Assignment 2 – A Collagraph

Assignment 2 – ” Happy Death”

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Happy Death – Collagraph on A3 manilla envelop

Assignment 2- Reflection

In preparation for Assignment two I kept sketching, brainstorming things that interests me at the moment. I started having some ideas for this Assignment while working on my collage exercise 2.4 “ Let’s say youth is timeless”. Turning 46 which means I am getting nearer to 50’ is something that frustrates me  but at the same time brings me a great sense of freedom and self assurance. It is a love/hate situation that I am going through in this phase of my life. The exercise 2.4 where I decided to use an old watercolour painting of a full moon, made me think of the feminine, womanhood, sexuality and ageing… After the collage work I wanted to come out with something on the same subject for my Assignment. I have sketched some cocoons because to me it symbolises a reborn, renovation, freedom. A process that starts a bit uglyish, but the outcome is surprisingly beautiful. Accepting ageing and a certain beauty that comes with maturity and self confidence brings that same kind of freedom a butterfly has when it comes out of the cocoon after a certain time of “introspection”, I must say. From cocoons, it turns out that images of Lotus flower and skulls popped out of my mind. Lotus flower for its symbology of something that comes out from a dark a muddy water to become straight, beautiful and proud. The Happy skull, known in Mexican culture for the celebration  “ The day of the dead” also made me think of ageing and eventually dying not as a sad and horrible thing. Death can be celebrated and beautiful! The skull usually holds the meaning of death in a scary and sad way. Skulls are usually morbid and harsh images, except the Happy ones from Mexico. I tried to combine these three elements: Cocoon, Lotus flowers and skulls in different spaces ,sizes and ways. In the end I thought that simplifying it for a single image would be a better idea. After all it is my first ever experience in Collagraphs and I wanted to make sure to build something clear and visually expressive. It took me sometime watching videos and figuring out which would be the best way to build my printing plate. Having to plan the images on negative ( what I wanted to be white and what to be imprinted in black) was not easy. I wanted a harmonious image but with texture and some drama in terms of colours. I wanted to have my Collagraph done in a way that I could add some counterpart media at the end, to bring out some details. I printed total of 12 images which only four of them resulted in what I feel are good collagraphs for a begginer. The initial plan was the main image of a happy skull, with a lotus flower in the forehead and the background of a natural environment with a few hanging cocoons. It turns out that my lotus flower looks like more some cannabis leaves and the cocoon never really appeared but all the texture of it worked well and the best part of a Collagraph is not being able to visualise for sure if the imprint will come out exactly as planned. I chose the image for Assignment of the one imprinted in Manilla envelope because it was a very unplanned move ,and trying unusual materials is something that is becoming a direction that I might take my art in the future. 

From My tutor Adam Thompson report  1 -pointers for Assignment 2

  • Incorporate cuttings, photos, scraps, alongside drawings, experiments and notes about things that inspire or interest you, add anything at all to your sketchbooks. Overtime, this will create a personalised and unique sketchbook with significant content that you will find an incredibly useful reference in the future.
  • Review your work so far and consider what you find the most successful, compare this to my feedback and reflect on your reasoning.
  • Continue developing the experimental techniques you have tried, push ideas to the fullest, exploring a range of materials, surfaces and sizes.
  • Allocate differing times to complete a drawing, test yourself to work quickly sometimes and then spend more time but with the same intensity at others.
  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Focus on your processes rather than final outcomes at this stage and continue to build confidence.
  • Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment, written or video call.

As a review of my pointers, I think I need to work more on my sketchbook. I tend to have a firm idea of what I want, I know I should explore it further, but usually I don’t change my mind hence the limited sketches of work. I am trying to be more experimental, I want to take more risk and it is true that it takes courage and confidence. The colagraph was a good way of working more in the process rather than the outcome, it helped me focus less on the results and enjoy more  building it. I underline the points that I think I have succeed this time. I will keep reminding myself on Assignment 3.

Katia Chester Report 2