Hello there, my name is Carrie….
This blog is going to document my progress and creative process throughout the course of 2017. This year I aim to produce a body of work consisting of 12-15 pieces for a solo exhibition in 2018.
In late 2016 I was the recipient of the AGES Society art prize. It’s a commission based prize that will see me produce three pieces for the AGES Society, which will then be auctioned off for charity in 2018. What a lucky break! I intend to make the most of that exposure, holding my own show to coincide with the AGES auction.
So this year is about streamlining my process to make it as efficient as possible, whilst also refining and building upon the style and process I’ve spent the last year developing.
A bit about my work…
My work is about colour. To me the relationship between colours can elicit mood, emotion, an unspoken story. The use of an overlaid face serves to reinforce that narrative, expression and gesture bringing it to fruition. But the story always begins with colour.
It’s a culmination of abstract expressionism: swathes of bold colour, experimental mark making, and the portrait. I use close-cropped composition and sheer scale to create a sense of intimacy, and layered abstract colour to create dynamic energy. I want it to appear as if the colour is projected across the motif.
The subject is chosen for a particular quality that engages my own aesthetic sensibility. Exploring themes of feminine dynamism and identity, the figurative and the abstract are brought together expressing an undefined personal significance, really some extension of myself.
Check out my website at carriepitcher.com.
Above: progress from month 1
I was a little slow finishing the first piece, but the next two should come along faster because the coloured grounds are already done!
I’m pretty excited about trying out a new medium/technique on the next one that Warren has suggested I play with, it could result in a much more polished smooth look to the tonal areas of the face. When I first started this style the face was quite patchy, that part of the process has been evolving steadily since then. I think really polished tone will be a nice contrast to the painterly nature of the grounds …. I’ll keep you posted on its success, or failure as the case may be.
So at Warrens prompting I’ve been playing with doing the portrait in oil with medium rather than many built up layers of acrylic with water. So far I’m pleased with the results! Although I’m still figuring out how best to work with it, I’ve never really used oils like this before. The oil gives me more play time to get it right in one go (or two if I don’t) so overall it’s faster (I think) and allows me to use the wipeout method to create highlights.
After not loving the first piece I completed using the oil on top of acrylic, but loving some of the effects, I moved onto the next one having learned a bit about how to make it work, and it’s coming along ok, it’s not all that much faster than the acrylic was, but I do prefer working upright and the depth I can achieve with the oil.
However for some unknown reason the first coat of oil and liquol has caused cracking in some areas (shown below) I can’t really deduce why, I haven’t broken the fat over lean rule, the canvas was pre primed and I put an additional 5 coats of gesso before all those layers of acrylic went on.
I hope this painting is salvageable! I’ll be asking warren on Friday, but am also thinking I’ll write to Art Spectrum about it.
Maybe there’s some kind of varnish I need to put on before I start the oil coat? Who knows
Yesterday I had a a photo shoot with my latest model Bianca. I have noticed I despite being prepared with lots of ideas for poses I have a mental blank once the model is in front of me! I end up with a lot of the same poses, maybe that’s ok. The one shot I really wanted I didn’t quite manage to achieve, I guess you need to be an opportunist when your photography skills/equipment are slightly lacking, I’ll make what I’ve got work. It’s hard choosing the best of the lot tho.
I haven’t posted for a while. I attempted a post mid May and was thwarted by the WordPress app being insufferably inconsistent and annoying! I have been avoiding another confrontation since.
But as it is now the last day of semester I will grudgingly put aside my differences with WordPress in the interest of achieving a grade.
Let’s go back about 6 weeks, I was just starting a new series, planning a new colour scheme and the composition of four new works. Having pre mixed the colours and roughly plotted the abstract composition made the execution extremely quick and hassle free, and I was able to have these mostly ready for portraits in just two weeks!
Despite the fact that I just did a photo shoot and have many good pics to work with right now, I’ve had a chance encounter on the train with a South African girl who I think I’d like to shoot as well, I got her number and will keep that on the back burner while I get on with it.
My portrait painting has been coming along well, slower than anticipated as always, but after experimenting with a few mediums for my oil glazing, and a few different methods of painting I have honed in on the most efficient and effective process, I think, finally!
I have been trying to start regular drawing practice of late (I’m not in Louise’s drawing class) as I’ve found myself quite out of practice! I’ve been doing some life drawing and graphite and white charcoal drawings on toned paper and am finding it very relevant to my portraits which are essentially black and white on coloured grounds, the drawing practice is helping me get better with tone.
I’ve been getting to a few exhibitions, I’m not part of Greg’s class, so I went to see van Gough at NGV independently and quite enjoyed a few of the great pieces on display. I’ve also gone to a few exhibitions at tacit gallery, mainly because I’m scoping it out as the main contender for my own solo exhibition. But seeing these shows and talking with the gallery has been quite helpful in completing my business plan for Cons class
I was informed recently that the deadline for the next painting for the AGES prize is in late July! I’ve also booked a three week trip to Vietnam returning 19th July which means I have to scramble to get this painting well underway before I leave on the 28th. But luckily I had one of the abstract canvases unassigned and I was able to rework it quickly with the remaining pre mixed colours. Also luckily A’kyo has let me use a photo of her because I’m in a pinch (on the condition that she’s portrayed favourably) Thankyou A’kyo!!
A lot of the progress I’ve made with the portraits has been in the application of the oil paint and in particular being conscious of directional brush strokes etc, which I’ve previously never really paid attention to. I’ve never really done cross contour drawing but I’m thinking developing this skill will be instrumental my painting, so that is my little drawing project for my Vietnam holiday (that’s assuming ofcourse I can find the time between beaching and boozing 😋)
Well it’s the end of term again and about time I updated this blog!
It’s been a busy couple of months!
Let’s go back about 7 weeks….
I had just returned from three weeks in south east Asia and unfortunately this left me immediately behind the ball for this term for two reasons; 1 I missed the first day back of classes (i landed that day) in which they organised the midway exhibition, and two having finished a series neatly at the end of semester one, I needed to organise some new work, and get some canvases.
Despite my missing the meeting in which jobs were dished out, I was given a simple job, and the bump in day went really well, Akyo and Sophie (the curators) gave me a great spot on the mezzanine that could be seen from the entrance, and I was able to negotiate a little with Micah and Alda so I could put up four pieces instead of the expected two.
It was a lot of fun setting it all up, and I think we all learned a lot in preparation for the real thing later this year.
What a colossal amount of time I wasted because I wasn’t a step ahead about canvases! I knew I’d need more at the beginning of term but thought I’d just be able to go pick them up. Wrong! They were out of stock so I asked them to order some in, and was told it’d be at least a week. So I set about making sure I would be ready for when they arrived, but after 10 days I called back and was told they hadn’t actually been ordered and it would now take til early September!!! Too long! My only recourse was to have some custom made which is about $60 more expensive per canvas. But I needed to get a move on, too much time lost already!
Whilst I wasted almost 4 weeks faffing around with the canvas situation, I put my time to good use. I used studio time to do some experiments to do with the organic shapes and marks I want to achieve right now. The new things I figured out were put directly to use on the new three compositions, and I’m happier with these than any of the other abstract compositions I’ve made to date.
I also planned out the next three works carefully, colours, composition, everything was ready to go, I even had all the colours pre mixed, so as soon as I got the canvases I was away.
Despite my late start this term, my progress is tracking well and I should still be able to complete 7 pieces this semester. And as always my style is still rapidly evolving, becoming smoother more refined, and I couldn’t be more pleased I like each one more than the last.