Before beginning this exercise, I had a think about what temporary art meant to me and the thoughts and feelings it invoked. I found the idea of it frustrated me as I couldn’t quite understand why anyone would want to put so much effort, time and energy into something which would be washed away in a matter of seconds, minutes, hours etc. It felt quite sad knowing that it would not be around for the masses to view, such as a masterpiece hanging in a gallery for decades at a time. Whilst reluctant to begin this task, and also unsure as to what method to use, I decided to wait until the timing felt natural and I could give the biggest dedication level I could to it.
Whilst doing my weekly cleaning, I reached the stage where I would polish the fronts of my kitchen cupboards. My children and husband were not around and I had a bit of time to relax and focus. I decided to see what would happen if I were to attempt to use my polish as a spray paint substitute.
I didn’t really think about what I wanted to do with the spray, or how I wanted the design to go, I just decided to let my arm choose where it wanted to go and what it wanted to do.
Since being diagnosed with Essential Tremor, I have found I am rather drawn to the spiral as this shape helps to assess the intensity of my tremor and also the angles at which it is worst (usually at the ‘2 o’clock’ angle), so I suppose my subconscious took control!
I started by just spraying the spiral shape and to fade it out slightly as I went on. I then decided to draw curved lines throughout the spiral to give it a sense of being 3D. After this, I thought I could leave it there, but decided it was not sharp enough or quite as ‘finished’ as I would like, so I proceeded to rub a line throughout the shape’s outline to enhance the resemblance to a shell, which it was apparent it was beginning to take the form of without any conscious prior willing for it to do so by my mind.
Once the outline was complete, I decided to try and create a beach effect with the spray, so at first I held it facing parallel to the cupboard door, but then changed it so I was pointing it downwards to create a dripping effect to represent the tide’s ebb and flow.
I then used a sponge to dab the spray to create a grain effect to emphasise the sand detail.
I then added a brief spray at the top of the door to resemble clouds but mostly to fill the empty space. The spray splattered a little, but I left this as I thought it resembled stars and created the appearance that the whole picture was actually a twilight image. Whilst creating the piece though, the time of day of the piece had not even entered my mind.
On looking back on my work, I think I was a little reserved in my approach to the task, as I did not feel it was quite my style of working. However, I did create a piece and think it turned out quite well considering there was no muse or prior planning. I really like the contrast between the dark and light and how effectively the shading comes across. I do think, however, that my lines could have been a little straighter and less jagged in places. I also think I could have experimented with more tools (such as kitchen roll, crumpled tin foil or adding colour with spices etc). I also think that I could have improved the weight of the shell by having the sand start higher up, as though the shell were lay down on the sand, as I do not think a shell of this size or shape would be able to stand in this way, so it slightly ruins how believable the piece is. Overall, this piece opened my eyes to experimenting more than I usually would and being willing to see ‘what if?’. It has definitely awoken my artist side and increased my excitement to begin my learning and experimentation journey.