Masters Project 2018 / 2019

Methodology - source material

Here are some photographs of gathering information from the landscape sites, and some work in progress. The work was made in Whaingaroa Raglan, and on Mount Taranaki in 2018


Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London

Expanded Field of Drawing

13th-31st August 2018

 I arrived in London after 27 hours travelling, and was a bit spaced out and sleep deprived.  I’m so excited to be here in London to study at the Slade, see old friends, make new ones, see lots of art, go to Paris and Italy to see art, eat food, and do some hiking.  After being so welcomed by Rachel, Callum, Gabriel, Alba, and Nell, I was all refreshed to start at the Slade.  There are 18 of us from all over the world on the course, and the first morning was a lot of introductions and getting familiar with what was in store for us.  We became a bit like a big family, and it became an enriching time for me to connect with and make art alongside these people for three weeks. Here’s a bit of a rundown of what I did on the course

Ours tutors were Jim Hobbs (moving image), Flore Nove-Josserand (painting),Max Holdaway (sculpture),Visiting artist Tracey Whitehead (previous EFD student),and people who are masters students and artists in residence at the Slade.

Blind drawings with Jim.  On the first day we sat in a room blindfolded and passed each other random objects, then drew them for one minute each.  We did this for an hour and I filled up a workbook with drawings.  Then we made self portraits, with eyes closed we used one hand to feel our faces/heads, and the other to draw for about 45 minutes.  The results were beautiful studies.

16mm film with optical sound with Jim.  We worked with black and clear film as well as found footage, and spliced, scratched, cut, stuck detritus to, to disrupt the optical sound.  The marks produced the sound.  We thought about the chronology of images at 24 frames per second, projection and scale, use still images through OHP, and how images make sound.  My first film loop had some nice sounds that had a beat going, so I made a second film that focused on a repeating musical beat.  Immediacy, repetition and rhythm. 

Digital drawing with Flore.  We found our way through the rabbit warren of the dungeons of the Slade to the scanner room, and I worked with Maria to experiment with moving found objects like a chux cloth, sponge, screwed up paper to test out the capabilities of the scanner.  I moved things across the surface with the lid up, lid down, changed the pace of the movement, brought objects up close and far away.  I liked the process of not knowing what the image would turn out like, and not having control over that, I think it produced fresh images.

Journey drawings with Jim.  On the second day we had an assignment to make five drawings about journey.  I walked around the surrounding streets and photographed intersections in the pavement or road, then digitally altered them and printed as small square photographs and arranged them overlapping on the wall; took paper pressings of architecture on a walk around the UCL campus; walking drawing on a large consatina book when walking around a park close to the Slade.

Sculptural workshop with Max Holdaway.  He prepared a table full of everyday materials – A4 computer paper, corrugated card, all types of paper, packaging… and he demonstrated all kinds of ways to manipulate them to change their character.  I loved doing this workshop, it was fascinating to see everyday materials be changed to something completely different.  I took corrugated card and peeled it until it took on a fluffy airy kind of form, others wet card or paper and re-moulded it.  Then we took a material and made a sculpture in our studio spaces, I used newsprint to make a floating sculpture using two walls and the floor.

We used a Flatbed camera to make a publication which the Slade now has in its archives. We had a group exhibition at the end of the course.  It was good to see all our work together in one space.  I worked on a lot of layered paintings for the last few days, and Max and Jim helped me to arrange them on the wall. We visited some dealer galleries (Sadie Cole, Blain Southern, Spreuth Magers, White Cube) to see what was on. 

I had made an appointment with the Tate to view some of JMW Turner’s workbooks, so when the afternoon came I made my way there and sat in a room where the books were brought out to me, and leafed over by the assistant who worked there.  I wanted to see what his sketchbooks were like, they are about 200 years old, so it was fascinating to see books that old, and I was interested by the volume of watercolour sketches he made.  I also saw some of Peter Doig’s small etchings – they were beautiful, and small.  They worked well small, really well.  I’d like to see some of his paintings because they are really large – and to see how both scales work so well.

Another geographical adventure I had was when I took a trip to Atlantis in South Hackney to get some art supplies.  It was harrowing not only because it was complicated to get there, but also my phone was running out of battery and I was worried that I wouldn’t find my way home!  Google maps and the LFL website were helpful to navigate the underground, overground and walking the streets to get there at 5pm rush hour!  When I arrived there was 20 minutes to closing so I power shopped to my heart’s content.

How I will feed learnings from this experience into my masters project

Experimenting with expanded approaches to drawing will enhance my painting I think. I’ve learned to broaden my thinking around the function of drawing as an immediate method to capture thought. Pushing myself to work with other mediums and process has been good for me, and I want to continue to do this back in my painting practice. I feel like a rubber band that has been stretched so wide, and now my capacity has grown.

I also enjoyed working alongside others who are also pushing their artistic boundaries, it creates an environment of trying and failing, learning and frustration, and overall it is fun and there is a sense of community.

What I may bring into my methodology:

I’d like to practice more walking drawings on the sites I’m working with; use of projecting images to generate new imagery; push wider with painting methods, techniques, and materials to find new results.



Amanda Watson_journey drawing_new Zealand contemporary art