Rose Tinted Lenses (and Couch Wet Floor)
This is for my degree in Fine art.
My work is split in two; the first being a space I would view as homely and turned upside down to mimic how I read written text, and the second being an everyday object that is overlooked and changing it ever so slightly, then taking photos of it in many different places.
The development of my art, in this first part, is based around certain aspects of my dyslexia. I read printed text upside down most of the time and with a pink background to help me; read quicker, more accurately and more fluent. I created an upside-down room, inspired by the comfort of my home. The paintings are based off of paintings my parents own but are painted through my interpretation and a filter of pink, while also making my own paints and colour pallet being inspired by my dissertation topic.
The second part of my work is a continuation from 3rd year and my misspelling of the word "cautious" as "couches". I have taken this mistake and applied it to an object seen daily but that is ignored, a wet floor sign. This helped me describe and show people how easily I must second guess what I read because of how much my dyslexia effects my everyday life. They have also been documented in a family photo album style for where else they have been in Scotland.
Edited by Aimee MacIntosh (Instagram linked in "Travelling Signs")
Rose Tinted Lenses
This is an insolation to give the feeling of a room whether a bed room, studio or living room. This is based off my mum and dads living room with the paintings being studies/inspired by paintings in my parents’ home.
This is made upside down as it is a common occurrence for me to read printed text upside down as I find it helps me read more efficiently and remember the information better as to the 'correct' way to read. Reading upside down also means I don't have to deal with my visual stress or dyslexia as much with how they distort printed text.
The paintings where painted upside down (me sitting right way round and the painting being painted the wrong way round) to keep with the theme that I read most written text upside down. The painting is either interpretations of paintings in my living room or inspired by paintings in my living room. The cave and trailer paintings where originally painted by the same person who was a family friend, Fraser, and the tulip painting is inspired by the artist Alison Dunlop and her painting of a lily.
The cave is St. Columba's in Argyll and trailer is Fraser’s old home as he lived in the gypsy trailer on the Crinan canal, in the Argyll and Bute area. The original painting of St. Columba's cave is painting with rich blues and green to help with the feeling of the Aurora Borealis, which can be seen on occasion from areas in Argyll and Bute. The painting of the gypsy trailer is full of greens as there is thick plant cover and the trailer itself was painted a grass green hiding it into the landscape.
The tulip painting is inspired by an Alison Dunlop painting of a lily my parents own, with the colours of the painting being tones of grey and blue. While the Alison Dunlop painting has a single lily, I paint with three tulips because of something my mum likes to talk about. On her wedding ring is three small diamonds, one for me and one for each of my siblings.
The plan proposal drawing for how I the idea of how the room might look like;
The paints, canvas boards and process
For my dissertation I was writing about the development of how pigments have changed (mainly for paints), leading me to make the paints used to paint with. The pink was made with Rembrandt paints and for areas needing a stronger white, Rembrandt white oil paint was used (only for oil painting as I found it difficult to mix the right ratio of pigment to binder for white). The paintings began with a pink background because of the pink tinted glasses I wear for my dyslexia and visual stress. The limited colour palette on top is inspired by my research looking at Cave Art and Aboriginal Art as some of the art styles and types.
The gesso base for the paintings uses RSG (Rabbit Skin Glue) mixed with whiting. The canvas boards took 3 days to make and gessoed. The first day for the MDF board to stick to the frame. The second day to put RSG down without any whiting in it, covering all of it, sizing the surface, and the third day spent putting around 10 layers of RSG (with whiting) on, then to a mix between leaving, sanding and polishing the surface.
The oil painting has been sanded, polished and re-sized. The sanding and polishing to give it a smooth surface with little to no texture to paint on and the sizing to seal it and prevent oil form the paint seeping through. Before painting this painting, I have never used oil paints, because of this and knowing how expensive linseed oil can be to paint with, I substituted it with walnut oil (an historical substitute). The paints I started off with where very thin and thinned further.
The water colour has been sanded and polished, as I am used to using water colour on paper with little surface texture. The gesso base is reactive to water, it can have the previous painting washed away. I found when I originally painted the pink base that some colours stain the base easily. Specifically, the Rembrandt Pink I used and the Nickle yellow I made. When looking closely there is small traces of painting attempts that I washed away but left a stain. Another thing I learned while using water colour on this surface is that the colours sit more on the gesso then paper, following a short wait dry very quickly.
The tempera is painted on a surface that hasn't been sanded, nor polished or sized. I have hated painting with this media as it dries remarkably fast. The paint I made, had a translucency to it form not putting in much pigment, acting more like a glaze, and even with a lot of pigment there is still a level of opacity to it.
Each painting was painted with the reference image the right way round and painting my paintings upside down (Me sitting the right way round but trying to paint them the wrong way round). Due to never working with oil paint before, I did a few studies to try and help get the grasp of mixing and painting with oil. The studies are for couples figure skaters dancing/preforming, I choose to use figure skaters as a starting point because of two reasons. The first being that because of the moves and positions can create lots of tone change in their clothes and the second being that the positioning of people can be difficult, give the hope that it would help in my drawing ability to be more accurate what paint upside down.
The paints used
- For the largest of my paintings, I made oil paint with synthetic pigments (as was safer and more easily sourced) mixed with walnut oil as it can be used as an alternative to linseed oil and costs less. There is more oil in the paints I made compared to store bought oil paint (due to never using it before and thinning further to make the base colour layers).
- The paintings of tulips were painted in watercolour made with synthetic pigments and premixed binder for watercolour paints.
- The final painting is done with a mix of tempera made with egg white, egg yolks, and a mix of both egg white and yolk, paired with the same synthetic pigments for the oil and watercolour paints.
Gesso base for paintings
- The base is not vegan or vegetarian friendly as it is made with rabbit hide glue. There are about 10 layers a painting to give it a solid background colour, then each at various levels of texture, from not being smoothed out (left with paint brush texture), to being smooth (sanded with wet and dry paper then polished with a damp cloth).
- Charcoal (for oil painting and tempera painting)
- Zinc white
- Raw umber
- Burnt umber
- Caput mortuum
- Nickle azo yellow
- Cadmium red deep
- Whiting (gesso base)
Rembrandt colours used
-Titanium white (105)
-Permanent madder medium (395)
The installation on this piece came with a few obstacles; how to hang a couch upside down, how to get books to stay on an upside down shelf, and how to pick which paints/prints to have in the installation.
How to get a couch upside down
- This was both difficult and easy, a normal couch with a solid wooden frame would be easy to attach by drilling it directly to the wall. However, this is not cost effective as couches aren't cheep or light, so to solve this I thought of an inflatable chair I had when I was younger. It solves the issues of weight and cost, but causes the issue of how to attach it to the wall.
- To solve this, a wooden frame was made and two sturdy metal brackets. This removing the issue of how to get it upside down for the most part. The next part of how to attach the couch to the frame, glue is an option but is permanent and stops it being useable after. Leading to the making of a cover for it, the cover acts of a 'camouflage' for the couch to remove the idea that it is an inflatable couch.
How to get books to stay on an upside down shelf
- Knowing that the books would have to be secured to the shelf or wall some how, creating a frame seemed like a good option as it removes making and/or destroying books. The frame is designed specifically for a select group of books that I had bought in for writing my dissertation with. The metal frame is made with 2mm thick sheet metal, then cut, bent and welded to the desired shape and size, and attached to the shelf.
- Once attached the small shelfs used to hold the books stood out to much, in order to hide it, the parts not needed to be seen where spray painted white (which was painted over to match the wall colour to stay camouflaged). With the books on it this hides them very well and the pieces on the sides look like book ends helping distract form what is being hidden.
How to pick which paintings/prints to have in the installation
- Picking the painting to use was fiddly, as my home is full of paints, some more important than others. So, I picked ones that make my living room feel like home and hold importance to me.
First being an Alison Dunlop painting of a lily
The second be a close family friend's home (who is sadly gone)
The last being a paint of St. Columba's cave, found not too far from Lochgilphead, durning an aurora borealis (Painted by the same person who is sadly gone).
- These painting have a very different colour palette to the one I have choosen to go with. The paintings are predominantly blue's, green's and grey's where as I have taking the rose tint from my glasses and simiar colour palette to cave art and Aboriginal art.
On the coffee table is non of my work, the party hat cat was by a friend and the sketches are for my granpa. The reason for my granpa's working being there is because he never got to study art and I was hopping it have my degree show and graduation with him present. Unfortunately however, this couldn't happen as he passed while in I was still in high school.
My granpa is my biggest inspiration when it comes to art, he was always drawing if he wasn't taking me, my siblings or cousins on some day trip. When I was ten, he gave me tips on drawing birds and flowers (Tulips specifically) and taught me about what art sells in the art world. Around the same age, I made a painting for him and my granma, as he was very proud, when his small art community was holding an exhibition, he had it placed in it.
When he passed I got some of his sketch books, loose drawing, a landscape painting and materials he used to make art. So, in order to bring him to my degree show, I've brought his art, so that he is there in sentiment even though he has been gone for a long time.
Handmade Watercolour palette and Oil palette
The left side of the watercolour palette is paints I have made.
These are my studies for using oil paint (6 x 10 inches)
Applying the RSG
Alison Dunlop's lily painting
St. Columba's Cave
My paintings inspired by these paintings
Tulips (30 x 30 cm)
Fraser's Gypsy Trailer (30 x 30 cm)
This is a Land of Con-Fuscia (St. Columba's Cave) (40 x 60 cm)
Upside down shelf
Couch Wet Floor
This part my work is about taking something that is an everyday object that is overlooked and that can be recognised with a quick glance. While it is very rare that I miss read "caution" or "cautious", I can't spell them in the slightest, relying on siri or family/friends to help. With the same being said for having conversations with them but with the hope they can understand what I have written (or typed) for them. Like with many words I found my attempts at spelling very amusing, a few my misspellings of cautious are; caughtouse, cotshos, coutishos, coatshos, coshouse, coathouse, couches, cotious, cogtious, catious. When reading them out loud, the misspellings almost sound like the right spelling, this is because most are taught to read, write and spelling using the system called "phonics", splitting words up based on their syllables. This works for many people but with my dyslexia it did not and has not helped, in cases like this made it worse and much more amusing.
So in taking that I got the word "couches" form an attempt to spell "cautious“, so many times in a row, the idea to change a wet floor sign happened. Starting with just changing the word, then to having the falling person on a couch because it is the perfect lazing position they have with the designed. I did get some help form friends in some of designing signs and taking the photos of them. I have linked there Instagram's in the travelling sign’s section.
The with the development of the edited sign, came the want to make more and change there look more. Leading one sign to become 4, then to keep growing to the 30 currently in my possession. With these signs, the progression to taking photos of them in places they should and shouldn't be became an interesting concept. This got split into 2 sections; 1st - taking the signs around the university to take photos of them but also look for places where there may be for during the degree show, and 2nd - taking one with me everywhere to see where they end up for photos. Even after this project I plan on continuing to take these signs places and take photos of them in interesting places.
For changing them, the original design in some areas in some areas needed to be removed. To remove the triangle and the word "caution" is done with isopropanol or paint remover and a bit of scrubbing. To paint the new design on, a template is made and cut out (some signs need a different designs because of being painted differently), spray paint is the easiest way to get it to match the original design. It goes on easily, colours don't need to be mixed up each time and paint more quickly.
Some of the signs used where made or altered by friends that I share a studio with for studying, they also helped take photos of/with the signs and for that I am very grateful. These people where Nathan Price, Aimée MacIntosh and Ronnie Wood.
The making of the signs
The way the templates where made changed as I bought more signs. It started off as tracing the original design on acetate, followed by using a light box to make the new design on a piece of paper. To transfer the new design, masking tape was drawn on to, placed on the sign, then cut out. Black or red spray paint was used to fill the masking tape design.
This is not the most efficient way, as the more signs I bought the longer it took. Removing the old design can take upwards of 10 minutes for a single one, so I moved on to making a cardboard template to spray the couch on. This helping to shorten the time but still using masking tape for the lettering.
For the last 10 or so, I made a lettering template (cardboard as well) to help cut time of making them further. This sped time up as multiple could be sprayed at once, left to dry, flipped over, then sprayed again.
This gave the chance to be more creative with colouring, uniformity and design. Allowing them to be more clean cut or messy, colourful or with a completely different design.
I have 4 signs that are the most different. The first being one that says "couch dry floor" inspired by a friend after accidently removing the word "wet". The second being one designed a friend that specialises in making comics. The third was a more collaborative piece between me and a friend who's art is inspired by making art in an unplanned and uncontrolled manner with spray paint. The final inspired by a friend who is an amazing photographer that has this year worked with spray paint in order to make there photographs.
The signs in degree show
For my degree show I place 30 of signs around the DJCAD building (one being in disability serves), having them in areas common for wet floor signs or uncommon places. The placement of my signs are to be visible and invisible at the same time, people ignore the normal and familiar, therefore changing it ever so slightly cause double takes and the need to question what you have seen.
Living with my dyslexia I have to second guess everything I read, recreating what I experience everyday helps show how difficult it can be to know that you can't trust your own abilities and that you just cannot improve quickly or even at all.
Traveling Signs is about taking my wet floor signs from the normal setting of a normal wet floor sign and either camouflaging it into the back ground where you double take what it says or taking it into the situation of a family/friend situation and how those kind of photos are taken. In doing this it is making fun of my dyslexia and using that to show how much it effects my everyday life and taking the context out of it completely.
It is an experimental idea done on a whim, where I mopped the floor and used my wet floor signs to mark off the wet area. This is a video idea that I may develop further down the line as I am not a 100% happy with it but feel like it has potential.
Signs in degree show
Traveling Signs Favourites
These are my favourites images of the signs taken, the rest are in "Traveling Signs" https://www.michaelcordinerart.com/travelling-signs