At the beginning of this module my intention was to showcase an A1 research poster displaying my findings regarding the environmental issue, Deforestation. Alongside this I intend to create and develop a thesis and possibly a series of prints or photographic works about forests and the threats they face regarding deforestation within the UK., again like the previous module I will be exploring themes of nature and landscape in the process, as areas of interest. I also intended to react creatively to my findings and to be informed by my research in regard to what I create and develop, below displays a couple of mind maps documenting my initial thought process and how my ideas developed from one simple word: Deforestation. Below I have also tried to start visualizing my thoughts through these mind maps using sketches and drawings to symbolize the written words displayed on the first initial draft mind map. I have also documented the visual methodologies I may encounter throughout the process.
A brief look at the initial brainstorming stages and development.
I accomplished these tasks by using various methods. Using both practical and theoretical knowledge to progress. Using research methods and methodologies gathered and learnt whilst reading "Visual Methodologies" by Gillian Rose.
- Researching Into the subject using critical studies of practices, historical studies, and past collections etc. This included artist research, both primary and secondary research and imagery, analysis of past art collections and gallery visits. (This is all documented within my research folder, to be presented upon request). This also included an extended placement at Thetford Forest, developing an understanding of the deforestation effects within Norfolk and the efforts to tackle this issue, such as replantation and preservation of dwindling species.
- Researching Through performing the acts of photography as processes, developing ideas and works along with experimentation. This experimentation took place in the form of wet cyanotypes and illustration pieces similar to the previous module.
As documented within my blog, I began by sketching and responding creatively to my initial found research. I also continued to collect found objects whilst on my placement, in order to continue my experimentation in the field of cyanotypes, continued from the previous module. I originally had the idea of creating many photographic pieces, almost a cyanotype forest built up by using found barks and wood chippings etc., connecting the pieces together in a possible booklet format, this was something I explored within the previous module but developed further in the following weeks. I also wanted to create something which was strong and beautiful in appearance but was too be destroyed by a devastating process such as cutting or burning. This of course portraying the deforestation element, the tree being a symbol of beauty and a structure which stands strong and powerful, yet it can be cut down as a result of deforestation in an instant.
During my fieldtrips into the countryside, local areas and my placement within Thetford Forest, I found many opportunities to respond to my environment by sketching and photographing my surroundings. I began experimenting with what kind of imagery I could use for final pieces.
I took several photographs, initially digital photographs using my mobile phone and then I moved to analogue photography techniques. After capturing these photographs of trees and the canopy above, I developed the films and created contact sheets. I then chose which images might work best and scanned the negatives into my computer. These were then converted onto black and white and reverted into both positive and negative images. In order for me to explore which worked best during the cyanotype process. I found critically engaging with my environment through playful and experimental means helped influence my creative journey, it inspired me to develop my ideas further, from 2D to 3D. I almost viewed walking and recording as a way to unearth stories about the landscape around me.
ACTION RESEARCH: Testing ideas, peer group discussions, exhibitions, practice led research. I have also conducted field work throughout this module to inform my research and rate of study.
- Researching For, collecting source materials and acquiring techniques and skills to produce outcomes. (Gathering both primary and secondary research and attending workshops).
Drawings of various species of tree, Oak, Pine & Birch
I have demonstrated my development and progression through the presence of an online blog/WordPress. And visual progression is to be stored within sketchbooks and workbooks throughout the year as evidence. These will be coherent and available for referencing as and where necessary. I will also produce a thesis/reflective review alongside my online and visual documentations.
Methods of working: Studio work, printmaking workshops, research visits, trips to galleries and exhibitions, creative/critical writing, location drawing, fieldtrips, sketchbook development, WordPress, (Blog updates)
Outcomes: An A1 Research Poster, Thesis and series of prints or photographic works about forests and the threats they face regarding deforestation and climate change.
A1 Research Poster
ART723 Research Poster displaying The Environmental Impacts Of Deforestation on Forests within the united Kingdom: (Thetford Forest as my main point of interest), After the presentation I have printed the final draft out on paper sized A1.
These sketches were created from my initial drawings within my sketchbook (available on request) I then used the initial sketches to create a more in depth and detailed representation of the trees I was encountering whilst on placement and within the forest. Below you can see a fine line drawing of a twisted Oak tree and a tall pine tree. Created in fine biro and recycled cartridge paper.
Cyanotype on Wood Pieces displayed within the Forest
- Archival imagery of Thetford Forest 1946
- Identification tags and coloured spots
Cyanotypes & Identification Pieces
Whilst on placement at Thetford Forest, I took part in aiding Forestry England colleagues to tariff (take stock) of the species of tree within the forest. This included photographing, drawing and documenting the trees growth and comprising an in depth analysis of the changes compared to the year previous. I developed the idea of cataloging the species of tree in artwork form using the techniques of alternative photography and cyanotype. The idea developed after photographing the close up textures of each individual tree we were cataloging and printing them via the cyanotype process. I then blocked circular shapes out of the cyanotype to allow me to sketch/draw the tree in which the bark belonged too, creating an almost identification card for each species/Individual tree.
I also developed the idea of combining illustration and cyanotype processes together. By creating cyanotype backgrounds using found objects during my fieldtrips, I developed beautiful backgrounds to which I could then add to or develop into a final piece. Blocking out areas of the page using shapes such as circles and ovals inspired by the tree's rings and natural features. I then sketched and illustrated a design over the top of these backgrounds. These drawings were done on location, whilst in the countryside in order to capture their true beauty and natural perspective.
Burning and Destroying pieces
After creating the above pieces using the cyanotype process and illustration methods. I began thinking these pieces were unique and beautiful like the tress themselves, a true representation of the actual physical forms I was observing, so why were they being destroyed and deforested? and how could I portray this devastation within the artwork itself? I began creating art works in order to destroy them, whether this be by burning, cutting or ripping. In terms of creatively interpreting the research I wanted to create pieces which invoke emotions such as guilt by creating Id profiles of each species, capturing them with such beauty and elegance also narrates their story, their growth, informing my previous subject of the memoires they may contain so by destroying this narrative, this beauty invokes emotions. DESTROYING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL aspect.
Here, I have developed an idea in which I have taken the close up textures of Oak and Pine trees situated within Thetford Forest and created textured cyanotypes. I intended to showcase the individual textures of each tree as an almost finger print identification style. I mounted each piece individually in a circular frame to represent the circular tags found on the trees within the forest.
Here, I have created similar cyanotype pieces and framed them in a square 3D frame, I have enhanced the features of the cyanotypes by spraying dots of red spray paint over the surface. This represents the cataloging systems used by Forestry England whilst on Placement. Red equaling Oak.
During the easter break, I continued my placement within Thetford Forest for an extra week. Having engaged with several research methods and data collecting the previous week, I took the opportunity to really creatively respond to my environment and creatively reflect on my gathered research. I chose this opportunity to really reflect on the subjects of site and place and what the environment around me was conveying, regarding emotion, feeling, visual and other sensory responses. The place really opened up ideas and development within my creativity.
I reflected on my first week of placement, especially the days involving the processes of cataloguing and documenting the different species of trees. This reflection took form in many mixed media compositions. I developed a way of working in which captured the physical and textural elements of these trees. Developing an idea centered around the cataloguing and identification aspects of my placement. I began capturing the close up macro textures seen amongst the bark and roots of the subjects. These photographs were then used to create cyanotypes in which I later sketched and drew the tree in which the bark belonged too over the surface. I also experienced with spray paint in a way that reflected the marking process, undertaken during my placement. Red being marked for Oak Trees, Green used for Pine and Yellow used for Birch.
Concertina Booklet of Tree Textures
I developed an idea during the initial design stage of creating a booklet of forests/trees. After experimenting with the cyanotype process, (as stated above). I wanted to create this concept and achieved it by individually creating pages of the book by using my primary imagery as a starting point. These concertina booklets were created in response to my surroundings, by taking close up photographs of the trees texture I repeated the motif in a concertina style. My intention was too create a forest of textures. These was the outcomes.
Birds Of A Feather Collection
Initially created in the summer of 2022, these pieces titled ‘The Birds Of A Feather Collection’ were the inspiration for the majority of my pieces for this module, Including the Owl piece seen at the bottom of this page. The works Titled “Birds of A Feather” Cyanotypes 2022, depict several bird species found within Shropshire. These birds were sketched and recorded whilst on location in Shropshire. The same process was used and adapted to create the owl piece, depicting an Owl found within the vicinity of Thetford Forest. As an artist, I work hard to develop compositions that express my creative growth, focusing on subject matters that are personal to me and influential to my practice. Experimental techniques are also of interest to me, I like to push myself and learn new techniques as a form of progression and experience. In a way my art represents my personality. I create moody, and atmospheric pieces, that fill the viewer with a sense of real emotion. This obsession with atmosphere and form are prevalent in every form of art that I create.