Jackson Thilenius is an artist and architect who has explored a range of topics in his work including still lifes and portraits. I am mostly interested in his works involving the meat industry which show the suffering that animals go through. Although I am not exploring the meat industry specifically in my work and my work isn’t as brutal or serious, I feel that looking at the way he has depicted farm animals could influence me to try to make my work more serious to see the outcome and then if it doesn’t go to plan, at least I can say I tried.
This is a zoomed-in painting of a cow’s eye which shows cows being slaughtered in its reflection. This is quite a distressing and sad image which shows that not only are animals subjected to immense violence and brutality, they also have to witness members of their family or herd being killed before them. The title ‘next’ implies that the cow who is the main subject of the painting is going to be slaughtered next and it creates a sense of impending doom with no way for the cow to escape. This is definitely a message about the meat industry and makes the viewer feel a lot of sympathy for the cows. The details of the cow’s fur work really well and the colours are used to contrast with the silhouette of the slaughtered cows in the eye reflections.
This painting shows pigs in their individual compartments in a slaughterhouse. The main pig is making direct eye contact with the viewer which evokes a lot of sympathies as it seems as though the pig is asking for help. This is made worse with the other pig-sticking their nose through the bars as if they are trying to escape but there is no way of escaping. This could also be an idea of how small their individual compartments are. The blood on the bars adds a sense of brutality which again creates sympathy. I feel that my work resonates with this piece as I do paintings of animals looking/staring at the viewer although my work isn’t as violent or brutal as I am trying to be more subtle with my outcomes. However, I feel that it is important to see how the brutal side of the subject could look, most likely making the viewer a lot more uncomfortable than my own work. Also, this painting seems to be an idea about the meat industry and although my work may be interpreted as that, it is not a direct message about the meat industry.
This painting shows a lot of brutality and violence which is a norm in the meat industry. This painting reminds me a lot of the first painting of the cow’s eye and the reflection of other cows being slaughtered. However, this painting is a lot more graphic and shows the harsh reality of the production of meat. Although this is known by a lot of people, the actual depiction of it would make a lot of people very uncomfortable. It creates a lot of sympathy for the pig that has been killed as well as sympathy for the pig that is still alive who was a ‘witness’ to the brutal murder and is going to have the same awful fate as nothing it does will save it. The hooks and wires in the background make this painting a lot more sinister, even though that is what slaughterhouses look like (not that many people are aware of this other than from films).
Reason that I decided to research into Jackson Thilenius’s work:
I feel that the subject of Thilenius’s work links to mine effectively, although a much more violent and brutal story is told while I am trying to be more subtle in my approach. I find it interesting to see how many different parts there are go animal rights – predominantly being the meat industry and animals living conditions before slaughter. My own work is trying to create sympathy for the farm animals using emotion and the animals having a direct eye contact with the viewer – I hope that the animal itself can get the message across with their cuteness rather than doing art which is too violent or shocking. However, I feel that seeing other people’s approaches to the subject is vital in allowing me to develop my own work.
Thilenius’s work is very realistic and mine is more abstract but I like the smooth appearance of his paintings and the way that the pigs make eye contact with the viewer. A key theme in his work is a sense of impending doom with animals being aware of the violence that their herd or family have been subjected to and the sad sense that there is no escape for them. Their main purpose is meat despite that they are living animals who deserve more than that.
Dana Ellyn is a vegan artist who explores a lot of controversial topics and challenges social norms from religion to not wanting kids and our relationship with animals, particularly in the contexts of which animals we decide to eat. Although I find all of her work interesting with powerful messages being presented within her art, it is the animal subject that draws me in as it is relevant to my subject and her unique ways of working could allow me to develop my work in ways that I haven’t thought of yet.
As well as subject matter, her bold choices of colour interest me as the uses of abstract colour seem to take away from the subject, maybe as a way of showing how the animals are often overlooked by society and not deemed as important, which is something I have been exploring in my own work – although not to the same extreme levels.
This is a fairly large painting of a cow and a dog staring at the viewer. Although the animals are painted in a way that makes them look distorted and disproportional, I feel that the painting is very effective and unique. Since they are painted in a similar way, Dana Ellyn is showing the viewer that there isn’t much difference between them at all. I find the fact that they are staring directly at the viewer very interesting and this is something which I have been exploring in my own work but seeing it achieved in a different way is very inspiring. The green background works well as it reminds me of a field or a park, areas in which cows live and dogs go for walks. This painting raises the question of how can we choose which animals to eat and which animals to have as pets.
Dana Ellyn has had trouble eating meat since she was a child, often feeling sick at the thought of it and having to have her meat well cooked or she would refuse to eat it. Chicken, in particular, seemed to be a big problem for her – reminding me of a phobia that some people have of eating undercooked food, chicken, in particular, being a tough food. She was unaware that being a vegetarian was an option and so only took that step during adulthood, eventually deciding to go fully vegan.
In some of her work, she places animals next to the foods that they become after slaughter, for example, a piglet near a piece of bacon, to make people think more about where their food came from. This is an interesting concept as although many people do know where meat comes from, they may have never been confronted with the animal and byproduct side by side. To Ellyn’s surprise, meat-eaters were more interested in her work than vegans/vegetarians and so she hopes that her art can encourage people to eat less meat or become completely vegetarian/vegan.
In this painting, I love the fact that some of the bare cardboard has been left in the background and the floor as this looks incomplete and careless which could be a reflection of how humans can be careless towards animals. The colours used work well together and the different textures created with brushstrokes are effective. The gaze of the piglet evokes a sad feeling, which is made worse with the bacon next to it as the piglet could be looking towards the viewer for help so that it doesn’t have the same brutal outcome. When I first looked at this painting, I didn’t realise that the words bacon and pig were added beneath but when I looked closer I realised. I believe that this was added in such small writing because it doesn’t matter, people know what they are and still engage in eating meat.
Some of Dana Ellyn’s more controversial works involving the meat subject including ‘Baby Back Ribs’ are images that people do not want to see or think about. This shows that sometimes people who consume animals are content with doing so when it is out of sight, out of mind. But they don’t like to be confronted with the brutality or a dynamic shift that evokes disgust. Due to the outrage that some of her works got in the past, Ellyn tries to get her ideas involving animals across in a more subtle way with animals gazing directly at the viewer in a cute manner to try to get viewers to sympathise with the animals.
This is the painting that was mentioned above which shows a role reversal between humans and pigs. It shows a human baby which has a lot of its back flesh missing with pigs’ portraits hung up like humans have. Though I understand why this painting can be hard to look at as it creates a lot more uproar since it is humans being tortured, it also shows how brutal humans can be. This shock factor could be enough to put a lot of people off of meat, especially since the baby has such a pained facial expression. There is a large contrast between the light wall and the red table/bloody baby and flesh tones. I believe the colours used are to emphasise violence and brutality. I find the dark border – sort of reminding me of a vignette effect works really well as it makes the viewer zone in on the image depicted.
The two paintings above demonstrate some of Dana Ellyn’s paintings in which she paints one animal on one side and one animal on the other. Though they are both painted in different styles, with ‘pitbeef’ being realistically painted and ‘pug/pig’ being painted in a more abstract style with lots of mark-making and pattern, they both show how animals are quite similar and it is unfair to worship and care for some (the pets) yet not care and slaughter the others (farm animals). These paintings remind me of the ‘staring contest’ which I wrote about at the start of this blog post, however, I feel that these paintings explore the ideas in a more interesting way which captures my attention more. The choices of animals used work very well, as Pitbulls and cows both have long faces so their faces fit together well and pugs/pigs both have quite rounded faces. I love the fact that the animals are making direct eye contact with the viewer as this evokes a sense of sympathy yet also makes the viewer uncomfortable which is essential in exploring such topics.
Full time painter based in Washington DC.
In the video she is talking in her studio
Best known for her paintings concerning vegetarianism/veganism and animal Most current series called ‘look me in the eyes and tell me I’m delicious’ where she paints cute animals looking at the viewer with the intention to make the viewer not want to eat the animals as they are too cute
Shows some of her vegetarian themed art works – pig painting inspired by the mcgreet painting that says this is not a pipe. In her work she put the text ‘this is not bacon’ in French underneath a pig painting on a bold pink background. Ellyn sees animals and just sees animals but some people see animals and see food which she is hoping to change with her art
‘To bee or not to bee’- concerning the death of bee colonies and how when bees go away we’re in big trouble as we won’t have any food
Inspired by tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, ‘Goldilocks and the three meals’ – pig head is too fleshy, fish head is too fishy and the plate of fruit is just right
‘you’re gonna eat that?’ Little girl licking her fingers thinking the chick is a chicken nugget and the child on the right represents Dana Ellyn’s complete horror of ‘no it’s a cute little chick, why on earth are you going to eat that’ and then the child on the left represents people who are too young to understand.
Reason that I researched into Dana Ellyn’s art:
I decided to research into Dana Ellyn’s work as she explores animal ethics subjects which is related to my own work. Some of her work is quite extreme whilst my work approaches animal ethics in a more subtle way focusing more on emotion rather than violent imagery. Despite this, I still feel that it is important to explore how this imagery can affect an audience and see how Dana Ellyn’s experiences with feedback could make a difference. Ellyn’s work is more focused towards the meat industry since she is a vegan but she also explores how we treat the animals we eat -farm animals- so differently to the pets we have -dogs and cats- even though they are so similar. These paintings really make you consider how similar all animals are and how we as a society are so disrespectful to certain animals as we have always seen them as animals we eat rather than seeing them as having a right to live.
I also like Dana Ellyn’s uses of pattern, detail and colour as these are important factors in my own work and so I could adapt Dana Ellyn’s bold colours to see how they affect my work. Colour is such a vital element of my work to draw on the humorous aspect of people who claim to care about animals yet don’t do anything to better their living standards or make any sort of change. Dana Ellyn’s paintings have animals which make direct eye contact with the viewers similarly to my paintings which I find captivating and make you feel sad for the animals – which is an interesting concept in my opinion.
The Blue Rider Group consisted of a range of artists located in and around Munich. It was founded in 1911 by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. The group represented part of the German Expressionist movement. The group was around from 1911 – 1914, cut short due to members of the group, Franz Marc and August Macke being called into the military for World War 1. The after-effects of the war completely shifted the art scene in Germany.
The Blue Rider Group made art to explore relationships between art, colour, music and spiritualism. The group was formed in rejection of another German group called Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Association of Artists). They were interested in presenting art that showed their emotions rather than just doing literal scenes or realistic art. Although members approached their work using different techniques or subject matters, they all expressed spirituality through their uses of colour.
Information about the different members of the group:
Wassily Kandinsky – He was the focal point and intellectual head of the group with his work becoming semi-abstract in 1912. After the war, he moved back to his home country Russia and was considered the inventor of abstract art over there as he introduced the idea. Although the name ‘The Blue Rider’ was believed to have derived from a 1903 painting by Kandinsky, at that time he hadn’t developed his colour symbolism theory yet and so this is rather unbelievable. Kandinsky was very important in the group as a theorist, publishing essays and an experimental theatre piece for the group, as well as his other visual offerings.
This woodcut, the cover for ‘Der Blaue Reiter Almanach’ portrays the groups’ aesthetics and ideals in an effective way. The use of the prehistoric woodcut technique shows the groups’ interest in the direct representation of Primitivism. The use of the colour blue represents spirituality and the rider symbolises mobility making this woodcut a visual manifesto of the groups’ important concepts (since the blue rider group didn’t have an actual manifesto).
Franz Marc – He had a preference for environmental themes in his work – with a particular fondness for animals in their natural environment. His paintings became nearly abstract at the end of his life, sadly lost due to World War 1. During his artistic endeavours, Franz Marc developed a colour theory that ran parallel to Kandinsky’s, yet the two overlapped at points with the pair doing some collaborations together. Spiritualism was something Franz Marc explored in his work throughout his life, with a key idea of his being that animals were much closer to a natural state of spirituality due to them being at one with nature, while humans were too civilised to reach the same state of spirituality – animals were purer in spirituality than humans will ever be.
“Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay, and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two.” – Franz Marc. In ‘Yellow Cow’ pictured above, Marc through his colour choices was demonstrating femininity resounding in spirituality not being able to be silenced by the opposition.
Gabriele Münter – She became companions with Kandinsky and they spent a lot of their time at a house in Murnau outside of Munich. This house became a common meeting point for the members of the Blue Rider group. Locals called the house the Russenhaus (House of the Russians) as a lot of the members came from Russia originally. Münter’s work often had black outlines with bright uses of colour and often have a compact perspective which creates a flat effect. The uses of simplistic shapes demonstrate her influence of folk art and children’s paintings. She never went completely abstract as she enjoyed doing figurative art that showed the reality of life.
The colours used in this painting by Münter are very delicate yet have a completely different effect when viewed against the black outlines. The black outlines and bold colours make this work similar to a colouring book page. The application of paint holds texture which with the colour selection works well. Different tones of colour in each section create dimension and make the work more realistic.
August Macke – He was close friends with Franz Marc and went on various trips to different places with different members of the group. He also sadly died during World War 1. Macke was critical of the blue rider group in a humorous way.
Macke often painted forms cut into sections/fragments with common angular shapes and often focused on depictions of women doing different things. In the above painting, four women are gathered in a forest with high amounts of contrast between the subjects and the background which pushes them forward and makes the viewer focus on them. The use of the shapes in Macke’s work is often linked to cubism.
Alexej Jawlensky – His style involves broad brush strokes and strong colours. At the end of his artistic life, he suffered from arthritis which made painting difficult for him.
The works of Alexej Von Jawlensky, including the painting above, have similarities to a colouring book due to the heavy black outlines and bold solid areas of colour to create contrast. He focused on head portraits a lot in his artistic endeavours to portray emotion, often using bright colours to show how colour can become the essence of one’s being. Expressive brushstrokes are shown throughout a lot of Jawlensky’s work. Although I know this is created using paints, the textures created do remind me of oil pastels which I find interesting.
Paul Klee – Until 1914, Klee mostly did watercolour paintings and graphics in his very unique style. He loved to explore form and colour, both figurative and abstract but reduced to the essential. He did small scale work, sometimes miniature. Paul Klee’s exploration of colour began with the Blue Rider group. He became inspired by Kandinsky’s writing and so started an intense study into abstraction and colour, with the two going hand in hand at times. This made him a central member of the group.
The painting above is considered one of Klee’s first fully abstract works and exchanges familiar imagery into a balanced composition of different shapes coloured in a variety of mixed hues that make the piece very eye-catching. Although this piece is rather simplistic, the colours balance yet contrast in areas which makes the viewers’ eyes travel along the painting rather than just staying in one area.
Alfred Kubin – His works were much different to the rest of the groups’ colourful explorations. His work is nightmarish and apocalyptic. His preferred medium was drawing ink mixed with watercolour. Out of all the members of the group, Kubin was the only one who wasn’t outlawed by the Nazis.
Marianne von Werefkin – She joined the group at a later stage than other members. She focused on women and the impoverished in her work, showing how differently people were treated at the beginning of the 19th century. She often depicted the women in dark coloured clothes to demonstrate the harsh reality of women in her era with a splendid landscape.
This painting demonstrates the experimentation of the blue rider group that was semi-abstract explorations of colour and forms. Werefkin often had loose brushwork and uses of random colour which showed how artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch influenced her. I feel that the bright yellow highlights on her face work really well to draw the viewer in as a lot of the other colours are quite muddy and dark, so the highlights stand out and bring the painting together.
Albert Bloch – He was the only American member of the group who moved to Germany in 1909. Kandinsky and Marc visited his studio and convinced him to join. He developed his own unique style, often incorporating harlequins and clowns dancing and playing instruments in his work.
This painting shows Boch’s connection to the Blue Rider group which has no visible foreground or background and makes it seem like objects are floating. This is to show the combination of the physical and spiritual world. The fruits have their own auras which shows how Boch was giving life to inanimate objects. The fluid and wavy lines also link to spiritualism. Albert Boch continued this style in his work even after the Blue Rider group ceased to exist.
Information learned from the YouTube video above:
Many artists during the early 1900s wanted to take their art in a different direction, they didn’t want to just paint and sculpt realistic images. They wanted to express their feelings in their art and make viewers feel the same emotions when looking at their work
The blue rider group came together to rebel against the way art was created and created a new art standard of creating work from within rather than from external sources
They were a part of the art movement called German Expressionism
They expressed feelings and abstract ideas that paved the way for Abstract Art. They wanted to express spirituality in their work, beyond reality and life as they knew it
Blue represented a spiritual colour, part of the reason for the name of the group. The action of riding a horse represented the fact that they were riding beyond realism in art
In 1912, Kandinsky and Marc produced a collection of art essays with a woodcut cover created by Kandinsky. This was titled ‘Almanach Der Blaue Reiter’ and the name has only been explained with speculation, nothing was confirmed by the group. Franz Marc has always had a fascination with animals, in particular, horses which he painted a lot through his artistic career and Kandinsky had always been fascinated by riders on horseback, with one of his paintings in 1903 being titled ‘The blue rider’.
Influence of colour on the group:
Each of the members of the group had their own individual applications of colour but all used similar colours in a lot of their works, with blue being a popular colour for all of them. Colour allowed the group to be more expressive and allowed the artists to convey their spiritual feelings in their paintings. Their work was freer than other artists at the time and very eye-catching, no dull work was created.
The colour of music:
Synaesthesia – the ability to hear taste or smell colour introduced Kandinsky to the idea of using colour to represent physical senses. Each colour represented different parts of an orchestra to create a colour symphony in the painting. This was significant to Paul Klee in his progression to abstract art. Yellow – earthly colour, brighter yellow = chaotic feelings. Blue – calming and created balance with the yellows. Reds are powerful to represent drums or trumpets. Green – calmest colour to represent violins. Violet – melancholy and sad to represent horns or bagpipes. Black – represents the finale. Every placement of colour in Kandinsky’s musical pieces was intentional with some pieces taking him years to complete due to the deep considerations.
Artist and movement inspirations of the group:
Robert Delaunay/Orphism – influenced Franz Marc and August Macke, particularly the way colour was fractured into different fragments of colour
Fauvism – Gabriele Münter and Alexej Von Jawlensky
Music – influenced both Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee
Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh – Marianne Von Werefkin, influenced by their use of colour to demonstrate the soul
My reasons for researching The Blue Rider Group:
I decided to research into the Blue Rider Group as colour is an important part of my project and so since each member of the group explores colour in different ways, I felt that this would be good to inform some of my colour decisions rather than just making the colour choices up as I go along. I got encouraged to research the Blue Rider Group as a whole by my tutor after they heard that I was being inspired by Franz Marc and I feel that this was a good idea as although the group all have used colours to express particular emotions, they all have very unique styles and relationships with colour which is something that has always fascinated me – two artists focusing on the same subject with the same colour palette and materials very rarely, if at all, produce the same outcomes, each person’s art is completely unique and new and this is a concept which I love about art.
Have the enclosures going in different directions?
Goats facing different directions
Have enclosures meet in certain points but not all to show different enclosures
Things to consider about Cow paintings:
Do the boards have to be square or rectangular? Triangles or irregular shapes could work
Add enclosure to the painting on the left
Things to consider about chicken paintings:
Could explore making the bars meet at certain points like a puzzle
Have some chickens facing different ways?
I printed out my work so far on A3 sheets of paper in which I annotated about different aspects or areas that I am contemplating at the moment. I decided to print these out to inform my practice as I often take my work home to get more done and carrying my work to and from uni can be quite a hassle. It also shows how I have been developing my ideas and gives an idea of the final result I would like of clusters of different animals in which colour is explored in a variety of ways.
In order to start to consider colour more in my work, I decided to do some collages based on a selection of the continuous line drawings I did at my last visit to the farm. This technique worked well during my second year and I felt it couldn’t hurt to move away from painting to allow me to generate more ideas and see what colour combinations work well.
This is the goat collage I did using yellows, oranges, green and a brown painted pattern paper for the fence. I feel that this works really well, both the colours used and how abstract it is. Although I was at first just going to use brown paper for the fence, I’m glad I went with paper that had texture to create a contrast. I feel that the continuous line drawings are perfect for this type of collage as subjects are split up into different segments which makes creating a collage a very simple process.
This is the first chicken collage I did using complementary colours purple and yellow with black for the pen fence. I love the contrast that this collage has and how the white in the patterned purple pieces near the rear of the chicken stands out. I feel that this is an effective yet playful process although it can be tedious cutting out a lot of shapes, depending on how complex the original continuous line drawing is. I feel that this will encourage me to play with colour more which will benefit me a lot.
This is the second chicken collage I did using complementary colours blue and orange for the chicken and a bluish grey colour for the pen fence. Although this collage is still effective, I feel there is less contrast as I have used quite a muted blue for the background but if that had been a more abstract blue, it may have changed that altogether. I tried to incorporate more patterned papers into this collage but I felt that too many patterns can clash too much which is why most of the chicken is done with more solid coloured paper.
I would like to do more collages to experiment with different colour combinations and create some effective colour palettes to use in my paintings as I feel that I was holding back with this last term and should really be playful to determine what works the best for my degree show. I am happy with the progress I am making so far this term and hope to continue this way, onwards and upwards.
I decided to go back to Gorse Hill Farm to gather more primary evidence including both drawings and photographs to give me more to work from so I don’t feel limited.I went on a weekday so it wasn’t too busy and spent a few hours there to gather as much as I possibly could. I may go again in the future if needed but I feel that I gathered enough to keep me busy for a while.
This was a very simple line drawing I did using complementary colours. I felt that beginning primary research using colour (already prepared sketchbook pages) would be good inspiration for continuing developing my uses of colour. Although the lines of the fences aren’t entirely straight, I feel that this adds to the piece.
These were some more simplistic drawings I did, one in a box to give me a sense of how it would look on a piece of board which was a good idea. I also added annotations to some of my drawings to jot down my ideas to look back on later. In this annotation I was thinking about making the materials of the fences three dimensional somehow to create a different effect although I will have to experiment with this later on in the project.
Although I like the effect of this drawing overall with the uses of two colours for the outline, it is very clearly out of proportion which is always a risk when drawing directly from life, especially with animals which move a lot. However, it is still very obviously a goat so I am not too upset by this.
This is another example of the animal being out of proportion in the face but I like the outcomes of these simple coloured pen drawings on coloured backgrounds. I enjoy working with complementary colours as it is guaranteed to produce a captivating effect.
I am not too pleased with this drawing as I feel the proportions are wrong but I enjoyed experimenting with silver pen to add a different feel to the drawings.
I love the simplicity of this drawing and feel that the yellow and purple are balanced nicely. I thoroughly enjoy doing drawings with a lot of mark making as you can build up a lot of detail without being too particular or being a perfectionist.
Again, I feel that the colours of this drawing works fell together and I am pleased with the drawing itself. I like that drawing in this way is very loose as it adds a realistic image, particularly with fur.
This was one of my most successful continuous line drawings and I love that the goat is split into different shapes and sections. I feel that this image would be effective as a paper collage and I look forward to painting this image onto board as I feel colour experimentation will be very easy with this drawing. In the annotations I was considering how I could alter the orientation to make it a bit more playful and thinking about cutting the image off at certain points.
In this drawings, I drew different angled squares and rectangles and went around the farm doing quick sketches and continuous line drawings to have an idea of where I can take my work and how I can alter it from last term. In my annotations, I considered doing pieces with more than one animal in a painting as this could emphasise on the small spaces.
These are some more continuous line drawings of sheep which work nicely, I love doing continuous line drawings when working from life so that I don’t get to drawn into trying to add every single detail. In the bottom drawing, I drew only a portion of the sheep’s face which I hadn’t done in any of my other pieces and I feel that it works well, although I would like to include both of the ears in the frame of a painting if possible, I would like to be more considerate of how the image is cut off depending on each individual piece.
In these drawings I focused a lot on mark making which was really effective and I used a lot of cross hatching in the cow drawing. The cows were in enclosures made of barbed wire and I felt that using actual barbed wires for the enclosure of the painting could be effective. I would like to experiment with this once I get some paintings done.
These are some continuous line chicken drawings where I did most of a chicken and then a zoom in of a chickens face. The continuous line was effective for adding in an illusion of a lot of feathers and made the process a lot more playful. Chickens often don’t look straight at people, they look to the side and so I considered taking photos of the chickens facing forward and then working from photographs as they move around a lot.
I love that this drawing breaks the cow up into different segments similarly to the first goat continuous line drawing as this could be effective as a collage paper cut. I love that the cow is making direct eye contact with the viewer. Exploring different animals is definitely a great idea to further develop my project.
In this continuous line drawing, the cow was giving me the side eye which I thought was quite funny and worked well. I forgot to add the barbed wire so I will do that using the previous drawing as a reference. I look forward to seeing where I can take these drawings and I am excited about the potential for a really strong degree show.
My grade for last term was a high C which I felt a bit disappointed by but not surprised as I struggled with time management and was focusing more on my essay for my CPS module. I hope to build a lot more stronger works this term to build up my grade and make myself enjoy producing art again.
Strengths of my work:
Grouping the artworks together was effective due to size
Large colourful goat was considered more effective
Weaknesses of my work:
Need to pay more attention to the way the animals are painted
Could be more playful with orientation of the boards
The effect is too cutesy, not really an idea that is being taken further
This term my aim is to experiment with colour more to gain an understanding of what works and see how playfulness could benefit or take away from my work. I am keen to experiment with the orientation of the boards so that they are more playful and I can see if I can better the composition. I feel that the clustered effect of the paintings works really well but I am hoping to capture a range of farm animals rather than limiting myself to sheep and goats. I feel positive about this term and am hoping to create a really effective degree show.
Pat Saunders-White is a fine artist who enjoys working with clients to create pet portraits. She enjoys making art that makes people happy. By focusing on composition and colour, she tries to capture more than just the physical aspects of the animals. She uses a lot of contrast, black lines and whimsical cropping to draw in the viewer.
I feel that the subject matter of this painting relates a lot to my project as I have painted a lot of sheep and so I felt researching this artist was relevant. Although I wouldn’t expect the colours of the sheep and the red/blue background to work, the black outline breaks the two things apart and makes it effective. I love how the texture of the wool contrasts with the solid background colours. Though abstract it is still easy to identify the subject matter.
The subject matter of chickens for this painting was selected by one of Pat Saunders-White’s students. I love how this painting looks like an abstract drawing as it is really simple but the arrangement, composition and colours used work well. The fact the painting is a diptych also works well as it allows the viewer to spend more time looking and wondering why this decision was made.
I feel that this painting resonates really well with my project but this painting is more of an abstract take on it which works really well. I would like to further explore experimenting with colours in my own work to hopefully achieve something similar as it really works and draws in the viewer as the colours work well together yet contrast with the black outlines.
I love the colours used in this piece as they are very bright and work well with the dark outline. Though simple, the irregular shapes in this painting adds to the whimsical vibe and adds more to the overall effect. The eyes make the cow look quite crazy which I find humorous. Though a different outcome, this painting initially reminded me of Andy Warhol’s serial cow imagery which is an interesting link.
How Pat Saunders-White’s work is influencing my project:
In particular, I am interested in Pat Saunders-White’s use of colour to explore animals and bring them to life. The colours used are often bright and abstract which makes them very eye-catching and evokes emotion from the viewers, with the colours being used to possibly portray how the animal is feeling or to show how amazing animals are.
The works above, particularly the last two of the donkeys and the cow in bright colours remind me of my work a lot in terms of animals being in enclosures/captivity and the animals making direct eye contact with the viewer. As this creates a lot of emotion, it is perfect to inform my decisions going forward and could help me to be more decisive about my colour choices rather than being random.
Cheri Christensen is a fine artist who does a lot of drawings and oil paintings of animals. Her main focus is conveying the effects of colour and light on form. In particular, she focuses on capturing farm animals which are part of the reason that I decided to research her, as there is a great significance.
I like the way the brushstrokes add texture to the painting and make it seem like real feathers. I also love the colour scheme of this painting as it is very balanced with complementary colours. I always find it interesting to see the way different artists use colour.
Cheri Christensen does paintings of individual-focused animals as well as groups of animals in the same painting which is really interesting and something I hadn’t considered doing in my own work. However, this could take away the sympathy for the animals as they have company so individual animals may be the best idea within my own work. Lots of animals do survive by having company and I feel that Christensen truly captures animals in a realistic and beautiful way. The focus on lighting is very effective and I am drawn to the golden shades of the sun in most of the paintings I have seen.
The playfulness of this painting works well as goats are very playful animals. I feel that this painting resonates with me as I have painted a lot of goats in my project so far. The layers of colours are built up to create a captivating result. Again the colour scheme works nicely even though it is quite simple and I like that.
In particular with this painting, I love how the bright colours work well together yet contrast with the darker areas as it is eye-catching. I like that Cheri Christensen does paintings of zoomed-in segments of the animal as it allows her to capture a lot of small details and create a different effect compared to the full-body paintings.
Things I learned from the video:
Cheri Christensen was a part of the 2021 Texas Masters show, she discusses her love for backlighting
She does a lot of photography and considers the time of day vital, she doesn’t just go and rim light anything
The Colour is reflective, the weather affects the outcome of the lighting. She mainly wants nice sunny late afternoons
The fun yet challenging part of her process is finding the animals during that time period as a lot of them are free-range so it’s not guaranteed that they will always be there
She enjoys working with cool and warm colours to make her work pop
In some of her paintings, she combines using brushes and palette knives
When painting roosters in particular she likes to use mostly palette knives as it gives more energy and it’s more realistic as they are always moving
She uses a lot of paint as the texture is important
She sometimes paints while listening to music to get a rhythm going
Influence of Cheri Christensen’s work on my project:
I am interested in the ways that Cheri Christensen varies her focus on animals in her paintings – doing groups of animals, individual animals and certain segments of the animals like faces. As I explored earlier, doing a group of animals wouldn’t go well with my intentions for this project but I could always try to eliminate that option for my own project. I also feel that it could be interesting to explore doing segments of different parts of the animals that I am focusing on in my work to show variation.
Although lighting is not something I am focusing on within my own work necessarily, I still find it captivating to see and learn from Cheri Christensen how she captures the lighting and how it can completely change a painting.
Cheri Christensen uses a lot of contrast with her colour choices which is an aspect of her work that I am very interested in. The colour aspect of my work is used partly because I enjoy working with colour, and partly to show the irony of people claiming to care about animals in captivity but never doing anything to actually help them. All talk, no action vibes. Although some could consider this making the subject less serious, I feel that it works well when the paintings are grouped together.
In some of her paintings, the animals are gazing directly at the viewer which is something I love to explore in my own subject as a way of making a connection with the viewer and making them uncomfortable or sad for the animals.