Fine Art Blog

Welcome to my Fine Art Blog, my name is Gemma and this blog features work I have done throughout my second and third years at University, including my studio work, art history and CPS module. I include my thought processes and images of my work to show my development of ideas and to inform my decisions. 

Studio Practice Year 3

Studio Practice 3301 – Week 2

During the second week, I had a tutorial in which I discussed my ideas with my tutor and she gave me ideas of how I could make further progress.

From my drawings, my tutor felt that they were all done with the same amount of pressure on the pencil and I could have benefitted from capturing a range of line thicknesses and tones to add more detail and realism. I need to keep the looseness of the drawings but refine areas to make it more effective.

Also, although the museum for drawing animals was a good initial start, she felt that I could go to actual farms and zoos and capture the animals within their enclosures to add more context and create a link to last years project which included areas of linear fences which my tutor was drawn to when looking at my work from last year. I was encouraged to get a range of wooden boards as I enjoy working on board and work to a range of sizes, both small and large to explore colour palettes.

My tutorial really helped me understand how to progress with this project and I feel I have a lot to keep me busy in the upcoming weeks.

CPS Year 3

CPS 3302 – Artist Residencies

  • Information learned about residencies and gallery spaces
Art History Year 3

Art History 3302 – Week 1

  • Discuss outcomes of art history – essay and how it is very much self directed in terms of question choice and subject
  • Add key notes and key points from lecture and answers to questions in seminar – interesting points that get made


CPS 3302 – After University plans

  • Discuss my ideas for after university – job prospects
  • Write about things learned about MA courses

Studio Practice

Studio Practice 3301 – Week 1

To start off third year, we are going to be doing an ‘opening project’ to allow us to get into the process of creating work again and to create a body of work with a high focus on presentation skills.

This project involves a critical review a few weeks into the project which does feel like a lot of pressure but we have been told to just enjoy the process, making sure to experiment, take risks and mostly have fun.

I have decided that I want to move away from architectural subjects for now and do an animal based project as I feel that I have grown bored of architectural based art (in first year I did a project on the Leicester train station, in second year I focused on Cornwall architecture in the first term and Leicester architecture in the second term.

Although I do enjoy architecture, COVID during most of second year really made me feel demotivated and I feel like I didn’t produce work to my usual standard and so I feel that doing something different could push me more and get me more into the process of creating. I may go back to architectural based subjects after this project.

Feedback from last year and how I am planning to move forward this year:
Good points – “There is a stillness and quality of light captured within the work on paper ‘Wilberforce Road’ which imbues it with a real atmosphere and sense of what might be about to take place. This can, in part, be directly attributed to a more nuanced use of colour than is on display everywhere else across the practice. Taking some time to analyse this work, and keeping it in mind when developing your practice further will serve you well in the future. Elsewhere evidence of an effective grasp of relevant material, principles, key concepts and practices is on display with the statement providing some evidence of critical analysis and insight.”

Suggestions for improvement – “A more developed understanding of colour would hugely benefit the work as a whole as the cartoonish hues do nothing to enhance the mysterious qualities within the work – typified by their awkward viewpoints and deserted locations. Whilst some degree of creativity, conceptual ability and critical analysis is clearly present, an ability to synthesise material and contextual research is lacking. Looking to filmmakers shows creative initiative, but being more selective in terms of other contextual research, and analysing the qualities within their work you’d like for your own, will hugely enhance your practice going forward.”

  • What I hope to achieve/do differently using feedback from last year (write about areas of improvement/weaknesses, what I hope to carry forward this year/strengths)
Animal sketches from New Walk Museum
Animal sketches from New Walk Museum

I visited New Walk museum which has an animal section filled with a range of taxidermy animals which allowed me to capture a range of angles and views of the animals. The taxidermy process means that some of the animals look quite distorted (particularly in facial features) but I still felt going there to do sketches was a good idea, I may even go back in the next couple of weeks to get more.

I did the drawings on sheets of A3 paper pulled out of a sketchbook but divided and cut the pages into sheets of A4. I didn’t want to work in a sketchbook as I can find that rather limiting and then I can often struggle to break out of the sketchbook.

Painting Studio Practice Term 2

Painting – Reflection of my project

I began my project focusing on Leicester as at the time of the start of this project, lockdown was still looming and we had to work from home wherever possible. This led me to the conclusion that I should focus on a place I have easy access to and that wouldn’t cause mw to get into trouble with the police or authorities.

At the start of my second year, I did a project focusing on Cornwall, paying close attention to my uses of colour and shapes. I thoroughly enjoyed that project and felt that I started to get a great foundation and idea that was executed well. Therefore, I decided to approach my project this term in the same manner, the only difference being that I was focusing on Leicester rather than Cornwall.

Due to teaching being online, I had no access to my studio which made scale a difficulty and so I stuck to a small size of A4 in general, the biggest pieces being A3. Although I would have worked bigger if I had the chance, I still feel that I managed to capture Leicester well at the size I was working with.

As I live in Leicester I was able to go out and draw from life, which I didn’t get the chance to do with my Cornwall project in term one and so I worked from photos a lot then. I captured a lot of primary evidence in forms of quick drawings and detailed drawings to give myself a large range of imagery to develop throughout this project.

When it came to colour, I started off quite simple with mundane colours and built up to more experimental uses of colour as my ideas developed and I progressed in the project. A lot of my uses of colour and colour palettes came from my artist research. I decided to do this so that the colours I was using were informed and not purely random as I feel it is always appropriate to identify why you make certain decisions in your work. As all of the artists I researched approach their colour uses in different ways, I had a lot of ways to approach the use of colour in my own work.

I began doing paintings by working over sketches in my sketchbook to get some ideas and more solid foundations to develop later on. I even started exploring uses of bold colours in my sketchbook to see how compositions would be affected.

The crit helped me to identify areas to improve as well as areas to develop further as they were working well. A key area I was told to change was to start breaking out of my sketchbook and use my initial drawings/paintings/studies to combine in different ways or use as foundations to explore colour palettes. One of the ideas I explored was to combine different streets together to create ‘hybrid’ buildings which I felt worked really well with block colours and small details.

I worked onto paper and cardboard with my favourite being high quality fabriano paper as it holds paint well and doesn’t warp easily. With the covid situation, this was also the best idea as I didn’t have the facilities or equipment to make canvases and I didn’t want to waste money on buying bad quality canvases. Overall, I feel the materials used worked out really well as acrylic paints apply quite nicely to fabriano paper. In addition to this, I used paint pens and ink pens to add small details by layering which is something I have always enjoyed as you can so easily change the outcome of a flat painting by adding lines or sketchy details over the top.

Painting Studio Practice Term 2

Painting – Selecting pieces for assessment PowerPoint

As I need to select 10 images for my final assessment, I decided to go through all the work I have completed for this project and select the ones I feel are most effective. I wanted to include more mundane colour palettes as well as the bolder colour palettes as I wanted to show my development and demonstrate how my contextual research has influenced my work.

Warm colour palette DeMontfort University painting

This is a painting of De Montfort University buildings which feature quite a warm colour palette. I like the fact that each section is a bold flat colour and the way the lines work with the colours. Are used a white paint pen to add detail as I struggled to do this with the brushers that I had. Although I like the composition of this image; I feel that other works are more developed, and this is more and experimentation/ exploration of colour palettes and the way this affects compositions.

Aylestone Road building

This is a painting I did of a historical building on Aylestone Road in Leicester. I decided to use a colour palette inspired by one of my artist research (). I feel that the pastel shades work well with the building an add a sense of modernity to a historical building. I like that this is quite simple and that I didn’t overwork the painting by adding too much detail. The colours used work well with the composition and I am glad that I only did a section of the building as this framing adds to the overall impact of the image.

Wilberforce Road Painting

This is a painting I did inspired by one of Richard Diebenkorn’s painting colour palettes. I did this to identify colours that work well together to allow myself to create links with the artists I have researched and to develop my work and push it to the next level. Although the colours used a mundane, I like the ways that they work together and the fact that there are different shades of certain colours such as grey as this great contrast which draws the eye of the viewer. I am glad I included the street name as this makes the place more identifiable and including a call was interesting as it linked more to the people living in the area rather than just the building itself. I’m very happy with the result of this painting and I like the composition.

Back Garden View painting

This is a painting of a view of my neighbour’s garden from my back garden. I liked the composition of this image as it included a lot of different buildings which allowed me to use a wide colour palette. this is a painting in which I used a bright colour palette with autumnal shades such as reds, browns, oranges, and yellows. I feel that this colour palette works very well with the composition and is very eye catching. Adding small lines onto the flat colours really added to the result and I’m very happy with this painting.

Narborough Road painting

This is a smaller painting I did featuring the end of a street and some lamp posts. I like the fact that included a segment of a no entry sign as this is something we all see in our day to day lives. again the colour palette is quite simple on this image and fairly normal but I am very happy with the composition and the amount of detail I have captured in a simplistic manner. I like the amount of contrast this painting has and I feel it fits in well with my project.

Aylestone Road Painting

This is another painting I did of a street on Aylestone Road with traffic lights. I took inspiration for the colour palette from George Shaw and again although the colour palette is rather normal I really like the ways that the colours work together as this ads to the piece. I feel that this painting also relates to Piet Mondrian’s work as there are lots of squares and rectangular shapes, the only difference being the colours used. I feel that the traffic lights add to the composition and are something that everyone encounters in their day to day lives.

Upperton Road Painting

This is a painting of a view of Upperton Road which features a lot of black lines. I am considerably happy with the composition, and I did find this painting difficult to do at first but it did pay off. I like how simplistic it is yet it manages to portray a lot of detail as I added thin lines and details with an ink pen. This painting is quite small which I think works well for its composition and I feel the shades of colours used work well together. The pale grey sky reminds me of L.S Lowry’s paintings which is relevant.

Back Garden View painting

This is a painting I did of a view if my neighbours house from my back garden. I took inspiration for the colour palette from a James Rosenquist painting which explains why the colours are so bold. I feel that all the colours used work well together but I felt that it was too bright for my liking, so although I like it I feel that it is just an experimentation piece to see how far I could take the colours before it became too much. I like that this painting is a build up of flat shapes as this works well overall.

Back Garden View Painting

This is another painting I did of a view from my back garden which includes parts of my neighbours house. I used a bright colour palette for this painting and avoided using black as I feel that black sometimes takes away from the colours and becomes too graphic. I instead used a dark purple for the darkest areas and lines which I feel was a great decision. I like that this painting consists of flat coloured shapes that build up to create an interesting composition.

Back Garden View Painting

In this painting from my back garden of a different angle, I really like the ways the bright colours work together yet contrast in areas as it pulls the viewer in. Though simple, this painting is really effective and I like the Pop Art vibes it gives off.

DeMontfort University Painting

Though I like the colour palette of this painting, something feels off to me, it may be the composition but I am glad I did this piece as it shows my development of ideas and the ways that I have considered a range of colour palettes throughout this project to see what works well. Again, I like that I didn’t rely on black to outline the drawing as I feel that could have been too much.

Back Garden View Painting

This is yet another view from my garden which features a fence that separates different houses. I like the colours that I have used in this painting and the ways the white highlights create a contrast with the darker areas. I used a lot of layering in this painting which I really enjoyed and I feel I captured it well.

Area near Leicester College Painting

This is a view I had from a street of Leicester college which I liked as it included a range of different buildings. I used a fairly simple colour scheme, with the lightest colour used being yellow and then I stuck with dark colours such as blacks, blues and purples. Again, I like that this painting is quite simple yet it is easy to see what the painting is of. I am happy with the composition and final result of this painting.

Duns Lane Painting

In this painting, I wanted to see what I could achieve with a black, grey and white colour scheme. Though initially challenging, I feel this painting paid off and was a good exploration as it bridges between normal colours and really bright colours. This was a refreshing piece to do and made me more excited to continue progressing with this project.

Aylestone Road Painting

This is another painting of a view on Aylestone Road and I used a colour palette inspired by George Shaw. I felt that The greens worked really well with the browns and adding the shop signs and number sign to the top of the building made it more recognisable which I liked. I added highlights with white which I feel brings the painting together and overall I am very impressed with this painting.

Aylestone Road Painting

This is a small painting of a house on Aylestone Road and I made it more of a sketchy painting rather than too precise. I like the ways that the colours work to attract the eye of the viewer. In addition, I feel that the shade of blue I used for the sky works well with the other colours used and is very balanced.

Hybrid Painting

I am very happy with this painting in which I combined two pages of my sketchbook of different streets to create a ‘hybrid’ building. From looking at this image, it is so hard to notice that there are two different places combined as it looks so realistic which I am a fan of. I could have done this painting with more out there colours but I felt the need to see how it would turn out with everyday colours. If I had more time, I would do another version of this painting using brighter colours to see how colour can affect the composition.

Final selected 10 images to put onto PowerPoint:

Information slide
Slide 1
Slide 2
Slide 3
Slide 4
Slide 5
Slide 6
Slide 7
Slide 8
Slide 9
Slide 10

Painting Studio Practice Term 2

Painting – More colour exploration pieces

I felt that I needed to do more paintings exploring the colours I am using as most of my others were quite experimental. I also felt that I needed to increase the amount of paintings I have done so that I can demonstrate a body of work.

Painting Studio Practice Term 2

Painting – ‘Hybrid’ buildings

A3 sized building combining two pages from my sketchbook and painting over it (with flash)
A3 sized painting combining two pages from sketchbook (without flash)

I did this A3 sized painting by combining photocopies of two of my sketchbook pages and sticking them together, making sure to align the black pipe as this was just misaligned within the sketchbook.

Image of initial sketchbook pages I combined

I decided to switch the positions of the individual pieces as I preferred the layout overall but I am incredibly happy with it.

I stuck to what would be considered a ‘normal’ colour palette as I wanted to try out the composition before going too experimental. If I have time, I am hoping to do another of the same piece but with a different colour scheme as I am really happy with how this turned out. Though the colour scheme is quite mundane, I feel that it effectively relates to George Shaw’s colour palette which is still a relevant link.

Painting Studio Practice Term 2

Painting – Works in progress exploring colour palettes

These are some paintings I have been working on inspired by George Shaw’s use of colour and Piet Mondrian. I am hoping to add more detail to them and build them up more to ensure they are very effective. I have thoroughly been enjoying doing these paintings and I like including road signs and traffic lights as these things make the paintings more relatable to everyday life.