Distorted figures and the visceral quality of paint.

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the imagery for this piece was inspired by Paula Regos’ work. As I have mentioned earlier, I realised that I wanted to capture human form as the imagery would contain much more of a narrative. I felt since Cezanne’s landscapes were so isolated and void of humanity and I was so excited by documenting the busy culture of Marrakech I thought i could apply what I have learnt from Cezanne’s landscapes to depicting the human form. Still focused on his ideas of achieving the truth in visual experience, and the truth of experiencing perspective.

I was inspired by Rego because the female characters in her work have an extremely raw and animalistic quality but are also very strong and powerful, i find the combination very exciting. To represent this I used a distorted contraposto pose and enlarged aspects of the body like the feet and knees. I wanted to portray movement in the figure in the same way that Cezanne would make art and life the same. I used conflicting viewpoints to an extremely exaggerated degree and played with the visceral quality of paint, I added some spectrogel and with a loaded brush I started to paint as if my medium was flesh. I believe the tonal modulation of colour succeeds in suggesting a solid figure but the fluidity of the paint gives a sense of traced movement


Final piece of the shaped canvas project


the imagery for this piece is inspired by Cezanne’s still life studies, however I have exaggerated the distortion of angles that can be seen in Cezanne’s paintings in order to push a more cubic quality. This is most obvious in the legs of the table, we see much more of the leg than what would be visible from one perspective, as if our eye is moving around the objects, the fact that the canvas is shaped not only makes this distortion more obvious but also creates a more three dimensional quality which helps make the painting look truer to reality.

5 key points of contextualisation

Here are the five key point of contextualisation that have had a direct and profound influence on my practice,






Key points of documentation

I chose to create a body of work in response to Cezanne’s ‘Francois zola Dam’. I chose this artist because I believe his ideas and paintings offer enough depth and substance to create a body of work from. My premise was to explore how successfully Cezanne portrays the truth in visual experience. I wanted to do this through exploring the artists use of colour, composition, perspective and form.

From visual analysis of the painting I could see Cezanne used directional brush marks and the tonal modulation of similar hues to generate form. He cleverly uses warm and cool colours to draw our attention to certain objects. These are all techniques that manipulate our perception of distance in perspective. Composition and subject are striped to their most basic geometric form, this creates harmony within the image depicted. The ambiguous outline between the subjects which also creates a harmony within the composition of nature. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/wheres-the-definitive-outline/

I’ m interested in how the artist represent the experience of perspective, the way object seemed to be depicted from two different angles, it could be argued that this was cezanne’s method of depicting the truth in visual experience. I realised when replicating his landscapes that an obvious way to extenuate his methods of achieving was to exaggerate them completely  https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/a-cubist-cezanne-2/

The colour theory module changed my handling of paint, I realised colour is an integral aspect of his work, the way he plays one tone against the other to manipulate our retina. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/breaking-down-the-definitive-outline-through-colour-theory/

Once I began using oils the colour became less muted and more vibrant, https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/section-of-cezanne-landscape-using-oils/

Not only did Marrakech allow me to appreciate the importance of colour but also the importance of narrative. I decided I wanted to document the human form however I want to apply cezanne’s ideas of making nature into art to my realisation of the human figure. Using directional brushmarks, tonal modulation of similar colour, contrasting view points. I also wanted to represent truth through showing the movement of the figure through the visceral quality of paint, I added a spectrogel to the paint to give the medium more substance. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/distorted-figures-and-the-visceral-quality-of-paint/

Field Evaluation.

Evaluation of understanding colour

I chose to do this module on understanding colour because I believe if I’m to understand the works of Cezanne it is imperative that I am to understand his treatment of colour. The work of Cezanne has become the focal point of my subject practice and from studying his paintings I can see that the interaction of colour  against one another and how it’s perceived by our retina is a key factor in Cezannes method of working. This is evident from the way he utilises tones to shape form to creating distance in perspective through his use of warm and cool hues. Therefore choosing this module would not only broaden my ability to handle colour but also give me a deeper scientific understanding to why and how colour reacts and is perceived in certain ways. In our first lecture we learnt about ‘the elements of colour’ by Johannes Itten. Who explains that in 1679 Isaac Newton using  a triangle prism, analysed white sunlight into a spectrum of colour. The seven contrasts are -The contrast of hue- The contrast of light and dark- The contrast of cool and warm- The contrast of saturation. -Simultaneous contrast. -Complimentary contrast.- Contrast of extension (proportions of complimentary pairs are yellow violet 3:1, orange blue2:1, red green, 1:1). We covered the basics where we discussed the three primary colours and how they are not ‘pure’ and mixed with secondaries. Therefore you need to be aware of this when mixing colours, if you want to mix ultramarine with cadmium yellow you could end up with a muddy green because there would be a lot of red in the paint. This is because red Is the complimentary of green. We did many exercises, one consisted of creating a colour to match a magazine cut out using only primary colours, I didn’t find this very challenging because I usually restrict myself to 3 primary colours when painting. However I found it harder when we had to create untrue colours, sometimes using earth colours would help to achieve the correct hue. Yellow would be substituted for yellow ochre, blue for raw umber and red for burnt Siena. We also learnt to mix our own black instead of using synthetic. I found the best mix was 40 ultramarine, 40 crimson and 20 lemon yellow.

The exercise I found most exiting was the last. It made me realise that playing with colour is a science and you can manipulate them in such a way that tricks the eye. What we see isn’t necessarily what’s before us, and we get an insight into how intelligent the result of careful colour placement can be. Colour is perceived differently when placed next to another colour, in this exercise we took two strips of the same hue and shade of purple and placed them onto two different chroma which caused the two identical purple colours to appear different to one another. This also creates an ora of a complimentary colour that is perceived by our retina.

Evaluation of cultural collaboration Marrakech

My practice is currently very much based on the landscapes within Cézanne’s paintings and how he is able to create harmony within nature by simplifying objects to their simplest form and altering our perception of perspective. I found coloration between the landscapes in Cezanne’s paintings and the square and layered buildings that create Marrakech; which could easily construct a cubic painting. I embraced what the city had to offer and I soon began to notice the fundamental difference between Cezanne and Marrakech. Cezanne’s landscapes are very isolated, usually void of humanity whereas Marrakech is a very vibrant, busy city. I found myself concentrating more on documenting the people and what made their culture more than anything else. There was an interesting contrast between the old world and the new, for example; the old square, flat roofed clay houses all which were equipped with satellite dishes. I then started to think about ways to represent this juxtaposition of cultural identities. I also wanted to capture the busyness of the city, by walking through the medina it became clear to me that ink was a massive element to Moroccan culture and would be effective in giving a rushed and primitive element to my drawings. I started to paint landscapes on top of the dyed material I made during the print workshop. The three dye colours I chose to work with was blue pink and green which are known as the three main colours of Marrakech. The vats were made through adding ink and mixing it with boiling water. I would then twist and shape my calico to give my desired pattern and then dip it in the vats, the longer the material was left in there the more vibrant the colour. Once that was done we could re-fold the material and place it in a different colour to give a unique pattern. Within this I was trying to achieve a sense of busyness but also capture that cezannesque landscape of layered geometrical shapes from conflicting viewpoints.

The city is full of colour and this is something I found utterly inspirational and exciting, from the artificial vibrant colours of the dye vats to the raw untrue colours of the architecture. This is something I was desperate to emulate in my own work. I started to use a lot of colour in my prints that were inspired by the Moroccan culture. I developed many skills in the print workshops and I felt this was very important in furthering my practice in terms of incorporating colour and texture. I learnt to use the heat press, batique, dye vats, all of which have altered my perception of what a canvas could be. I am very glad I chose this module, morocco  was definitely a culture shock but in an insightful and inspiring way. Not only has this experience given me a solid ground to study from but it has also provided a continuous pool of inspiration that I can continuously draw from within my future projects.

How has the experience influenced my practice.

Both projects have provided me with an enrichment of knowledge and a better understanding of my own project. What I’ve learnt from both projects also continue to influence my practice today. My subject work was initially focused on dissecting the landscapes of Paul Cezanne and understanding what he was trying to convey through his work. The project ‘understanding colour gave me a much more developed and mature understanding on how to manipulate colour. I now always mix my own black when painting rather than use synthetic black, I believe this this gives the painting a more natural quality and is not too distracting a colour when painting. I also feel I have a much more accurate ability to replicate a colour in the real world from a restricted pallet of three primary colours. Whilst painting since the ‘colour module’ I am able to appreciate that there is an intellectual science behind the handling of colour.

I was most impressed by what this module helped me discover about Cezanne. It became clear that colour is an integral part of Cezanne’s practice, his use of colour is his means of transcending the truth of visual experience onto a viewer, it Is clear that he uses the gradual modulation of tone to shape form, he uses warm colours to push subjects forward and cool colours to draw focus away from an object. Cezanne understood that colours behave differently when placed next to each other and this manipulates our perception to create a closer truth of visual experience.

Using more colour in my work has brought my canvases to life, before my pieces resembled a welsh landscape however now since working with oils over acrylic and using more radical colours the canvas became less muted and more representative of the landscapes in the south of france.

This has also been a noticeable change since spending time in Marrakech. The city embodies colour and texture and as a fine artist I found the atmosphere totally encaptivating and I felt an integral need to document this. My work became completely focused on colour, when I returned my landscapes became more vibrant and I started to make prints using inks that showed fluidity of intense colour. I also noticed that there is a difference between the isolation in cezannes landscapes and the busyness and movement in the city of Marrakech. I found this fascinating and realised how important it is for me to document humanity and culture. My work started to change direction, I wanted to document people but apply what I had learnt from cezanne’s use of colour to this. I have also considered means of bringing this sense of chaos and busyness into my work. I wanted to show movement through using paint that had a visceral quality that would cause the boundaries of colour to be distorted. So although my work has developed from landscape to figures it still uses the behaviour of colour and the idea of capturing the truth of visual experience.