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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Artist: Richard Slee

Richard Slee (b. Cumbria, UK, 1946) studied at Carlisle College of Art & Design (1964-65) and studies ceramics at the Central School of Art & Design (1965-1970). He graduated with an MA at the Royal College of Art (1988). In 2000 Richard Slee completed a major commission for Sculpture at Goodwood, and in the following year was awarded The Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for his contribution to contemporary ceramics. Slee lives and works in London
Selected group and solo shows include Studio Voltaire (UK), Object Gallery (Australia), Hales Gallery (London), National Museum (Sweden), Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), World Ceramic Centre (Korea) and The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art (Norway).  His work was included in the well-received show, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 (2011-12), Victoria & Albert (London). Slee's work is represented in numerous collections world-wide, including British Council (UK), Corcoran Museum of Art (New York), Washington Museum of Art and Design (US) and Victoria & Albert Museum (London).

The colour of his work fascinates me. It is really recognisable that his work has well-finished shape, with lush and high-gloss glaze, cutesy characters, and a feeling of innocence, but weirdness. The forms and colours of his work are animated that reminds me Disney, childhood, and candy floss. 

I want to create a colourful fantastic landscape for the aquarium. However, I could not decide should I make the landscape realistic or more abstract. And for my recent pieces, there is a similarity between the form and colour we used that I could learn something from his work.

I really like the uneven texture on his work. To take the image above as an example, the texture on the tree gives the work more detail, and allow the glaze to have some changes.  And since the texture is under the glaze, so it remain as a whole with the rest of the work.

Compared to his work, my piece was not applied a layer of transparent glaze after painted with underglaze. Partly because I like matt finish. But after firing, the finish of the underglaze looked like it was not fired. Besides, matt surface will be covered by algae easier, which looks horrible on candy floss like colour, than the work with glaze on, but harder to be cleaned. I am planning to use glaze next time.

Further reading:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Form testing - Clouds and Rain Drops 2

This piece, like the previous porcelain one, is a piece that inspired by Leon Bakst's costume design.

During the time, I found difficulty in moving further on this theme. I have been suggested perhaps it would be better to find inspiration in raw materials, rather than people's work. I was not sure if this is true, but I did get stuck.

In the every beginning, I was deeply attracted by Leon Bakst's work. But the more I saw,  the more I realised that I only like a small part of them. So that could be very limited inspiration. Not to mention, there is no reference that might support my work. Because the motivation I did this work was simply the admiration to his work. It was hardly a theme, which was about detailed visual effect, more like a branch of the whole concept of my work.

 It is not saying that it is impossible to go down this way. It might be a nice starting point, like Vincent's work. But I just felt something went wrong.

So when I made this piece, I was in the middle of wondering what should I do next. I decided to make something based on what I had, and see whether there was a possibility. At the same time, do not let my hand get rusty.

For the clay, I used terracotta. It is a material that much easier than porcelain. It is stronger and has good plasticity. This piece was slab-build, because I found I had less patience and control in coiling. The little thrones on the body was a sudden idea, which was made by a metal tube for making hole. I found these thrones are lovely. Until now I could not decide whether I should glaze the work, since the thrones might disappeared. 

I did follow my sketch to make this piece. It turned out quite differently though. In the end, I like the back of it rather than the side designed to be in the front.

It should be nice to put this piece in a square tank that slightly bigger than it. Not long or big tank, in that case, it would be like a pure decor rather than a small land. Or put the piece in a square tank that only has half height of it would be nice, then there would be half in the water and half above, like a island.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Morley College - Watercolour & Ceramic Course 4

It is delightful to find out that I had some progress in watercolour. I am more confident in using brush and paints, and according to our teacher, I gradually know what I am doing.

Apart from the class once a week, I also did some practice at home.

Here is our teacher showing us how to do a watery effect.

I love the fluffy, soft edges and the clean colour she painted. This is a simple demonstration, but I can feel her control and casualness. There is a huge distance between us, across time. Wish there is one day that I can paint like this. 

Here she showed how to use the colour from one side to give the shape of the other side, like sky and snow mountain.

Here are some colour charts of varied types of watercolour paints.

The following images are other students' work. Most of them are elder people. Even each course lasts for about 6 weeks, they have been here for many years, doing what they like and making friends.

They are not literally skilful, but I found their paintings are inspiring and beautiful. There is a sort of joyfulness and peace inside. I always found that I try to cover all of the paper that there is no breathing space in the end, becoming stiff. Even the way I use my brush is full of stiffness. I wonder why. Even I consciously want to change the way I paint, it seems not really helpful.

Because I keep painting icebergs and snow mountains, our teacher showed me this work. I think it is amazing, especially the way that mountain and grass in the front were painted. The brush stokes are so vivid, and the shape, size and direction of the stokes are just at the place they should be. My practice is far less than enough.

Here are some work I did.

Saunders Waterford 190g, cold pressed (Not)
Our teacher recommended these two paper to me, since I want to achieve the water wash feeling and have the watery edge. I feel more satisfied about the colour in these two work than the work before. Especially, I like the subtle colour in the sky, and the comparison between the strong orange and blue. I also tried to use some casual brush strokes to give some energy to the work. Which worked to some extend, but I think the brush strokes on the back of the mountain in the work below are a bit too strong. However, in a way, these stokes give a sense of how the mountain turn, from one side to another.

Saunders Waterford 300g, hot pressed ( needs to be wetted on both sides, otherwise hard to wash.
For the following two yellow,  I used a sponge to paint them instead of brush. And I deliberately did not put on my glasses, trying to get a overall effect.

I enjoyed using sponge, because there is more playfulness inside. Comparing these two, the one above has better volume, while the one below has better colour. The colour above is too strong.

I painted the one above later than the one below. I was suggested that for the side of the mountain, I can paint across the surface instead of following the line of the mountain,which gives it more volume.

This bowl was the one I made in the first class, now after firing, it looks like this. I quite like this rusty rough surface. People think it gives a feeling of antique.

The following images show our teacher's demonstration of throwing.

push forward and press to push it down. 

push it inwards to pull it up.

Open it.

pull it up and to the centre.

Then pull it up. Keep the inner finger higher than the finger outside. Use fingers push against the clay and form an 'S' on the clay body.