About my work
Catch-22: Yossarian Ink, Gouache and Watercolour Dec '17
This project was inspired by the book Catch-22, and its main character Yossarian. I wanted to capture Yossarian's personality and attitude in a piece of artwork, which developed into a project.
I used the largest amount of references I think I've ever used for a single face, because I wanted to achieve authenticity from both the historical period and also his Assyrian heritage.
This first version was my initial polished sketch, where I used crosshatching to give a rough and rugged effect associated to his character and situation. The expression that I chose is a mix of determination and anger on one half, combined with slight paranoia, sadness and despair in the other.
This second version was where I pulled away from 'realistic' colours and form and experimented with a more expressive stance. I decided to emphasise and express the emotions that I mentioned above, not only through the colours, but also through my brushstrokes. The blue has a suggestion of tears, whereas the red has drier, rough brushstrokes like scratches to show injury and violence. Because these emotions are intertwined and not separate, I let them merge into a strong and symbolic purple.
In my final version, I returned to more realistic colours, but still continued with the symbolism. The sky blue represents patriotism and false optimism, which is shown as often being misleading throughout the book. I used this in Yossarian's aviator goggles, to show how he was expected to be patriotic in his military role, and how this clouded the vision of many soldiers.
In his eyes, where I also used the colour, the red of tears and pain is taking over. This red also draws your eye to his expression. The brown/skintone stains mimic the sepia photos of the time, and are also possibly similar to dried bloodstains.
This series was a really rewarding challenge for me, and pushed me to explore and experiment while keeping true to the context of Catch-22.
Event Horizon Gouache and Acrylic Nov '17
This is an idea which I have explored before, with my character of a dying astronaut. I used different elements to suggest a story, by including tears and a skull, but to also give the viewer freedom to imagine the character and story behind the picture.
The most challenging part was painting the visor, because there is a very fine line between obscuring the face completely and not being obvious enough. Using acrylic gloss did help this when next to the matte background, but it doesn't show up well on the scan photo.
Victim Mixed Media Nov '17
I focused on the theme of war in this piece. Using a chaotic, ripped and textured background created a sense of chaos and destruction. To emphasise the distress of the figure, I used colour only in the eyes and lips, so that your eyes are drawn to the expression.
I experimented with a variety of different textures, including ripped pages and grains mixed into the paint.
Free Will Acrylic Nov '17
After reading a fair amount on philosophy recently, I wanted to express this area through painting. It's a confusing area for me, because at first I think 'of course I have free will!', then doubts begin to emerge.
I chose to have the controlled hand in black and white, because for me, a life without freedom would be monotonous and dull, full of black and white absolutes. The hand that has destroyed its puppet strings is colourful, showing how free will leads to vibrance in life, but also to pain and distress. I wanted to raise the idea that free will has led to horrible results, but at the end of the day, a life fully controlled would not be life.
Whether we have free will or not, we should enjoy what we think we have.
Untitled Gouache Oct '17
This portrait is based off a photo which caught my eye. I kept thinking about the expression on the photo and how I'd love to try and capture the personality in the photo.
Using gouache allowed me to gradually build up layers, which is very important for skin. I chose to use a realistic colour palette to express the life in the face, and it also meant I could create very contrasting eyes to hold a viewer's attention. I wanted to create the kind of painting that stares back at you.
During the painting of this, I developed my attention to face detail, such as skin folds, wrinkles and roughness. It helped me to understand more about the face and skin, which was incredibly interesting to pay more attention to.
Concealed Gouache Oct '17
I find the theme of disguise very interesting, since it has an almost contradictory outcome - when an artist deliberately hides something, attention is drawn to it, and often more can be interpreted from that than from the original.
To make sure the hand was obvious enough, I used a contrast of warm flesh colours where I wanted to reveal skin, and cool tones for the inanimate cloth. Instead of using black for the shadows, I used dark blue to keep the cloth from being too dark.