I studied at Selby College from September 2000 to June 2003. The first 2 years there were spent studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design with an A-Level in Fine Art Printmaking alongside it. Over the 2 years I much preferred the fine art printmaking to the graphic design so once I’d completed them and was looking at what to study at University I decided that I’d stay on at Selby College an extra year to do the Foundation Studies in Art and Design to help me figured it out.
What follows is a selection of some of the work made at that time, along with some of the original briefs that we were given to make the work, difficulties I encountered, how I felt about the work then and how I feel about it now.
Hopefully you’ll find it interesting to see the art training I had and see the progression of then to where I am now.
If you’d like to enquire about the availability of any of the work email firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the BTEC course we did a unit on drawing development where we worked on our observation skills and tried various techniques of drawing. The above five show some examples of the things we did.
The first one is a continuous line drawing in pencil of a shelf with still life objects on it. Drawing with a continuous line meant that I couldn’t take the pencil off the paper so I had to think about the picture as a whole from the start. Planning the route I needed to take across the page so all the lines flowed, sometimes going over lines so as not to create unwanted ones while making the ones that I did. I wasn’t impressed with what I created at the time and I’m still not. I do however like it as an example of the technique that helped me to think about and be more decisive with my line making.
When I make my 3D Acrylic paintings now I need to think of them as a whole right from the start. Planning how it will be made up of lines and shapes in cardboard, modroc and acrylic paint that will work together to become the finished piece.
The next two drawings are negative space drawings in charcoal which have then been worked on with pencil. Negative space is the space in between the objects so rather than drawing the objects themselves you’re focusing on the space around the objects. Again I wasn’t really pleased with what I produced in either of these as a final artwork, and I’m still not, but as with the first drawing I appreciate what making them did for my drawing development and so I like them as a reminder of that.
This third drawing is in charcoal and is of a vase of flowers/plants/leaves on A1 sized paper. I can’t remember as much about this piece as the previous three but there was something about it that I liked when I was flicking through my old portfolio folder so I thought I’d include it. I think it may have been one of the first pieces I did at Selby College as it looks very similar to my work from high school.
This last drawing was made by first using acrylic paint to create the coloured shapes, then using ink directly from the pipette to create the links on top. Even though the colours are a bit washy and the ink has made pools in areas I still like this piece. It has a simplicity and clarity of line that I think works.
These next two acrylic paintings were made after we had been looking at Futurism, an artistic and social movement that emphasised speed, technology, youth, violence, and objects such as the car, the aeroplane, and the industrial city in the early twentieth century.
I prefer the simplicity of the first one, the primary colours seem to work better plus I think I over complicated things in the second too trying to use too many different colours, tones and textures within them.
This next set of work is also part of the drawing development unit from the BTEC course.
We were instructed to construct a still life of a breakfast scene and make a line drawing of it. We then had to make a collage version of it using paper with different textures (tissue and sand paper were used quite heavily in mine) the next version is an acrylic painting in the complimentary colours. Complimentary colours are colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel.The last version is an acrylic painting using primary and secondary colours (red, yellow, blue are primary colours and orange, green and purple are secondary colours).
There were other versions of this breakfast scene made at the time, a tonal one and other colours, but these are the four that at the time I felt worked best. Looking at them again now I still like them all and I especially like how the textured paper college works with colour and texture, and how the line drawing has a simpleness that is pleasing to the eye while also featuring some more detailed areas.
Another project that we did as part of drawing development was working with a famous piece of artwork. First we made an acrylic painting copy of it, then a complimentary colours version and a tonal greys version in acrylic paint too. I was given Basket with Oranges by Henry Matisse to work with and I was pleased with the copy and tonal greys version but the complimentary colours version didn’t work quite as well as I didn’t get the colour tones quite right.
The tonal greys version is currently on my living room wall in a frame and the copy and complimentary colour versions are mounted together in my college portfolio case.
We had another project that involved creating copies of another artist’s work. This time it was part of the Fine Art Printmaking A-Level course and the painting that I was working with was Fabulous Beast II, Horse by Franz Marc.
It was one of the first projects that we did on this course to get us used to the screen printing process. We started by using indian ink with a pen and nib to draw the design on to acetate. We then needed to transfer this to the screen to be used to do the printing by coating the screen with light-sensitive emulsion. Once the emulsion was dry the screen and acetate design were placed onto a vacuum sealed light box and exposed for about 30 seconds then washed in the pressure washer. Once the screen was dry it could then be used for printing.
In the first black and white version I’d not applied enough ink and pressure so the resulting print is lighter than it should be. The second one is much darker. Once we had the black and white version we then needed to work on the backgrounds. We didn’t do printed backgrounds this time, that was something we explored in later projects. So these background were either painted with acrylic paints or were collages using different types of papers. The colour choices were left up to me so, that’s why there are a lot of purples used.
I think that as a first attempt at screen printing they aren’t bad, just a few issues with the black ink printing and how that works on top of the coloured backgrounds. I do like the background colours used though (obviously)
The last two, with the yellows and oranges in the background and paper collage background, are mounted together and are in my college portfolio case.
Not quite enough ink used or hard enough pressure used to print this one but you can see the tones and details more clearly than in the one where too much ink and pressure has been used making it look muddy.
The purple tones painted on the background needed to be more carefully thought about so that the detail from the black ink printed on top would show through more clearly.
The acrylic paint blue and purple tones work better in this one as the detail from the black ink printed on top are coming through more clearly.
The introduction of complimentary yellows and oranges in the acrylic paint background isn’t as successful as the previous blues and purple version although the lighter tones used has made the blank ink printed on top more effective at showing the details in the print. As a whole it seems a bit disjointed however.
The use of complimentary colours in this painted acrylic paint background is more successful than the previous version, the colours seem to work better together in harmony. Also leaving some of the white paper has helped the details of the printed black ink show through.
The different textures of the paper collage background have made the black ink printed on top react in interesting ways, although it is muddy in some areas I think this one is the most interesting of the set to look at.
Aswell as screen prints we also looked at lino printing. Working directly on the piece of lino with tools to carve out the design then printing from that. We then screen printed a colour background on top. My design was my Missy cat and Rascal (who are sadly no longer with us) on my purple bedroom carpet. Both of the cats are black and white so that lended itself nicely to the black and white lino print. However I struggled to use the tools to make different marks when I was carving out the lino, so I think the cats get lost somewhat in the texture of the carpet. Even the introduction of the light purple screen print background wasn’t as successful as it should have been as I didn’t manage to get it all in. There are bits that are still white that should have been printed over.
These next ink drawings were made as more drawing development. The title was Metamorphasis and we had to transform one drawing to another in six stages. The first stage was a colour ink drawing based on a photograph we’d taken ourselves. Stage six was based on a black and white image that had been created by another artist. So not only were we having to go from one image to another, we were also having to go from a colour image taken from a photograph to a black and white illustration made by someone else. Sadly this proved to be a bit too difficult for me, as a series of images they don’t really work as a transformation from one image to another. The middle stages let it down, I do like the first and last ones though, I just needed to practise the metamorphasis process a bit more.
I found some of the original paperwork from the foundation course ( I am a bit of a hoarder) these first 2 pages are the first things we were given to introduce us to the course.
These next four pages are what we were given to do over the summer holiday before the course started in the September.
As you can see we were given plenty to keep us busy. Here are just a handful of some of the images I produced in reaction to the second phase of the first section.
Out of the two of these pointillism style pieces I prefer the colour painting, I like how the colours work with the technique, even though it wasn’t successful in getting realistic colours it still has a charm about it that I like. I do still like how the black/white version shows the use of the technique though, just dotting black marker pens to create the shapes, tones and details.
When I’ve been looking back through this work I have found that I seem to have a soft spot for the pieces that use collage. There’s just something pleasing about recycling one thing and turning it into something else, especially when it uses and creates different textures too. Something which I continue to do with my 3D Acrylic Paintings that start off life as cardboard boxes. I do remember that it took a while to find all the colours and tones I needed out of magazine pages to be able to make this one but I’m still pleased with how it looks now.
These next two acrylic paintings were made using different brush stroke marks to try to create different textures. The first one of the bridge and overgrowth was painted to look quite loose and abstract, not much detail just enough to hint and suggest at what is in the picture. The second one of the view from my parent’s garden was more impressionistic, less abstract so you can make out the objects more clearly but still not so concerned with realistic details. Even though part of me now would have liked more details in them I still like the use of colour and light created.
I’d always struggled when I’d used charcoal before, smudging it and not getting enough definition between the tones, so I was pleased with this one that I did. I tried not to use the white chalk too much and just let the whiteness of the paper show through but I think I used it effectively on the wire. I was having some issues with proportion unfortunately though.
At the time I didn’t think much to this painting, it took ages to dry and couldn’t really be moved as that made the paint move about on the paper too, but actually now it’s one of my favourites. So much so that it’s in a frame and up on the wall in my living room.
These three tractor pictures are some more of my favourites that I’m proud of, the acrylic painting one especially. They were all made from photographs I’d taken at the pig farm near my old primary school and are on A1 sized cartridge paper.
This first one was a combination of two photos, one of the tractor at the pig farm and another of a fence post and barbed wire from a sheep field nearby, to give the foreground a bit more interest.
Oil pastels can be effective but I don’t think that they lent themselves to creating the kinds of details that these drawings required, and that the acrylic paint had allowed me to get in the previous tractor picture.
Complimentary colour version of the oil pastel drawing of a tractor, also an oil pastel drawing
The complimentary colour version sadly doesn’t work as successfully as the first two original versions. The tones are too dark and muddied. I am still proud of all three of them though and have them framed up on my living room wall.
The same set of photos of the pig farm that I used for the tractor pictures were again used, first to make a chalk pastel drawing, then to make a screen print version.
The original chalk pastel drawing is another one that I’m proud of and have framed up on my living room wall. Even though chalk pastel is by nature quite smudgy and blurry I’m still pleased with the amount of detail I was able to achieve with it.
I’ve sold a framed colour version and an unframed copy of each (black/white and colour version) of these when I had my shop in Castleford.
This next project was one of the first ones when we started the course, we were required to experiment with the different marks that can be made with each media (paint, charcoal, pastels, inks etc) and make bound books of what we made.
This is the brief we were given..
These are a few of the pages from inside
This final page was made with ink and acrylic paints and was selected to be used for the next project. In that project we were required to make an enlarged version of the selected page, approx A4 size enlarged to approx A1, this was then made into a black/white screen print which then had several different coloured backgrounds made for it to be printed on.
Here is the brief we were given to work from.
The top part of this brief relates to the chair project which I’ll talk more about later in this blog post, the second part relates to the next series of screenprints.
If you look carefully you can see the lines showing where the glass broke on the light box when the image was being exposed before printing.
I found the marks and media project to be enjoyable and useful, even the process of making them into books was satisfying, and it meant that I had a resource to look back on when I needed it. Even though it was less about the outcome and more about the experience as a learning tool for future work I do still like some of the pages, so much so that I’ve framed them and put them up on my living room wall (there is a lot of my work on my living room wall and elsewhere in my house).
I think that the outcomes of the enlargement/transcription project was less successful. At least in terms of fulfilling the brief. The things that made the page work when it was small were lost when it was enlarged, and further so when it was made into a print. But they do each have their own qualities that work instead so I still like them.
The next was concerned with still life, we chose to make our still life out of skulls/ bones as the college had a box of them and we liked how the various shapes worked together when set up on the shelf. Once we’d set up our still life we made chalk pastel drawings of them, these were then used to make a black/white screenprint version with different coloured backgrounds for it to be printed on top.
Here’s the brief we were given for it.
This next project was quite a time intensive one, there were lots of parts to it which crossed a variety of disciplines and skills including photography, drawing, sculpture and screenprinting.
Here is the brief we were given for it:
These are some pages from my workbook:
First a photograph of the 2 chairs chosen.
This shows some of my brainstorming/analysis about the two chairs, what makes them chairs, how they are different from each other etc.
This shows some sketches of possible ways to construct my chair sculpture/s
Photographs stuck in my workbook showing some early experiments at putting the chair sculpture together, plus some notes made by me about them.
Photographs stuck in my workbook of some of the chair sculptures made by me and others in my class.
We were all told that we’d not been very successful with our sculptures. We’d been too literal and hadn’t understood how to just use the concept of chair to make our sculptures and not a functunal chair. I’ll be honest I didn’t really understand that then and I still don’t, but I do still like some of the outcomes even if they weren’t considered to be successful in relation to the brief.
This is the brief for the next part of the project
The second part of this brief relates to the marks and media project I told you about earlier in this blog post.
This is the black master image screenprint. I like the hatching marks I’ve used and the use of reversing the black and white so the image becomes the negative space.
This background uses coloured tissue paper which has given it a nice texture but there are a few registration issues with it and I’m not sure about how well the colours work with it. A bit too garish I think.
This one has a painted background using acrylic paints in the 3 primary colours (red, blue, yellow) and 3 secondary colours (green, orange, purple). One colour but in different tones for each square, each colour used twice in the grid of 12 but spread out so no 2 have the same colour used next to each other. I like how the different tones of each colour work within the grid, sadly there were registration issues again though.
Cool colour acrylic paint background. I like how the light tones of the colours used make the black master image stand out, Only 3 colours used in different combinations, some slight registration problems but not as noticable as in the previous ones. The master image could have been printed better so that the ink wasn’t patchy in areas, particulary at the bottom.
This is my favourite as I think it works the best. it’s a 2 colour screenprinted background, yellow and pink the orange is created by printing yellow over pink. The tone of the colours is light enough for the master image to be seen clearly and because they are warm colours it gives it a happy feel which seems more appropriate for a poster encouraging people to come see the work.
This is the brief for the final part of the chair project.
I think that these work just as well as individual images on their own as they do as part of a set, even the 3 in the middle transition stage. I especially like the 2nd one, it’s a strong, bold image with nicely defined lines and mark making.
I think this is the most sucessful metamorphosis set out of the 3 that I’ve shown in this blog post.
This next set of work is from the final end of year project that we were required to write for ourselves. As I was a fan of the surrealists, Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte in particular, I decided to title my project Incongruity,
the state of being incongruous; incompatibility.“the incongruity of his fleshy face and skinny body disturbed her”
synonyms: inappropriateness, incongruousness, unsuitability, lack of harmony, discordance, inharmoniousness, dissonance, incompatibility, inconsistency, difference, disparity, discrepancy, irreconcilability;
The bottom bit of this brief, Term 3, explains what we were having to think about when starting to come up with our final project.
The next series of screen prints focus on experimenting with the danger sign.
I liked the grid layout that we used in the chair project so I used that with this. The lightness of the tone used here makes it difficult to see, which ties in nicely with the incongruity theme I was going for.
This one again uses a light tone to tie in with the theme.
As does this. These 2 were printed over each other to make the next one.
Pink and yellow printed over each other. Bit of smudging with the pink one in the middle
Next I started experimenting with printing more colours over each other, again using light tones to keep it hard to make out clearly.
Playing with how they go together. I like how this one works with the light purple and light black interacting in different ways.
I don’t like this one quite as much as the previous one, I don’t think the interactions work as well together. There’s some interesting things going on though, especially in the bottom left square.
A master image printed for some experiments with the background, deliberately printed so it’s not solid black, giving it some texture which will continue when it’s printed on top of the backgrounds.
Purple printed background, the purple is too dark and isn’t quite registered right though.
Tissue paper background . I quite like how this works with the different colours/tones of tissue torn into natural free form shapes, it’s quite a simple idea but I think it’s effective. I like how the outlines of the tissue show up under the ink where it’s been printed on top.
Using printed type in the background, it says danger over and over again. Printed onto A4 paper, stuck down then screen printed on top. Again I like the simplicity of this.
Same idea as above but using different types of yellow paper for the word danger to be printed on first, yellow because that’s the colour used on the actual sign.
More experiments with type in the background, this time using different sizes and including the Building site part of the sign too. Some is printed on tracing paper so you can see through it when it’s laid on top of each other. I don’t like it a much as the previous ones, I think they have gotten a bit too busy so you can’t see the master image as well printed on top.
This version uses some yellow paper again to mimic the colour of the original sign. I think the use of colour helps to make the master image stand out more than in the just black and white one but it’s still a bit too busy.
More experiments using yellow and black paper, torn into shapes to work with the master image. I think this one was successful, the flashes of yellow and the shapes created with the black paper help to accentuate the master image printed on top. There’s nice texture from the ink and where it’s printed over the paper shapes.
These last 2 have been mounted with black card and were included in my portfolio that I took to my interview at Leeds Met Uni.
The bottom one is just a simple black master image wth no texture.
Hand of Bananas, screen print
The top one is the master black image the bottom is the full colour version with screen printed colours and black master image printed on top.
Sadly my poor registration skills let me down again a bit with this but I do still like it as an image and it fits in with my incongruity theme. A bunch of bananas is also called a hand of bananas, so by putting a human hand in place of the banana flesh it plays on this idea.
This is the final piece that I made, No Children Allowed, sweets on hardboard. It’s quite large, aprox 1 meter and has a protective plastic sheet on top of it. As you can see from the bottom some of the sweets melt when it gets too hot and some of the white sweets have discoloured over time. It took a lot of planning and time to make but I’m still proud of it now, it lives on the wall in my kitchen/dining area.
I made a few sculpture signs as part of the final project, a no smoking sign using emtpy cigarette packets, a danger do not touch sign from fluffy fleece material and wool, a danger/warning sign as a rag rug spool/French knitted floppy sign and a smaller sign from sweets as a practice for this larger one. It was fun coming up with the ideas for them then using some of my crafting skills to make them.
I’m pleased to say that I passed all the courses that I did while I was at Selby College and was successful in gaining a place at Leeds Metropolitan University to continue my studies.
Even though I do still have quite a bit of the work I produced at college (because I am a hoarder) at the end of the course we put our portfolios together with the help of our tutor ( my tutor was Roger Silvester) and a lot of the work that wasn’t up to scratch was chucked. I’ve also had a few culls myself since then as I’ve needed the space/ my mum has wanted her loft space back.
I hope you’ve found this to be an interesting insight into some of my earlier work and some of the projects I did at college. If you’d like to see more of it, ask any questions or put some of it up on your walls too, let me know.
Till next time,
Purple Faye x