Reflective Journal Week 1, 29 Sept – 5 Oct, 2019

Reflective Journal Week 1, 29 Sept – 5 Oct, 2019

Although the very first project has not been briefed yet, there is no reason to pause producing paintings. Also, I was instructed to prepare a 1 min presentation and a Pecha-Kucha talk by 9th Oct. So the reflective journal this week will contain general content as well as notes for both talks.


The first task of the week is to continue on producing works of Un Verano en Andalucía, for increasing number of works to “sufficient” for the first group crit which will take place on 14th Oct.

Directly start working on a new piece without thinking about the whole picture would be a reckless, irresponsible move. Therefore, while choosing the landscape I want to produce the most, I started to design the composition for the presentation as well. Judging by how I composite existing pieces, I would like to arrange images for the rest of the spot to maintain the density of painted models to the most comfortable level for audiences.


The composition suggests not all illustrations in the part of the project should be in the same size. As a matter of fact, the painting of the dried plant and a collected one has gained a considerable amount of positive feedback as they have brought ‘something new’ into the project. Small-sized paintings of plants is also a demonstration of presenting individual elements of a landscape, it may grant me a possibility to expand the series.

Overall, I choose the method of presentation which was adopted from the project Los Fragmentos del Albaicín, to overwhelm audiences with a considerable amount of information by composite a large quantity of paintings in a flat, direct way.

In my previous sketches, there was a dried rose painted during the visit to Zuheros, 2018. But never have I tried to produce watercolour featuring a fragile plant, in a single colour. How can I show my audiences that the rose is dried out with only one colour, and how can I show the dryness precisely? It requires experiments and practices.

Looked into a specific style of flower watercolour which generally adopted by watercolourist in South China and the Middle east. The technique allows the painter to shape the flower without germanic pencil-based precise drawings. Through repeated washes and only emphasis on specific parts, structures of flowers can be quickly built, and usually figures out the relationship of petals as individual objects effectively.


The actual practice is harder than it sounds. Basically, I can only produce one piece of drawing each night, if I am going to guarantee the possibility of being late on the next day to an acceptable level.

Unsatisfying outcomes dragged me into confusion. Based on my experience, I can clearly sense some obstructions were set up by the tube watercolour paint I used.

One work from the Un Verano en Andalucía was chosen to be the one being talked about in the one-minute showcase. Comparing to the Pecha-Kucha talk, the latter is more likely to provide a comprehensive acknowledgement to my work. I am going to put down both statement I wrote.

One minute showcase:

The work I am presenting is a paper-based watercolour which sized a bit smaller than A4. It is currently being called Painting No.4 and belonged to an unfinished series, Un Verano en Andalucía, which mainly response to Southern Spanish landscapes. It also features some experimenting and improvement of watercolour techniques of my previous works. It is also an exploration of how paintings based on these old-fashioned techniques can survive and shine in an art market that dominated by contemporary idea-focused paintings.

I usually produce works in various materials, and I prefer to present them classically. Primarily referring to traditional English landscape watercolour during the period when the subject started to be admitted as a decent subject underpainting. With a hint of love to Dutch landscape master Jacob van Ruisdael, and references of painters during the golden age of English landscape watercolour.


Carrier Car

It has been my favourite car since I was five. And I believe it influenced the style of my creation, as well as my aesthetic standard significantly. I love making and seeing artworks that consist of a large number of distinctive components, and each of these parts was assembled and designed elegantly.

A Landscape with Ruined Castle and A Church

My favourite landscape painting which produced during the Dutch Golden Age by Jacob Ruisdael. The painter demonstrated a very Germanic scene of peace in the rural area, which led to an influence on paintings that reflect the English countryside for nearly 300 years. His unique proportion of sky and clouds lately created the word “skyscape’ and pushed landscape painting being recognised as a decent subject of art.

Kirkstall abbey

Produced by Tomas Girtin among the very first generation of English landscape painters. It is evident. The Dutch influence is decisive that the English landscape watercolour in that era was often produced with similar compositions as well as objects. For example, the reflection of water, the shadow of clouds. And the method he processes the distant view. The same range of colour.

John Sell Cotman

Another reputable painter among the first generation of English landscape watercolourists. A model for an artist that generally considered successful who ended up with a series of watercolour paint with reasonable quality and price named after him instead of a newly discovered cancer or std.

Such an inspiration for my artist future.

Las Meninas produced by Diego Velazquez. I am pretty sure you are all very familiar with this piece; therefore, I don’t think there will be anything interesting to talk about. However, his work demonstrated a method of highlighting an image while it is not likely to exceed competitors with painting techniques. A sense of humour, very precious and not-often-seen in paintings of that age.


I know it sounds strange that Poldark, as well as white cliffs of Dover, is actually reasons I selected to travel to England six years ago. Also, I had believed it could be a way to merge in, like, hey, do you like Poldark. Yeah, I like it too! However, I do recall a classmate in Brighton responded my fondness to the tv series Hey that’s the show my grandmother loves! 1975 version of course.

Naomi Tydeman, a member of the royal institute of painters in watercolour, demonstrated me an exciting direction. That you do not need a wide range of colour, but only by sediments from the mixture of pigments, inks and watercolour paint. A beautiful texture could be manipulated in various ways.

Geoffrey Wynne,

A watercolourist who primarily engage in contemporary Impressionism. Born in stock-on-Trent, and later moved to Granada, a city he loves and devoted to reproducing on canvases. He shows that English watercolour can contain utilisation of a significantly wide range of colour. I have seen his work twice, and it made me started to look into critical features that trigger the Florence Syndrome.

Andrew Wyeth

A famous American regional painter in late 70s. Majorly work with tempera on wooden board with a mixture technique of classical watercolour. Most of the people are definitely familiar with Christina’s world; however, this piece which name now cannot be recalled by me has been my favourite. No dramatic scene, but still remain incredibly attractive. He had his first solo exhibition in 21, and all works were sold. Pressure.

Last night of the prom

A massive fan of classical music. Which is more touching than the aspirating rhythm of Land of Hope and Glory, is when the song plays, people stand up waving flags of their own nation; however, sing together. And resonance created via the peruse of a familiar aesthetic. The idea has always been my reference when creating works.

Right after the gallery tour there was a very intriguing talk on Wednesday afternoon. I cannot remember his name, however, the last painter, when he talked about the unseen narratives of the characters both seen and unseen in his works, I found the most of people around me looked tired and careless. However, this statement is mind-blowing. The only similar talk regarding the same content has happened between my father and me, and of course, such discussion established on a universal love that adopted in the literature. It was just surprising to see someone else has a similar thinking pattern on this side of the continent. I can barely describe the idea because it is now still ambiguous. Perhaps it can be concluded as sympathy to “someone else’s value and the story remains unknown” or the sympathy to “somebody being nobody”.

It is incredibly funny because sometimes I would like to work on the idea of archiving time, archiving nobody’s life. And by piling up observation dates, I can construct a monument of life. The concept only has a name, and hopefully, it can be discussed in the future.

On the note I wrote:
…As he (the third tutor) started his work are usually 2 m * 1.5 m, and displayed as a slide show. I can confirm such an arrangement based on my observation. A large proportion of his presentation consisted of paintings that demonstrate the process of technical development. From the series of a standing female figure and a dog in front of a street lamp to what we called “scenes from movies”, the critical factor has been the distinctive marches of colours. Changes to the composition or perspective can hardly be found.
The temporal coordinates advanced with the increasing complexity in his utilisation of colours, until the series “to the sea” drew my attention. In the second painting of the series, I noticed that there is a pale-blue grey layer underneath the first figure. This technique can often be seen in classic oil paintings. The application of transparent colour can not only widen the range of colour but also enriches the variety of coldness in the shadowing. Thus a vibrant image could be made, and the thickness of paint balanced the composition at the same time. I am surprised to find someone still on the way of developing techniques in English society of art, where theoretical even ideology researches dominated academic area. Comparing to his early works shown in this presentation, such methods did not exist previously. Therefore I am confident to say this assumption is now supported.
In the portrait of his daughter, several changes were noticeable. Firstly, the proportion affected the composition of the painting. Secondly, techniques are specifically more elegant and involved in skills relatively more complicated. The facial area of his daughter was produced with extra caution, which can hardly be ignored. Structure of the bones and colours used to smooth the figure’s skin overwhelmed all other images’ technical aspect. The other character in the picture, the dog, has a stroke barely to shape out its body. A painter purely focuses on technical aspects (maybe because an enormous number of Chinese painters rely on techniques therefore sadly I can tell this) can barely leave a painting failed to demonstrate an equal complexity on all parts of the image. In my opinion, the portrait of his daughter symbolised the very first time emotion has become the dominant element that decides the quality of his painting. That is the reason why the lecture was precious and intriguing: a decade of a painter can be studied within half an hour.


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