College Art Jounal

News / 19 September 2018

(Originally written 17/09/18 2.30pm)

Today we looked through old students’ portfolios to evaluate what worked what could do with extra attention.

I honestly feel very underwhelmed by them.

I believe my concept of a portfolio was pretty much just a collection of finished pieces, presented in a neat and sensible way. I found the ones we viewed to be quite cluttered, and they lacked a cohesive thread to tie their pieces together. There were odd bits of paper at funny sizes put in with other work that was mounted, and I feel like they most of all lacked consistency.

We spoke of the value of editing, which for me is always very difficult. Assessing the value of a piece seems very contextual, so it isn’t easy to just “trim the fat.”

It is important to consider how a piece is mounted; is it of a good size, are the measurements accurate, the colour of the surrounding paper, etc. Another vital component is the quality of the photograph (if the work itself cannot be included). Lighting, background, and angle need to be taken into consideration to ensure you are showcasing the best representation of your work.

For me, I am still questioning the overall nature of the projects that should be included. Naturally, it is important to show that you are capable of many things, but should that be done at the expense of showcasing what you excel at?


Today I was able to do a little personal drawing, and I have surprised myself with how I now feel far more freedom to enjoy the act of creating. After allowing myself to loosen up at college, I can appreciate sketching as an opportunity to learn and grow, as opposed to feeling that every part of my sketchbook must be a masterpiece. It’s liberating, and I am finding far more inspiration without being weighed down by the shackles of perfectionism.

College Art Jounal

News / 14 September 2018

Induction week & Big It Up!

For our induction week we were given a project to recreate a small, commonplace object as a large scale sculpture in 2½ days using materials such as cardboard, wire, fabric, and newspaper. I was put into a group with three other members, and we were given a green painted Jack Daniels bottle with dead flowers inside as our subject. I was quite surprised by such a sudden project, as it was given to us on our first day when I was expecting group icebreaker activities. As it turns out, beginning a group activity like this was definitely more effective at allowing us to connect with our classmates, and I feel like the anxiety of meeting new people was eroded smoothly as we all had to focus our efforts to finish our pieces.

I was apprehensive about working in a group, probably fuelled by the fact it has been so long since I have been in an education environment. However, I quickly realised that I needed to trust my classmates, and we mostly found things to do to contribute without stepping on each others toes or causing any major catastrophes. We would always check in with each other before starting anything new, and that worked well. However, I firmly believe our planning stage should have been longer and more thought out before jumping in. I personally like to start things straight away, and just work out how I will approach things as I go along, but for this project some extra thought and careful measuring would’ve made the outcome a fair bit tidier as it was a very neat, boxy subject we were working with. This was largely my fault, as I was eager to jump in and had too much of a “we’ll work it out” attitude. One member of my group did slow me down a bit and encourage more meticulous planning, which I am grateful for, as I believe that without that, we would’ve come across even more issues as time pressed on.

Overall, I really feel like we did well, despite these issues. The dead flowers were made by a member of the team who felt a strong affiliation for 3D work, and from her I learned a few effective techniques that I may be able to use in the future. For instance, soaking tissue paper in PVA glue and then laying that over a wire frame makes a very striking petal. I primarily worked on the structure of the main body with another classmate. For the colour of the bottle, we mixed one part acrylic paint with one part green drawing ink, which worked really well to thin the paint without compromising vibrancy. It also looked good over the embossed “Jack Daniels” slogan on the bottle shoulder, which we did by writing with a glue gun. I feel like the shape of the bottle neck could have been stronger, but our original idea for a wireframe to form the structure did not work as it was too flimsy, so we pulled together to make something out of cardboard in the time we had. Whilst it isn’t a perfect representation of the shape, I think for the time we had, we did well.

I found this quite challenging as I have never felt like I have any skill with 3D media. However, thanks to this project I feel like I definitely have more confidence and would be able to tackle a similar project more efficiently in the future. If we were to do the same project again, I would spend more time on making sure my measurements were accurate and ensuring our materials were suitable before diving straight in.

Komorebi watercolor 40 color set by MozArt Supplies

Article / 28 July 2018

It has been about 5 years since I last used watercolour, and I always struggled with it. I'd rush through impatiently and get frustrated at the looseness of it, and end up with a mess. I like to work in a fine, smooth way, so I just dismissed watercolour as something for landscape artists and non-detailed subjects. I now realise how ignorant that was.

The Komorebi set in full

I picked up the Komorebi 40 colour set pretty much just because I loved the look of the metallics. I already have an old set of Windsor & Newton watercolours in the back of a cupboard, and the gorgeous metallics helped me justify buying a whole new set. The set was about £24 on Amazon, which was a lot to drop on a medium I had no experience with, but is pretty economical on a per-pan basis at 60p per pan. They're also pretty full up for the most part, although there is a lot of variation between pans. The metallic colours in particular seem a lot less filled up than the other colours.

The swatch insert. Unfortunately my camera made the colours look pretty washed out, but they are quite vivid

It comes with an insert for you to swatch the colours, which is a nice touch. The numbers on the card correspond to the numbers printed under each pan, so you can always get them back in the right place if they fall out of the palette. One thing I was disappointed with is that the card is stuck in the lid, so you can't remove it to swatch, which would definitely be easier. That's only a small issue though, and I did find plopping down the colours a lot of fun.


Here you can see the variation in how full each pan is. The paints are full of pigment and so a lot look very dark in the pans


Metallics! I want to try these on black paper soon

To reiterate, I am hardly experienced with watercolour and so my views on the set are not backed by a lot of knowledge. However, I really found these paints a joy to paint with. They seemed thicker than my Windsor & Newton pans, and easier to get vivd tones out of. They also lifted very easily when painting on top of an area that already has colour on - whether that is a good or a bad thing will depend entirely on how you approach painting, but for me I found it made it easier to correct mistakes and help blending. They also seemed to take quite a while to dry, but again, that was a bonus for me as although I am impatient, it gave me time to correct my lines and add other colours.


A messy jellyfish with Komorebi watercolors

This was my finished painting in a Khadi 13x16cm sketchbook. As an aside, this sketchbook is absolutely wonderful and the cotton-rag paper takes the paints beautifully. I used a white ballpoint pen to add some definition as it is quite a messy painting. Below you can see the metallic sheen which is beautiful!

All in all, I'm really pleased with these paints. They're great for starting watercolour, and although they may not be suited to more professional artists, they're relatively cheap, and the colour range is great.

Thanks for reading!

New Website!

News / 06 May 2018

Welcome to my new website! Any and all feedback is appreciated.

On another note, I've been wanting to get back into oil painting lately. I've been inspired by a few hyperrealism artists who predominantly do still life paintings, and I think that could help me get some painting foundations down. I always jump to painting faces all the time, and I just really feel like I need a break from it and could benefit from practicing less dynamic subjects. Watch this space!