Weekly Roundup 1

i. These weekly blog posts will serve as my 'reflective journal' during my two years studying at Camberwell. I will endeavour to post regularly and concisely about university as well as about exhibitions I've visited, articles I've read, even music I've listened to etc. in order to track my progress, record my thoughts and contextualise my practice. 

ii. We started the course with an induction to relief printing. I worked from a sketchbook drawing from the summer and made a reduction woodcut in four colours. The final state (just black and white) was a lot more striking on its own than on top of the cumulative layers. It was a brilliant introduction to the course and forced me to think differently and more decisively. I loosely based my mark-making on a beautiful Matisse woodcut that I recently saw at both the Ashmolean and the Royal Academy. In recent months I have made drawings, paintings, and monotypes that have seen my work become more graphic and bold. The woodcut could be a way to push this further.

 Henri Matisse,  Le Grand bois (The Large Woodcut),  1906, woodcut

Henri Matisse, Le Grand bois (The Large Woodcut), 1906, woodcut

  Becky in Orignac,  2017, woodcut

Becky in Orignac, 2017, woodcut

iii. I was lucky enough to see Chantal Joffe in conversation with Ishbel Myerscough at the Royal Drawing School. The two artists have documented their lives and friendship through self-portraits, portraits of each other and portraits of their children.

After seeing a display of these works together at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015, my work became more celebratory of the people around me and less angst-ridden. Joffe described a need for her portraits to be 'absolutely now or not at all'. Joffe's work shares a lot of the conventions of contemporary painting but feels poignant and earnest rather than striving to be cool. It was a privilege to listen to Joffe talk about her work and reassuring of the continuing relevance of portraiture.

 Chantal Joffe,  Self Portrait with Ishbel,  2014, oil on canvas

Chantal Joffe, Self Portrait with Ishbel, 2014, oil on canvas

 Chantal Joffe,  Esme by the Railings,  2014, oil on canvas

Chantal Joffe, Esme by the Railings, 2014, oil on canvas

iv. Each week all Camberwell MA students attend a series of talks by various multidisciplinary lecturers. Broadly speaking they are about research methods and how to balance/unify both creative and academic ways of working. Recurring advice has been not to delineate between practical making and academic reading and writing, but instead to think of it all as research. I'm really enjoying these lectures but am struggling to think of my work as a research project. I am using the MA to learn and explore technical processes, to question and improve my working methods and to investigate and test my work in a contemporary context. But what am I actually researching/hoping to find?