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Joan Hunter.750 word Summary of my final year

My art practice has evolved throughout the year. I have produced paintings ranging from semi abstract to abstract but I believe that my work would be described as abstract expressionism.

I have been running with three trains of thought, firstly with the use of paint in impasto style creating a build-up of paint and layering this on canvas or boards, secondly, outside, using colour as an awareness tool to highlight the problem of deforestation by wrapping trees in brightly coloured painted paper, and thirdly, my sketchbooks, which are related to time as my thought process evolves whilst making small water colour paintings and black and white charcoal bark rubbings.

At the start of this year my thoughts were with how to highlight the problems of illegal logging on the island of Madagascar as this small island has a wealth of animals and trees that are in danger of becoming extinct, this led me towards looking into doing outside Art Interventions as an awareness project and using colour as a method of communication.

I decided that the best method for communication would be to embark upon producing an installation in the form of an Art Intervention. I produced two Interventions this year which were well supported by the public. I highlighted the problems of Madagascar and also further afield. The Amazon, Canada and China were added in my talks to the schoolchildren. Included in my research into my land based art project I had to consider health and safety and insurance issues, recruiting volunteers to help on the day and distribute invitations to my sponsor to whom I am very grateful for paying for my paint.

During this time I spent time researching into land based artists, I found that there was an Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos who had painted trees but the paint stayed on the trees for 4-5 months until it naturally dissolved. This was an not acceptable option for the trees I had in mind. Further research found that Jean Claude and Christo’s environmental art practice of wrapping objects could work better for me. I also investigated the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long.

After seeing the work of Frank Bowling at Tate Britain I was inspired to look into his techniques and processes and try to make paintings by pouring paint. My art was developing as I experimented with the paint, for me this falling of paint was as if time was running out for the trees and provoked some emotional thoughts.

I have several sketch books which represent trees in the natural environment and are also related to time, and they also express my thought processes. These are in water colours and black ink. I call these my Thinking Time Paintings as each spot of colour is enclosed with a line of black ink encircling my thoughts.

Toward the end of the year I found out about the plight of the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. These trees are absolutely stunning and are the only species of eucalyptus native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are some wonderful examples in Hawaii and I have researched into the natural methods causing these colour formations in the bark and produced paintings with a build-up of layers of paint and colour, attempting to replicate the effect, paying  special attention to the production of the surface texture of the finished paintings.

There are many abstract painters that inspire me to keep pushing the boundaries with paint, hopefully finding something that is different and visually pleasing. It is said that abstract painting has no subject, just shapes, lines and colour, but I believe I am capturing an emotional thoughts from my subconscious and transforming them to the canvas. I am also recording my emotional response to the project through the means of video.

I have used my time at University to explore many areas within the art world, including paint technology and printmaking, I have expanded this knowledge to further my techniques used in my pouring of paint.

Art history plays a big part in my understanding of painting, the painters I have studied include Kandinsky, Mondrian, Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Matisse, and all have different takes on abstract paintings.  I have experimented using their techniques to further develop my own style.

I am pleased with what I have achieved using the physicality of paint in an abstract style. I hope I have shown in the last year, that my use of colour as an awareness message has been successful.

I am hoping to do an MA and to continue with my investigation into paint properties.

1 June 2014

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