Painting Term 1

Painting Week 4 – Studio work

During Week 4 of Painting, I continued to work onto the boards from last week, making sure to consider uses of colour and line to build up interesting pieces. I enjoyed working onto boards of different sizes and experimenting with the amounts of detail I added to see how the images would be affected. I did find that I was often being too critical and trying to make things perfect. To improve on this, I used a palette knife to create some small pieces to allow me to loosen up and stop being so precise.

Green board painting

This is a small rectangular board painting I did where I explored using the colour green as a main colour palette. I really like how abstract this painting is yet it still maintains a sense of realism. Adding details in specific areas created a nice contrast that I would like to explore further.

Green and grey board painting

This is a painting with a similar colour palette as the one above. I enjoyed making this painting very simple and feel that the colours work well together. I decided to not add every single detail of the buildings which is something I may consider doing more of in future. Overall I enjoy this painting but I would like to experiment with more adventurous colour palettes.

Square palette knife board painting

This is a small painting I did using a palette knife to explore texture and applying the paint in different ways to get effects that could allow me to develop my project. I like the colours I used and how it is quite messy. I would like to use palette knives on a larger scale piece to see what effect this has.

A4 purple board painting

This is a larger painting I did using a purple colour palette. Again, I like how simple this piece is and how there is a lot of contrast. I enjoy adding washes of transparent paint to areas to build up layered images that I liked in my sketchbook work. I would like to take my uses of colour further with more contrast used but I feel this painting is quite effective.

Large colourful board painting

This is another large painting I did onto board using a pink focused colour palette. I especially like how intricate this painting is and the way that each element works individually and together to create a striking piece. Using purple for the sky is interesting and makes me realise that often we don’t have to see the sky as blue, the fact that the sky changes colour during night, sunrise, sunset and due to the weather. I want to explore this further in my project.

Orange building section board painting

This is another small painting I did using an orange/brown focused colour palette. I like that I wasn’t particular with the way I applied the paint and wasn’t worried about everything being perfectly straight as this adds an interesting effect to the piece and makes it more relatable. I would add more white tones to the windows to make them more realistic and add brick pattern but I don’t want to overwork the piece.

Rectangular palette knife board painting

This is another small painting I did using the palette knives. I love how simplistic this painting is and the way that it focuses a lot on colour and texture rather than detail. I believe the colours used work really well and relate to other paintings I’ve done, creating a nice flow.

Altered painting from last week

When looking at this painting from last week, I realised that the blue sky didn’t look right with the colours used in the buildings and so I changed it to orange as I felt it looked better. It also helped to relate this piece to other paintings

Studio image

This is my studio space which I decided to add photocopies of my sketchbook work to show where I currently am with the project and to demonstrate my thoughts and work processes.


Having a discussion with Ruth allowed me to pick out areas I was enjoying in my work including the elements of detailed areas, the layering of colours and washes that added subtle areas contrasting with the completely abstract areas. I found that I was being too precise by focusing on small paintings and using pen to sketch out my paintings first and so I was encouraged to make my space more painterly by standing up to paint rather than sitting at the desk and limiting myself.

I rearranged the studio to allow me to have more space to work and decided to make more collages using the left over paper from the first workshop to allow me to generate more ideas. I want to create some large scale pieces so that I can easily build up a body of work that shows how I have progressed with ideas and overcome issues. I am thoroughly enjoying this project so far even though I am quite stressed with the coronavirus situation and lockdown possibility at the moment.

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Professional Development Post – Exhibition Opportunities

During week 3, we discussed different areas we could look into for our projects including Exhibitions, Curation and MA Study. It was good to be able to think about these things individually and collectively.

There are many websites online which list artist opportunities in Leicester including artrabbit and artnet. These websites include exhibition opportunities as well as workshops which could be very interesting.

I enjoyed seeing the different places available to arrange an exhibition in Leicester and seeing the past students work was very inspiring. I would like to do things that will build up my CV yet also things that I enjoy. I will get in touch with people on my course to see if they would like to set up an Exhibition as a group attempt as I feel it could be very fun and may even get some of our work sold. I could also submit my work into competitions online to see if my work could be selected to go into an exhibition that is already set up, there are lots of opportunities online that could be beneficial for me to get involved with.

I found an exhibition called the 36th Annual Open, which you could submit three pieces of work that are being exhibited online from the 25th November 2020 to the 31st January 2021. The entry to this exhibition was free and gives me a chance to sell the pieces that I have submitted. I feel that this will give me more experience and build my confidence with getting my work out there.

Screenshot of Application
Screenshot of response

As I am currently busy with University work, I feel it could be beneficial for me to apply to some competitions over the summer as some of them have very specific briefs such as the competition above in which you have to create an artwork based on one of the ten given songs and so I feel these sorts of things would be better to do once I have more time on my hands.

Curator Space Website – Opportunities

On this website, I really liked some of the opportunities and so I decided to sign up to the newsletter to see if I would get sent any information about new opportunities for later in the year or next year when I have more work, more time and more money.

I am going to look for other exhibition opportunities to help me build up my CV and experience. As some exhibitions have entry fees, I feel that I would be in a better position to apply to more when I have the finances to do so but for now I will look for free competitions and exhibitions.

I also decided to look into videos and websites with tips for how to get accepted into an exhibition or how to get myself known in the art world.

This video opened my eyes to how many different places there are for exhibitions, including auction houses, contemporary art museums, art galleries, cultural centres, art fairs/festivals, art markets, artist residencies, art cafes, alternative private locations and outdoor public areas, some I hadn’t even considered before. A lot of places have a fee to apply to exhibitions which is definitely something I will have to consider when it comes to applying.

This video gave me some ideas as to how to promote my work and build up an established audience for myself. I feel these tips could help develop my confidence and having feedback from people on my will definitely help me in the future.

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Artists CV

In CPS this week, we went through the different areas of research we could look into for this module. I liked the ideas of working with groups of people for a workshop, being children or teenagers but with the current situation I would have to look into that further to see if that would be possible. I also think setting up a show could be interesting to discuss with other people on the course.

We were told to write a professional CV for career opportunities. As I don’t have much experience with exhibitions, publications, collections or commissions my CV is quite empty and simple right now but I am hoping to build this up in future.

Image of a professional CV I did on Microsoft Word

My CV:

Gemma Sly

  • Email –
  • Mobile number – 07505934835
  • Currently studying BA Fine Art at De Montfort University and involved in developing my painting practice.
  • Live in Leicester


  • BA Fine Art DMU, 2019-2022, still in progress
  • Foundation DMU, 2018-2019, Distinction
  • Extended Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design, Leicester College, Triple Distinction*
  • GCSE’S, Fullhurst Community College: Art and Design – A*, Core Science – B, Additional Science – B, Maths – B, Geography – A, English Language – A*, English Literature – A*, French – B, Level 2 diploma in P.E – Distinction.


  • Southpark Gallery open exhibition
  • Foundation show
  • College end of year shows, Leicester College

Publications: N/A

Commissions: N/A

Collections (sales): N/A

I decided to look on different art opportunity websites, being opportunities purely in Leicester, the East Midlands, the UK and even internationally. I found a lot of art competitions and exhibitions starting entry from next year which I made a note of as it could be good to start to get my work out into the world. With the Covid situation, physical exhibitions may not be possible until next year so looking into online exhibitions could be beneficial.

Painting Term 1

Painting Week 3 – Workshop 2

During week 3 of Painting we did another workshop involving painting onto boards for quick explorations of our subject matter. We had a range of boards to work with which I felt was interesting to explore the ways that size could affect how much detail was added. I tried to do some quite realistic coloured pieces as well as some abstract pieces inspired by the artists I have been looking at. I only managed to get a couple of the paintings finished and so I took some boards home to work on for next week.

Board Painting

This is the first painting I did on a small square piece of board which features a section of an environment filled with buildings. This painting took a while due to the small details I decided to add but I like how abstract this is even though I used realistic colours.

Board Painting

This is another painting I did on a larger square piece of board of another composition of the same environment. I added some small brickwork which I feel is a captivating element. This painting is quite messy in areas which I will go back and fix at some point but I am really enjoying the process of painting onto board.

Board painting

This is the third painting I did onto a thin rectangular piece of board. I really like how the colours of this piece work together and the small details really add to the painting as I feel the rest of it is quite simple.

I will continue to make these paintings onto board pieces that I took home with me as I feel that they are very effective. I like the ways the different paint colours contrast yet work well together.

Painting Term 1

Painting Week 2 – Research and Collage Workshop

As my project is based on Cornwall which I went to a few weeks before uni started, I have a lot of imagery to work with including beach views and seaside scenery which I feel will allow me to explore my artistic practice and will allow me to go down many routes. I am focusing on this for my subject matter as lockdown was a very upsetting time and going to Cornwall was a happy time.

Cornwall photos:

During week 2 of Painting, I used the painted sheets of A1 paper I prepared last week to create a collage onto the large sheet of Fabriano paper in my studio space. I used ripping techniques, cutting techniques and layering techniques to create an interesting environment based on photos on my phone of rural areas. Filling the whole sheet was a struggle but I enjoyed the process very much. I still have a small amount of collage to complete which I am hoping to do next week but this shouldn’t take too much time.

Zoom in of Collage
Collage detail
Full view collage
Zoom in of Collage

I also continued research by doing some sketches of environments in my sketchbook from real life and from photographs to build up a range of compositions and styles to work from. I had a lot of photographs of rural areas from when I went to Cornwall a few weeks ago and I feel these are interesting enough to start to build up a variety of work to take in different directions. I did some of the sketches onto different painted backgrounds in the sketchbook and started to apply paint to some of them in different styles to inspire me.

Sketch onto coloured background

This is a quick sketch I did onto a pink coloured background I painted. I am hoping to make this page quite abstract to relate my work to the artists I have researched and build up a project with many opportunities.

Painted street sketchbook page

This is a painting I have started in my sketchbook in which I built up layers of paint as I wanted it to be quite transparent. I like how sketchy the pencil lines are beneath the paint and on top. This is quite a realistic piece.

Painted Sketchbook page

This is another painting in my sketchbook which features a beach view I saw in Cornwall. I found the small details very time consuming but it paid off overall.

Painting Term 1

Painting Week 1 – Artist Research

During week 1 of Painting, I selected which project I want to do which is entitled ‘Environment’. I chose this project as I felt that it was very broad and related to the project I did in first year based around the Leicester train station which I really enjoyed but didn’t have time to explore to the best potential.

As I feel that I can be quite limited with my use of colour, I did some research to find artists who use colour in their studies of environments to inspire the way that I could experiment with colour in my own project. I also researched some artists suggested on the handbook who I liked to give me enough inspiration to get stimulated and inspired. I printed out some images of the artists work to put in my studio space so that I can make the space my own and make it portray my ways of thinking throughout my project.

Grant Haffner:

Grant Haffner is an artist who focuses on country road environments he sees whilst travelling in his truck. His work often has utility poles that constantly change position in his work to portray movement which works nicely with his bold uses of colour to create contrasts and harmonies. His uses of colour make the environments look quite surreal and childish yet they are still easy to identify as roads. His paintings are often very calm with the shapes building up to create detailed yet simple scenes. I especially like the way that the paintings demonstrate how calm and quiet rural areas are in comparison to cities and urban areas. His paintings are always different to show that no sunrise or sunset is the same and he enjoys depicting the changes of time in his work to have a large variation.

Amy Shackleton:

Amy Shackleton is an artist who considers the way that urban environments interact with nature with climate change informing the use of harsh weather to try to give viewers an idea of what the future could look like. Throughout this process, she actually hones in on the problems with our lives everyday and the ways in which climate change could be reduced. I like the way that her work is often built up of several layers and the fact that she creates her paintings by letting paint drip from bottles and using gravity by turning the canvas to build up her intricate urban cityscapes. The manmade elements are quite organised while the natural elements are adventurous and spontaneous to show the contrasts of the two elements combining. I also like her uses of colour as they are quite imaginative and go well with the dramatic ideas and elements she portrays.

Noemi Safir:

Noemi Safir is an artist who explores the ways that imagery can affect every person in individual ways, peoples responses to colour and emotion, relationships and music are different. She often takes photos of people in their everyday lives and then translates the photos into sketches before working with acrylics onto canvas. She enjoys creating art that is a reflection of her journey with art throughout her lifetime, she enjoys the uses of ‘happy colours’ and builds up her art in intricate layers of different shapes of colour. I like the fat that her art is very abstract yet it is still obvious what each painting is depicting. The build up of different shapes of colours work so well together yet also contrast in areas to pull the viewer in.

Frank Auerbach:

Frank Auerbach is an painter who focuses on a range of subject matters including landscapes based in North London and portraits. In the past Auerbach liked to work on top of old work, creating a range of layers which is the reason a lot of his work surfaces are so thick in his previous works. He has since stopped doing this, though his landscapes are often made from drawings he physically did whist he was there as it would be too impractical to do his paintings out in the open. I especially like his uses of colour and line, as well as the fact that his work can be so simple yet it is still obvious what his subject matter is. I like the fact that his work is quite messy and the paint is applied in a fun way as he isn’t too bothered about being precise which is something I would like to explore in my work.

John Piper:

John Piper was an artist who focused on British landscapes, in particular monuments and churches which he explored using a range of techniques. He liked to combine different techniques in his work, often layering different medias to create areas of focus and contrast. His uses of different styles are very interesting and something I would like to explore during this project as it can be good to not limit yourself to one particular style. I also love his uses of layering and this is something that could really benefit my work.

During week 1, I also prepared materials for next week, including stapling a large sheet of fabriano paper into my studio space and painting 16 sheets of A1 paper four colours (orange, pink, green and purple). As well as gathering equipment such as glue and applicators for the large scale collage.


  1. Grant Haffner
  2. Amy Shackleton
  3. Noemi Safir
  4. Frank Auerbach
  5. John Piper

Welcome to Painting

This year I will be creating work within the painting module as I thoroughly enjoyed the painting module in the first year. Due to the covid situation, I feel that I didn’t get enough time to fully explore the uses of large scale work and so this is something I would like to develop more this year through experimenting and learning from mistakes. I also would like to explore using palette knives some more as I felt this allowed me to create interesting pieces in the first year.

I am looking forward to developing my practice within painting this year and expanding the subject matters I focus on.


Welcome to CPS

This year we are creating CPS blog posts to demonstrate a path of careers we can go into, both to make money and to continue our personal artistic careers. I am looking forward to exploring the different paths I could take in my future as that is something I have been uncertain about for a while. We are also going to be creating a range of contextual posts and artist talk posts which will help in my development of projects.


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.