learn More
  • I wanted to learn more about how to blend naturally. For like the chin and the overall parts.

Art Documentary – Saving Banksy

“Saving Banksy” is a documentary of the struggle of street artists. More specifically about one painting of Banksy’s work called ‘Che Guevara rats’. Most of Banksy’s works are rejected from museums, as it is classified as graffiti. But is stolen by other art collectors to sell it for millions of auctions. There is a struggle with Greif with the owners to remove Banksy’s work in the public.

The documentary shed light on how people adopt the art on the street. As some says that it is worth a thousand dollars and some says that it is just a damage on the street.

The issue brought up in the documentary is about the real owner of graffiti and how graffiti is sold through those unreal owners. But with who’s permission is Banksy’s work sold? Is it the artist or is it the owner of the wall? I am not in either side, as it can be the artists mind to draw on the walls or even the owners mind to sell the piece. But both sides are unfair because graffiti is illegal in most of the countries and it is not proven that the owner of the wall could sell the piece without the artists permission. In my opinion, I think there is a right for the artist that drew with their own idea and paintings to be the owner. In addition, that graffiti should not be just treated as illegal art work.

The most important takeaway from this documentary is that graffiti is also a part of art that people spend time drawing. It is created as the same way as another artist spend time on planing and painting on a canvas for in. But one thing that is uncomfortable about graffiti is that it is still illegal.

Converging Cultures – Where am I ?

In this project, we were asked to converge cultures that we are individually involved. For me I had converged Korea and China. As Korea is where I was born and spent most of my life, and China is a place that I had lived for 4 years in my life. So, gathering these two cultures, would be the main focus of my project. Throughout this project, there were lots of studio challenges, as the media that we had to use was Photoshop and it was my first time to use it. But still, I got lots of help from YouTube tutorials to learned how to use the tools step by step.

MESSAGE

The title “Where am I” refers to myself, wondering about myself after coming to China and adopting the cultural that is completely new. The first piece is focusing on me, as I wanted to show the overload of Korean and International work as a student, with the book. In addition, the paper flying and changing into a paper plane represents that I am wanting to get released from this pressure of work and to travel around. At the background, Chinese and Korean traditional and famous constructions are placed sparsely within the cloud. Which shows that I am surrounded with both cultures now, but is not really shown through my facial expression.

The second piece, is my eye surrounded by Korean traditional flowers, which represents that I am always surrounded by my home country. By having ISB building in the pupil of my eye, it represents that I am now only looking for my present school life. But the surroundings do not change due to current life.

From the first piece, the transparency of the face, juxtaposition of the book on top of the face, and transformation of the paper to a paper plane was used as a surreal device. For the second piece, dislocation of the flowers in the plane and scale of my eye fitting in the window of the plane was used as a surreal device.

Rene Margritte was the one who inspired in my project. One of the style that was most intriguing was the way how he does not show the persons face. By looking at my first piece, I have borrowed his style to cover my face. Also, the surrealist

Process

To summarize the creative process of making this work, my actual studio piece had ended up being slightly different from my final plan of the drawings. As there were lots of unclear quality of the secondary pictures. I tried to find the same theme of the picture in 4 different sites, but I could not find one. So, I had to choose a similar replacement picture. Thus, comparing the final plan and studio piece, there are some difference, such as the levitation of the traditional Chinese and Korean houses in the final plan changing to be within the clouds. The picture of myself, book and the sky is from my primary source.

3 Artistic habit of mind

Envision

From the start of the project I made a mind map of the themes that can be used for my piece. This helped me find the most interesting topics to use and to narrow the topic down. In addition, I gave showed how to arrange the compositions.

Stretch and Explore

I have learned that I could learn beyond my limits. By doing lots of media testing, my level of Photoshop was improving. Even from media testing, there were lots of mistakes to finish one piece. Even though I had to go through those mistakes again in my project, there were more gain than loss.

     

Develop craft

This is the most part that I have progress throughout this project. Now I can be able to make shadows, crop pictures, adjust brightness, and to add effects. I have seen lots of YouTube videos about Photoshop tutorials and in some case I would find a specific affect that I want to use in the project. I was able to finish my pieces by using those skills that I have learnt.

Valentine’s Card

This card is for my friend in Korea. This person is special because I have known her since 10 years old and had lots of memories together. But I haven’t met her, from the time I came to China.

The style of the drawing is showing the pure mind of me as in elementary student. In the second card, the word ‘I LAVA U’ means the same meaning as ‘I LOVE YOU’, but in more creative way.