5 key points of contextualisation

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







Encaustic painting

Also known as hot wax painting it is a process that involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood or canvas. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment. I think this process will be an effective method of thickening my medium and give more substance to expressive brush marks, my intention is that using this medium will allow my figures to have a visceral quality of motion and distorted perspective but also give that narrative quality that seems to be lacking in the works of Cezanne.

Cecily Brown


I decided to look at Cecily brown as I wanted to experiment with my choice of media when painting figures, although she succeeds in creating total harmony within her composition and the barrier between the subject and background are totally abstracted unlike Cezanne her paintings are full of a human presence. The artist uses bold and expressive brush work, there is clear influence from Willem de kooning and Bacon. The thick visceral quality of the paint she uses gives her work movement and fluidity. Sexuality and attraction are important themes in her work, which she explores through semi-figurative and abstract means. Im immediately drawn to the confrontational nature of her composition and if I want to explore Cezanne but push that sense of human presence I believe I need to exaggerate that sense  of movement and work with a thicker and fleshier medium.

George Baselitz


It was suggested that I look at Baselitz work. In the 1970s, Baselitz was part of a group of Neo-Expressionist German artists, occasionally identified as “Neue Wilden,” focusing on deformation, the power of subject and the vibrancy of the colors. He became famous for his upside-down images. He is seen as a revolutionary painter as he draws the viewer’s attention to his works by making them think and sparking their interest. The subjects of the paintings don’t seem to be as significant as the work’s visual insight. Throughout his career, Baselitz has varied his style, ranging from layering substances to his style, since the 1990s, which focuses more on lucidity and smooth changes. I find this helpful because its another interpretation on how we see perspective and how artists break down forms within nature. The artist also used to paint upside down which is something to consider when working in order to concentrate on the piece as a whole image and separate the notion that you are painting many forms within a composition. There are still strong links with Cezanne, we can see tonal modulation of colour to create monumental forms.

Rubens and his legacy – Van Dyck to Cezanne. -a Visit to the RA

untitled (9)Paul-Cezanne-Three-Bathers-c1875-1024x926

It was an exhibition that brought masterpieces together that were produced during Rubens life time as well as great works by artists that were influenced by him in the generations to come. Rubens was known for his flashy women and painted a broad array of subjects from portraits and landscapes to mythology and religion. When looking at ‘the three bathers’ I started to think about how both artists create a sense of movement in their work, we can see that the bathers in Cezanne’s piece are closely connected to nature and are monumental and have been compared to Rubens see nymphs. It could be said that the flesh tones of the bathers pay homage to rubens with their bluish shadows, yellow highlights and red outlines.  while his raw brushstrokes show the influence of the impressionist group, he retains a sensuous nature of Rubens nudes. The work has a highly energetic charge.


la peregrina

An exhibition curated by Jenny Saville that showed a selection of contemporary works to join Rubens and his legacy. The artist chose a selection of works by major 20th and 21st century artists. As well as paintings by Willem de kooning, Picasso, bacon, Freud and Cecily brown.

Seville is an artist best know for her large scale oil paintings of female figures, she has a deep fascination in the palpability of flesh, extremities of anatomy and the grotesque, her work invokes the influence of Rubens. I found this part of the exhibition the most exiting and made me realise that I need to scale up dramatically with my paintings to get that confrontational and expressive effect.













James green workshop

Today we questioned why does a canvas have to be rectangular or square. Why is it that the human eye has become trained to expect to see images on a square surface, if we think about how we view the world i.e. windows, I pads, phones, TVs it is all through the same shape. However if we consider primitive cave art it can be seen that they used/incorporated the three dimensional surface of the cave to create their drawing, along with the shadows that would be created. The artist Pierro del Francesca created a painting called the flagellation showing linear perspective on a 2d rectangle to create depth, it is seen as a mathematical explanation of nature. Cezanne is an artist who was although interested in this, soon realised the world isn’t really like this. The cubist ideal of breaking everything down and reassembling it in an analytical manner pushes the notion that we have many different view points when experiencing life, not just the one. Picasso started working with shaped canvases to add to his image and so did David hockey who created a shaped canvas to paint a typhoo tea box, they used the shape of the canvas to draw the object in order to gain a stronger illusion of depth.

I felt this was a very fitting project as Cezanne was playing with viewpoints and perspective. although he may mot of been aware of it. I started by choosing my shapes. I decided to replicate a Cezanne still life and a landscape but cut into the forms with the ban saw, I also used a smaller version of a ban saw to cut holes in the middle of the wood, this will hopefully play with ones perspective of depth. Although I have used a ban saw before I definitely tested my skills as the cuts were much more detailed in shaping my objects and the more curved the edge the harder it was cut the wood.

Once I had sanded and sealed the wood with emulsion I started to paint the under layer using greens and yellows mainly, just gradually creating a tonal gradation to create form and 3d curves within the piece, creating distance within perspective- a trick of the eye. I also used these colours as an under layer in the hope that when I go over the pieces with colour the illuminosity will transcend through the top layer.



Evaluation of my experience

CSince my practice is currently very much based on the landscapes within Cezannes 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 felt that choosing the ‘cultural collaboration’ field module would be crucial in pushing my practice further. I found coloration between the landscapes in Cezanne’s paintings with the square and layered buildings that create Marrakech; which could easily construct a cubist painting.

However once I was in the city as I embraced what the city had to offer I soon began to notice the fundamental difference between Cezanne and Marrakech. Cezanne’s landscapes are very isolated, usually void of humanity where as Marrakech is a very vibrant lively, busy city. I found myself concentrating more on documenting the people and what made their culture more than anything else. I was fascinated by everyone in the markets forcing onto the tourists this notion of tradition and heritage however most of the people lived a very westernised lifestyle. There was an interesting contrast between the old world and the new, for example; the old square, flat roofed clay houses all equipped with satellite dishes. I then started to think about ways to represent this juxtaposition of cultural identities, I thought their could be a means within the way Cezanne would play with contradicting view points.

I also wanted to capture the busyness of the city, by walking through the city 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 where I used the Marrakech colours of pink blue and green. Within this I was trying to achieve a sense of busyness but also capture that cezannesque landscape of layered geometrical shapes from conflicting view points.

I made many colourful prints of the Moroccan culture and learnt a lot of new skills in workshops I had never done before, I felt this was really important in furthering my practice in terms of colour and texture, and has altered my perception of what a canvas should 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.