Studio 606

New academic year, new white space. I spent a week last semester painting the walls and scrubbing the floor of 606, in preparation for the previous 4th years degree show, so it’s only fitting I should inherit the studio.

Here it is, my new canvas.

I’ve moved some stuff in now. The addition of some collected objects and a pot of coffee has it suddenly feeling more ‘Rachael’. Last week was a bit lacking in productivity on account of 21st birthday related excitement. It was a fantastic week otherwise though. And following that high I’m now ready to make a start with the semester.

I find it easier to think about my stuff when I isolate and arrange my objects into compositions. Things look better when they’re displayed more formally, objects begin to become artworks when they stop being used for their original purpose, so I spent today putting shelves up and playing.

This is what I do.

I’m not completely consumed by any one idea yet but I have that exciting feeling that I’m onto something.

Things I’m thinking about:

Empty jewellery boxes

Old spectacles

Collecting information


Obsessive sentimentality

Hyper recording of data


Make of that what you will. There’s a lot of little ideas floating around, I just need to grab and develop them.


The Push

Deadlines are approaching. Sometimes the panic becomes a background thing and all thats felt is a drive to finish. It’ll get done, because it has to. This past week I’ve probably done the work I’d normally do in 3 weeks. I’ve been up before 9 every morning and have been staying in uni til around 7. And it feels good. The capsules themselves took a while to make so its good to get onto more resolved work.

This was basically my blank canvas at the start of last week. It was a little bit daunting, the prospect of having to actually do something creative with these perfect circles I’d made. I was feeling a little precious about ruining them, which isn’t a feeling I often get in my artwork. I usually enjoy the ‘happy accidents’ and the unpredictability of experimentation. I managed to overcome the fear anyway.

Inside each box is a variety of typed text, assorted found objects, and histological images. Quite the mix. The objects range from some shells and an old boot picked up on Musselburgh beach last Winter, to some spent matches of my Grandpas, refound in our garage over summer. This variety links back to the mix of articles found in those old encyclopoaedias I read over summer, and also to the patchwork way our minds work. I like the way memory works, keeping fragments of events and giving seemingly unimportant things signifficance. I think the theme of memory and this idea of remnants of things lost, creeps up a lot in my work.

The histological images are courtesy of my friend Scott and his uni studies. I like that to me they’re pretty and look like planets but theres this whole other importance and relevance to human life that lingers. It seems to work with the layering of theme and different aspects of knowledge I’ve got throughout this project.

One of my six in-progress capsules. Still a bit rough in terms of finish but I’ve got the objects installed and the lighting pretty much sorted, so its on its way.

Bring on assessment, I guess.



Roiiight. So, with all this circular box making kerfuffle (isn’t that a fun word?), the Undiscovered Landscape module hasn’t seen quite as much attention as necessary. However, its not too late and it will get done – because it has to.

I’m looking at a similiar concept for this project, how context changes perception. So I’ve bought this old Art Deco wardrobe and I’m hoping to incorporate some really simple image into it. I want it to centre around something as simple as an ordinary tree on the street, something we see every day. But I can make it beautiful (I hope), by giving it a stage, and encasing it for others to view. I can make people think about something they’d otherwise walk past.

This is all very vague right now, too vague right now. Clearly as the picture indicates bellow, theres a lot of procrastination surrounding this project. Sometimes thats okay, but I’m hoping for a ‘click’ in the next couple of days.

I actually do like to sit and think in here. Something about small spaces makes me feel safe. If this project doesn’t progress this week it really is just going to end up a performance artwork with me sulking in a small wardrobe.


Half-Blood Prince

It’s nice to take a break from having a set project. I always keep a sketchbook with me, simply just to doodle random thoughts and images into. It’s more casual than a sketchbook really, a sketchbook is a tool of research for something greater. My doodlebook  just lets me express whatevers going on in my head.

Today, it was Harry Potter. Usually I’d be one of those people that queue up at midnight to see Harry Potter as soon as it comes out. I’ve been disorganised this time round, I think my enthusiasm faded a bit with the long wait for this movie. But I’ll be seeing it at the imax tomorrow. Yay 🙂

I found myself doodling Albus when i was supposed to be tidying my room. Just a ten minute sketch with my favourite liner pen. My Dumbledore’s based on the Richard Harris portrayal. Gambon never really seemed right to me, too aggressive. Though in the book of the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore becomes more serious, so maybe Gambon will be more suited in this film.

American Street Scene

For Advanced Higher Art this year, part of the course was to research an artist that worked with similiar themes to yourself. Noone was really enthusiastic about this aspect of the course, but I actually found it quite worthwhile. Edward Hopper was my chosen artist. Hopper focuses a lot on windows in his work, using them to influence the mood of the piece. After studying a variety of his paintings, I dug out some pictures I’d taken in America and tried to mimic his realistic style.

This was a very early study, probably started around September last year, it wasn’t finished for a while after that. There are still parts of the stairs leading up to the door that are incomplete. This study is very controlled and realistic, the red bricks in particular are very detailed. However, I soon developed the street scene into a looser style, using the paint more freely and being less precise with the finer details.

For this quick paint study I applied a base coat of dark green acrylic to work on top of. I find this is the best way to work, a white background isnt good to work on top of, so i always apply a base of colour. I had more fun doing the quick, loose painting than the realistic detailed painting, it’s more suited to my style and works out being more effective.

The final part of the project was a larger painting, with loose brushstrokes and vivid colours. The colour palette of this was changed so often. It was very warm to start with, yellows and oranges. But it just didn’t feel right. After spending a period of art basically moaning at the painting for ‘not working with me’ it just kind of fell into place. Purple was the answer. I’d been trying to stay away from colder colours after realising that almost half of my porfolio was done in blues. But the colder purples and blues work well here framing the red of the middle door and contrasting with the surrounding  green.

I’m happy with this piece and the final colour scheme. There are small parts in particular that I like, such as the textured pavement or the main window at the front, with the drips of watery paint running down it. I enjoyed working on this piece and I think it was a significant part of my folio.