Semester 2 colour project following 1st feedback

Following my first tutor meeting.  I was told to concentrate more on my composition.  I was keen to keep to a winter pallet.  This is my work this week

Field sketch of the Pentlands

Field sketch with watercolour and pastel

Pencil sketch on linen canvass

Under painting – should I have left it here?

Where I am currently.  I have so over worked this the paint is so thick I think it will take months to dry.  I want to brighten up the yellow but at the moment every time I touch it it just gets more muddy so I will need to set it aside for now and move on to something new.

This is a piece I started a week ago (oil and cold wax).  I really like the hills and sky but the foreground lets it down and to me almost looks like two different paintings.  The landscape is now covered in snow, should I make this a more winters scene?  Struggling to finish this with satisfaction. Any ideas/feedback welcomed……


This is a field sketch with ink wash that I really like.   Do I start this one or go completely out of my comfort zone and try something completely new – a portrait / still life / street scene?…………


Semester 2 – colour project

As I start Semester 2 of 2nd year I join Painting, having studied Intermedia 1st semester.  My 1st task was to get my workspace into some assemblage of order.  That was a completely thankless task that took 2 days of my life I will never get back.  Looking at these images reminds me that I must paint that back wall and get rid of that hideous chandelier. Tasks for another day.

Love looking out to The Pentlands and Hillend.  In the evening the slope is lit up with twinkling lights.


Our first project was to create 10works – concentrating on colour

I did a few experiments with alcohol ink

I don’t like the gold flakes


This was ink and salt.  I love the orange and flash of blue.  Not sure I like much else

Alcohol ink and salt on Yupo paper – I like the rust and dark blood red.  I also like the wee flash of pink popping through.

This really didn’t work.  It was seaweed / wire / collage and ink – disaster


Landscape in watercolour and pastel – yuck.  Insipid/ uninteresting and totally boring

Landscape in pastels – better than the last.  Think the yellow and black work better than previous but hills, especially 2nd aren’t right

Acrylic on paper – composition is too linear.

This was an acrylic paining in my sketch book that I didn’t much like.  Revisited it with the addition of pastels (light green/ rust red  and yellow) and think it has much improved it in less than 10 min.

Not sure about this – was a quick acrylic with pastel.  had planned it as an under painting but stopped as think it is interesting as it is .  Not sure however about the white strip and if I should do something with it.

This was an old painting that I didn’t like.  I went back to to see if I could improve I actually think I have made it worse.  It feels too much as a slope and not sure about the addition of oranges and yellows.  Does it look like two different paintings?

Quick watercolour.  I covered the ‘rocks’ with tissue paper.  Not sure that was such a wise move.


I have been doing some experiments with cold wax



Trying to be more abstract but finding it hard.  I think the gold blobs might need more breaking up

This is the largest clod wax and oil painting I have done (103cm x 79cm).  I wasn’t sure about it – I do tend to overwork pieces all too often.  Anyway I decided to leave it a few days and come back.  I actually think it is finished though not sure if it could do with more of a light source.


I decided to try and work with brighter colours on a larger scale based on works by The Group of 7.  This is oil on board its 130 cm x 83cm.  Mentioning earlier how I overwork a project, I am well on the way to achieving this.

At this stage it still had some promise I think but I decided that the central bit wasn’t quite right and thought I would block it out and re do – oops…….

This is where it is currently.  Feck knows what I was thinking with those yellow and red blobs around the tree base.  Why I have decided to put all that purple on the rocks is a mystery too.  – I am walking away from this one at the moment befor I cause more damage.


Making the ordinary extraordinary – part 4


Following our group tutorial it was suggested that I try and further develop the glass work with additional mirrors and a flickering flame rather than a light.

I was also encouraged to further look at viewing through blurred glass.

looking through painted glass screens



I used tea lights under the glass but the light wasn’t as strong.  The results were more subtle



I decided to stand the glass panels on their edge in a fan-like arrangement against the mirrors






I then laid the glass panels in a box like shape and was really interested in the resulting images

When I came to this image I started to imagine this as a large scale installation work.  I made a mood board.  I don’t know where I  found the image of the installation shown below.  It was in a box of images I keep that that I found interesting.  Suddenly the image had new possibilities for me.


My own reflective glass image led me to look at further large scale pieces and I was drawn to this work by British artist Glen Onwin.  His 1919 exhibition As Above, So Below took place in a derelict chapel in Halifax.  the work explored various alchemical process.  In this work and artificial concrete pool was filled with a mix of water, black brine and wax.  The ceiling and walls are reflected in the pool.  I love the way this looks like an antique mirrored floor 

NIGREDO – Laid to Waste, Glen Onwin, 1991


I was also drawn to the work of Nike Savvas.    The 2005 work used polystyrene coloured balls strung on nylon wire which moved in the wind of the electric fans.


I was also inspired by Ron Haselden’s installation Coliseum (1989).  This work could only be seen at night through the windows of the gallery.   The work had three large circles of  light that ‘appeared to spin and also run back and forth through space’

Coliseum (1989), Ron Haselden


Finally I tried to reimagine my glass pieces in a large scale.  Large painted glass panels are back lit  and placed over mirrors.  Painted glass panels would intersect the installation.

This work entitles ‘Inside Corona’.  It is reminiscent of disease viewed through a microscope.  The audience  moves through the exhibition like the live organisms found under a microscopic slide.  Corona also refers to the rarefied gaseous envelope  of the sun and other stars and of part of the body resembling a crown.  The work will have a golden glow and a regal presence.

What started with a humble pair of specs has morphed into this……

Inside Corona (2026), Tracey Exton

Making the ordinary extraordinary – part 3

Having enjoyed my return to a painting medium but keen to explore how  we currently see the world through screens of glass I decided to start painting on glass (something I did quite a lot of in 1st year) and experiment with how  the viewer sees through this.

Working with glass reminded me of the work of Robert Rauschenburg and Jeffrey Sarmiento


Jeffrey Sarmiento glass works

I  took my glass work into a windowless bathroom with a full length mirror and  experimented with light and reflection.


By placing small battery operated lights beneath the painted glass and turning off the remaining  lights the images that glow through the glass are fascinating.  When viewed against the mirror the images are further distorted

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Trying to imaging these images on a large scale

These images that seem almost planetary bring to mind the work of Sara Oskarsson who uses chemistry to create fluid images that emulate nature’s  forces and dynamism



I accidently moved the camera while photographing these images and the resulting imaged remind me of laser lights and I really liked the ‘mistakes’


The light effect brought to mind this image that I have saved

Making the ordinary extraordinary – part 2

I felt that I wanted to move on from glasses and was missing painting also.

I started looking at images of eye disease and Covid as seen through a microscope.  I found these images quite compelling

I then started looking at the work of Klari Reis who works with resin and alcohol ink to create captivating works of art.

I got out my own paints and inks and started playing with colour

Recalling my burning lens from my glasses experiments I wanted to incorporate some of these test pieces into a new work.

With that in mind I took an old painting that I didn’t like much and covered it in bitumen.  The bitumen brought to mind the works of Derek Jarmen

With this in mind here is what I did

I was trying to create eyes or windows in the canvass behind which you can see images reminiscent of microscopic art.


Anya Gallaccio


Gallaccio is a Paisley born site-specific, minimalist installation artist​.  She studied at Kingston Polytechnic and Goldsmiths College​.  She mainly works with organic matter such as flowers/sugar/ice/chocolate etcShe is interested in the process of decay, transformation ​and entropy.

Her work unfolds and develops over time, resulting in unpredictable outcomes.  The viewer will have a new experience every time they visit one of her exhibitions as time changes the work.  What can start out as something beautiful at the beginning of an exhibition can become increasingly unpleasant as decay sets in with the passing of time​.  Due to the fact the work is constantly changing it can be difficult to document and exists as a memory​.

Gallaccio choice of ephemeral material in her work is a reaction to the current consumerist culture.  The temporality of her work is a reaction to our current throw away and discard approach to our environment.

In one of her early works from 1993, Anya covered benches and cardboard panels in chocolate and encouraged the viewers to touch and lick the work.  She went on to develop this theme further with her  2004 exhibition at Jupiter Artland where Gallaccio coated old farm building in 90lb of 70% cocoa chocolate and again invited the audience to lick, touch and stroke the walls.

As Ralph Rugoff explains,

Gallaccio’s mutable flower pieces defy any illusion that we, as spectators, are privy to a transcendent or authentic experience – there is no true moment, no definitive point of view, for our encounter with this art, as the work we witness today will have changed in a week’s time, and ultimately remains as elusive and changeable as that mysterious entity, the self.

  • ​One of Gallaccio’s best know works was Preserve ‘beauty’ 1991 – 2003.  In this work hundreds of flowers were displayed under glass that decompose 


This work was further developed into ‘Red on Green’. 
10,000 red roses were laid like a deep pile rug or field on the gallery floor.   “Fragrant, soft and velvety, the voluptuousness of the roses en masse evokes romance and decadence that is slowly allowed to blacken like scabs and die.”




In 2000 her work ‘Because Nothing has Changed’ – consisted of a bronze tree sculpture adorned with porcelain apples 

See the source image

This work was further explored in 2002 entitled ‘Because I Could Not Stop.  In this work she had a similar sized tree this time adorned with real apples that were left to rot

See the source image

See the source image

In a break away from decay Gallaccio , remained with her tree theme but created a permanent structure.  Her untitled 2015 work is a stainless-steel tree and plays with ideas of reflection.

See the source image


​Aspire was a 1999 work using plywood rings and candles to create candelabras.  The candles were left to melt.  As the wax hit the gallery floor, the floor became a work of art also



plywood, candles, teflon rope
200 cm. diameter x 3
78 3/4 in. diameter x 3

See the source image

See the source image

In her 1996  work, Absolute  4 metre square cubes of ice were placed in a gallery and left to melt.  The four ice blocks of equal size melt away over a period of time.  The temporary nature of the work, highlights the fragility of life.

Making the ordinary extraordinary – part 1

Week 2 and for my ordinary objects I decided to choose something that is becoming increasingly apart of my life…glasses. As I am getting older I am finding the need to use glasses for reading increasingly necessary. I started to think about glasses in a wider Covid context. We are seeing the world differently. Much of our contact is now from behind planes of glass or Perspex. When we go shopping the assistant is viewed behind a screen. So much of our contact now is viewed through a laptop screen. I also started looking at the Covid virus viewed through a microscope. I found some of these images surprisingly captivating. From this I looked at eye disease through a microscope. Many diseases are picked up during routine eye examinations. The eyes truly are windows on the world.

I was interested in the shadows that glasses produced and played with filters to alter these images. I looked at reflections that bounced off glass.

I had on old enamel ‘kiln’ and was curious to see if enamel could be melted into the glass rom glasses. This experiment was an unmitigated disaster. It turns out that the ‘glass’ in my old glasses was plastic. The lens caught fire and disintegrated. I wont be doing that one again

I am keen to look at glasses and how they can be used to create something out out of the ordinary.


When looking at glasses, on a sunny day I was interested in the shadows that they made.  I thought the shadows were more interesting than the glasses themselves

          Looking at shadows




I then started playing with some simple colour adaptations of the shadow pictures.  Personally I think the more subtle colour changes are the most effective.  I think work with these in some way



 Reimagined large scale


 The eyes are on the wall



I started looking at reflections seen through the glasses and was interested in the reflection I saw looking through the lens of the glasses at the glass of a picture that was in turn reflecting the garden behind.  I like the idea of trying to work out where the varying images were coming from

I went on to run these images through a photo app.  I am not sure about the resulting images.  I think the unadulterated image was more interesting.

I then had the ‘bright’ idea to add some enamel glaze the ‘glass’ lens of one of the pairs of glasses using an ancient Ennamelaire that I acquired years ago.

This experiment proved to be disastrous.  When my husband asked me before I started ”how do you know the lens is glass” and ”what happens if it catches fire” – I responded a few minutes later ”looks like it isn’t glass and the flames soon died down”

So it turns out the lens disintegrated and I am not allowed to set stuff on fire anymore…..oops

I did however really like the image of the burning eye.  Well one has to suffer for their art.

The fire was actually pretty self contained

With the empty glasses frame I attempted a wee weaving.  This was yet another failure.

I went on to create a mobile with the glasses.  I was interested in the close up image shown on the left.  The mobile itself was less interesting

I looked at whet the mobile looked like reflected in the picture.  I don’t think the resulting images are very successful.


We were also asked to look at different locations so I took my pile of glasses  into the garden.  I attached my mobile to a tree and recorded it blowing and moving in the wind.

Intrigued by reflections I decided to further explore this with the addition of a mirror.  I was blessed with a sunny day and decided to make use of the autumn blue sky.



Undeterred by my earlier fire incident, I further experimented with heat by attempting to melt a pile of glasses in my domestic oven

I became increasingly interested in reflections and screens.  I was aware of how many devices that we had in our home, laptops, iPads, smart phones.  I wanted to somehow capture this.


When I recorded this the sound became very distorted.  It was pointed out to me that  the sound had a bird-like quality.  This led me to try and create a ‘nest’ using the glasses with the ide of placing the work in a tree and see what happens.  To do this I decided to try and mould the glasses around a bowl.  I put the glasses back in the oven and hoped that they would melt and mould together .  That didn’t happen.  The glasses did melt but did not bind with each other

Rather than a nest I ended up with a collection of distorted glasses

At this stage I felt that I had exhausted what I could do with glasses and wanted to revisit my interest in screens and microscopic images.



Postcard Project


Well that is my first week of second year completed and I have never felt like such a luddite.  As a very mature student of 54 years of age, this week I have felt every day of those years.  I have struggled with this new on-line world and the technology that accompanies it.  I was therefore delighted when the first project was to create postcards and like slipping into a pair of old ‘baffles’ (for those of you not familiar this is a Scottish phrase it means slippers) I returned to my easel and trusted paints.  While not very Intermedia, I really enjoyed the process of creating this body of work.


Acrylic, sand, mica and gold paint


Cold wax and oil


Print and colour wash


Mixed media


My final postcard collection