Feb 2016: month 2
What exactly are we looking at here? This is a double page mixed media piece inspired by ‘data’ in our A5 shared sketchbook, in response to a piece of work by my partner Elizabeth McDermott.
How many hours of work does this represent? It’s quite difficult to say because this page was sat open on my dining room table for several days. Whenever I had a spare 15 mins or so in between making my children tea or helping them with homework, I picked up a brush or pen and added a bit more; constantly tweaking and then standing back. As a busy parent, I rarely get extended periods of time to work on my pages, but I think that actually works really well for me.
What’s the initial idea behind it? I was really inspired by a wonderful page by my sketchbook partner which featured tape measures, bar codes and pins amongst other things. It immediately made me think of data and how much emphasis we place on measuring our students and ourselves. So many people are obsessed with numbers and meaningless data and I really wanted to explore the idea of using this to inform my thinking. The repeated and highlighted number 8s probably need little explanation, and the numbers on the page which appear without context, represent the data I’m often presented with on a daily basis.
Do you like it yet? (f not, when will you know if it’s a goer?) I changed my mind several times as I gradually filled up the page but am happy with the composition now, as this is the bit that I like to get right. I’ve tried to introduce a theme to develop further in later pages or run as parallel narrative which both of us can contribute to.
Does this pretty much represent your normal process? I love using mixed media in my work, and almost always start with an existing ‘found’ image – in this case I used imagery from an old Photographers Almanac from 1956; the developing tanks really reminded me of the Progress 8 ‘buckets’. I love to layer my work and build it up using different media, often by using a gesso base and then paint, coloured pencil or Posca pens on top.
How will you know it’s ‘done’? Again, this is tricky and is often the bit I struggle with most as it’s so tempting to keep adding layers and tweaking small areas. I often have to leave it for a day or two and then come back to it before I know that I’m done. However…I usually resort to asking my kids – they’re great at giving me their honest opinions!