New Face

Following a long period of consideration and reflection, I have restarted work today on the Thai Masseur piece.

The main issue was to complete painting the face. On the one hand, I wanted for the portrait to be recognisable, on the other, I have struggled with solving a number of ethical issues regarding a possible reaction and rejection of my work by the model. I experienced this kind of a situation with one of the former pieces. Subsequently, this unpleasant episode had let to the destruction of my own work and several alterations to other experiments.

My new idea is inspired by deeply glazed and moody flemish paintings. I am especially inspired by Metsu and his self portrait. He positioned himself inside a window arch. This implies a composition within a composition. I am also using a double rectangular. My creative intention is to achieve a sense of ambiguity while drawing all attention to the centre – on the masseur. I want to rely on a visual suggestion of portraiture rather than a descriptive portrayal of a woman. The plan is to leave her facial features undefined, like a ghostly outline of what is really there.


A Self-Portrait c.1655-8 Oil on panel | 37.7 x 31.4 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405943

To give the surface more vibrancy, I used water solvable oil pastels. ‘Dancing’ with a crayon on top of the painting allows me to achieve a sense of mystery – secret light, which brings out parts of the skull and the jaw – all in the dusk of the space portrayed.

The next stage of the painting process will be to glaze the overall piece with a variety of transparent layers of an acrylic medium, perhaps combined with some watered down PVA glue. This is to prepare the surface for the overprinting stage using the silk screen technique and enhance a feeling of unity between the different formal elements and parts of the composition.

I have already prepared a new pattern based on decorative elements, which I have isolated from the interior of the massage salon. I will use this design to create a random over-image. This, in turn, will have a dual function. The first is to help to engage the centre in the overall painterly illusion. The second aim is to increase the amount of detail and enhance holistic and expressive qualities of my piece.

At this stage, I am considering using a range of gold and crimson tones. This initial plan might be subsequently altered in favour of a more spontaneous and instinctive decisions and reflections in action.

I am enclosing photographs of the final stages of work today and a close up of the ‘New Face’

IP in Creative Practice.

Today’s workshop and discussion was led by Roxanne Peters. She is a creative and cultural rights specialist.

There was an exciting debate about sensitivities involved in copy and intellectual property rights in the context of creative practices.

The question for the workshop was as follows:

What is the value of sharing your work on social media?

Zines Exercise
During the second part of the workshop, we we given the following task:

Snake Seller – Development

I have reflected on the slow process of the development and refinement of this piece.  Subsequently, I have made a decision to darken the overall image through the use of glazes and tonal overlays.  This has increased the element of drama and reinforced tiredness of the painting.  The colour scheme has become richer and more vibrant.  The intention is to echo the gloominess and monotony of daily rituals of waiting and the suspended entrapment in this cycle.  Nothing will ever change.  There is no escape.  The best result is to survive until tomorrow.

I will gradually, through careful highlighting, bring a spark of colour and light into this image.  I would like to reveal some very important details and, therefore, enhance the narrative content of this piece.

In response to my previous ethical considerations, the main character on this piece is totally anonymous.

Snake Seller 2

Reflection on Kentridge

During the most recent skype session, we discussed the work of William Kentridge.  I was absolutely intrigued and fascinated by his process of repeatedly erasing and reworking charcoal drawings to create stop-frame animations.  The supporting commentary explored different ways, in which we perceive and understand the Universe.  His methodology reinforces the importance of experimentation and risk-taking; redirecting the already existing and premeditated modes of working in order to develop and refine ideas in a much more unpredictable and uncertain work.

Jonathan Kearney interpreted his work and formulated the following powerful statement:

‘Certainty can be dogmatic and arrogant, but often the perceived certainty is not very solid and the reality is much more uncertain – the value of art can be argued is in that it actively engages with uncertainty in order to discover new possibilities, ideas, surprises, etc.’


It is almost like Kentridge celebrates the value and preciousness of subjective interpretations of the world.

In response to my reflections, I have decided to experiment with my current ideas and develop them in a new, perhaps unplanned direction.

I have explored possibilities of imprinting marks and textures onto a photograph.  Following careful ethical consideration, I have decided to delete all visual work involved in this activity.  I found my work to be morally unsound.  I was faced with a very important issue in portrait making, an important dilemma.

Has the artist got the right to manipulate images depicting people and their mundane lives? My creative intentions were to provoke reflections and not to reveal dramatic existence of individual persons.