Wednesday 26 August 2020

Peer Review

 Today we were peer-reviewing each other's websites so I picked Angy Ebrahim's site from my class which can be found here:

What do you think of the homepage?

Good clean homepage is well designed and easy to understand. 

Is the navigation bar clear and easy to use? 

Very clear and easy to navigate 

What did you think of the galleries/portfolio pages? Consider the design, ease of use, and how well the work is presented? 

Portfolio pages are easy to click into.  The featured article I think I would have preferred to see the title for this or you could have a front image for all your projects and then a button that clicks into these so that this is more visually interesting 

What do you think of the biography?  Is it well written? Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?  Does it give you a good impression of the person?

The biography is well written and clear.  You may wish to update this as you have moved forward in life.  It does give a good impression and I think it represents you well as a person.  I would also update the image making you look more professional 

Is there a contact page? Is this well presented and easy to find?

Yes - clear and easy to find and well presented 

Do all social media links work?

No social media links and think that this needs to be corrected you should have a social media presence of some kind. 

Any other comments?

Good website that with a few adjustments could be excellent

Updating Website & Testing

 I have not updated my site for a while so I am going to do this now to really improve on being found on the internet and trying to gain more connection to my site.  I am going to begin by updating the SEO on my site

This makes the site easier to find and to share on social media.  

I then realised as I had been showing students things on the site many things did not actually belong there!  So I removed all extraneous items and changed the homepage buttons to reflect the correct pages.

I check my copyright was up to date and then checked all my social media links 

These all worked well and everything was up to date.  I then went to my Bio page as I prefered a bio I had used elsewhere so I changed it to this version 

After each of these actions, I republished to ensure that the site was updated live!

I then began checking the mobile view as I had made other changes this could have been affected 

The contact page was fine, but the portfolio pages the writing and buttons appeared in the wrong places so I fixed this in the editor. 

I checked all the pages and then previewed and when I was satisfied I published again

I will admit that I had neglected this site a little and as I had used it for teaching purposes it had got int a bit of a mess!  So I have now given it a bit of love and care and I can now consider how I can further improve this for the future - I think more connections with other social media and work online would bring together my work online and cross-connections will hopefully lead more people to my site. 

Sunday 23 August 2020

Process: Creating the Canvas and Developing on Photoshop

 So now I have the images I have the difficult job of picking the four that will really work together for this magical altarpiece.  So the element should go as follows:

Earth: Lower Left Corner

Air: Upper Right Corner

Fire: Lower Right Corner

Water: Upper Left Corner 

So I began by creating an A3 Canvas as this is the size I will be printing on the decal.  I then started to choose the images and add to the canvas - the images here areas shot in-camera no editing or adjustments made. I used here the resize image and ensured that all images were 300ppi

So here is the four shots together I am not sure if I like this yet but this is the base layer for the work..

Now I am going to add elements to these to see if this will work...these are the copyright free symbols I will be using

I then added these as new layers over the correct image 

This is the final result:

I will now print this onto the Decal paper and add to the wooden board - please see my next post for this process.


The Buena Vida (07/11/18) Four elements to building a sacred altar [Online] Available from: (Accessed 23/08/20)

Regardie I (1989)The Golden Dawn 6th Edition, Llewellyn Publications, Minnesota.

Process: Taking the Shots

 So the shots I wanted to take seemed initially to be fairly simple.  I wanted four headshots that I could then add the four elements for the final piece.  I realised quickly that four headshots had to be interesting in some way to convey what I wanted in the final images and so I began with some really simple test shots to see if I could discover what I was after as I did not have an exact picture of how this would work. I used my Olympus E3 with a remote shutter release and a tripod. 

So I took the shots using natural light, in my flat, I had the ISO quite high as I wanted to slightly overexpose them so they had ethereal look in the final piece.  I created the contact sheets on Photoshop (File - Automate - Contact Sheet).  I took around 200 images so that I could experiment with the shot. While the contact sheets were processing I had a quick look at a couple of the shots:

ISO 500, F4, FL 15mm, 1/50
Edited on Picasa using Holga-ish filter. 

This is kind of the look I was after to try to get the feeling of transcendence.  The piece itself will be like the casting of a spell using ritual symbols.

ISO 500, F4, FL15mm, 1/40
Cinemascope on Picasa

This one I just wanted to see from a different perspective so I added the cinemascope to have a look!  My contacts are still processing...and finally seven contact sheets so I will just go through these here:

These first shots are just test shots to decide the angle and the light I tried them in different places in the house and looked at composition.  They were shot in black and white here you can see I also shot in RAW.

I continued to experiment with quite 'straight' shots but realised I wanted more movement in them to give them more impact 

I started to move my head a little more but realised it need more violence and spontaneity 

I started to get the look I was after and the images started to really move within the frame - sort of pain contained in the frame!

This is a long post and I think I look like pure evil in the last shot!  The best images here are the ones where my face is obscured or there is movement so now I will choose the four shots I want to represent fire, earth, air and water on the final canvas. 

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Target Market: Photographic Art


Fighting Pure Madness by P. Urbanek

Trying to pin down your target market, the audience who would be interested in your work can be tricky.  The art market is particularly challenging as much of what art is worth is based on what people essentially think it is worth.  But who is buying art and where are they buying it is what I will explore here in this post.  

Art conscious state the following: 

'Active online buyers purchasing more and on higher prices. In 2018, the share of online art buyers paying an average price in excess of US$5,000 per fine art object increased to 25%, up from 21% in 2017. Confidence of buying online increases among people. Surveys show that 52% of those who bought online last year will buy more art in the upcoming year, 38% will buy the same this year as they did last year, 28% of those who have not bought art online in the past year, say they are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to do so this year.' (Artconscious: 2020) 

So from these statistics, we can see that that online purchases of art have been increasing and that buyers will buy art year upon year, this is all very promising however this was written prior to the pandemic so how has this affected the art market?  Although art is still being bought with the financial times stating that; 'Earlier this month, the hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin was reported to have bought a Basquiat painting privately for north of $100m.' (Gerlis M. 13/06/20) this is certainly not representative of the whole market.  Gerlis further states that it is the two extreme ends of the market that are hit hardest, the very expensive work (over 1 million) collectors will not buy unseen online and the lowest end of the scale with new and emerging artists as people are less willing to take the risk on emerging artists.  The middle ground where established contemporary artists are selling and responding to the times are still in demand.  So tough times for artists and finding a buyer for their work.  

However not to be too downhearted as Art Business points point out the art market is particularly difficult to quantify and assess as art is being sold everywhere: 'on social media, artist websites, gallery websites, websites where artists or galleries pay fees to display their art, fixed-price secondary market and resale websites, classified ad sites, online auction sites, art galleries, art fairs, art walks, open studios, flea markets, estate sales, bricks & mortar auctions, museum sales and rental galleries, "Nothing Over $39.95" sales, local country auctions, directly out of artists' homes and studios, street fairs, wine bars, antique collectives, framing stores, on the street, interior design showrooms, coffee shops, condo lobbies, cruise ships, county fairs, and on and on and on. Obviously, assembling any kind of meaningful data on overall art market transactions is not possible.'  (Art Business 1998-2019)

So art can be found in many places online during the pandemic and some believe that sales although lower will stabilise CNBC states; 'Still, the recovery in the art market in the coming months is likely to be highly uneven, especially for nonmasterpiece works that aren’t already well known. Bank of America said in a new report that sellers are likely to stay on the sidelines over the summer, constraining the supply of works for sale. It said supply could “spike sharply” in the fall, leading to lower prices, and then stabilize, with prices 10% to 15% lower,  depending on the course of the virus. ' (Frank R. 29.06.20) So perhaps the answer here is that artists need to lower their prices until the art market picks up, do special offers and really work on improving their social media profile as this will help to direct art lovers to their work.  

Creative people now need to get even more creative to reach their audience and to make a living - so going forward and considering this in terms of my own work is very important - I will consider how I would share my website to those interested in photography, consider my online presence and really overhaul this at this time. 


Artconscious (2020) Art Market Statistics [online] Available from: (Accessed 19.08.20) 

Gerlis M. (13/06/20) Who's Buying What Art Online? [Online] Available from: (Accessed 19.08.20) 

Art Business (1998-2019) Domestic and International Art Market Sales Statistics [Online] Available from: (Accessed 19.08.20) 

Frank R (29/06/20) How a $60 million painting may mark the biggest test for the art market during coronavirus crisis [Online] Available from (Accessed 19.08.20)

Wednesday 12 August 2020

Developing Ideas: Student Card to Work of Art

 I have a great love of old photography books and manuals and so here I wanted to look at Dixon's 'The Way to Professional Photography'  (1984) I took some quick shots this morning of a few pages:

I will reshoot these but I wanted to add just to show you this morning in class.  So this book aims to improve your photography through various techniques and here it begins with the double exposure - so what I will do is create the same effect as a further experiment in how to produce the images I would like on the wooden panels I wanted to create.  Obviously, this method is prior to Photoshop but I will essentially do the same with two images ...

So I took my student card image from 1997 

I then cropped the photo on Photoshop so I had just my face.  I then found some images from a macro class of roses.  I changed this to black and white by going to Image, Adjustments, black and white.  Then I adjusted the size and resolution of both images so they were 10 x 8 cm, 300ppi.

This means that I could then simply put the flower over my face and then lower the opacity to around 35% essentially making the image see-through 

I then adjusted the flower around my face until I felt that it made a good double exposure.  Then I simply flattened the images together and cropped to create this final image...

I actually considered that this image worked quite well, it looks as if I am wearing a head covering and this changes the original meaning and look to the image - original purpose student identity - end result - a work of art!

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Research Methods

 Please note that this post is just an example for the pre-masters students only! 

An introduction to research for creative arts students: visual resear…

Introduction to research for creative arts students

What research methods have you employed for this project and why?

My research methods so far for this project have been secondary research  - all my sources were from the internet or from books.

I have employed this in the following posts:

  • Helen Chadwick 
  • Materiality and the Image
  • Materiality and the Image: Project Sign Off
  • Further Research: The Turin Shroud
  • Object Lesson: Saint Veronica
  • Welcome Post
In terms of primary research - I have created a prototype and researched the materials and techniques I needed for these

  • Experiments with Materiality: Equipment & Techniques I
  • Experiments with Materiality: Equipment & Techniques II

What have you researched and why was this important? (i.e. how did it inform your work?)

Using both primary and secondary research I have been able to explore my subject through looking at the background inspiration - this was Saint Veronica and the Turnin Shroud to consider how I might use these as a springboard for my own ideas. 

I then went on to add further research by looking at the work of Anselm Keifer, Helen Chadwick, Natasha Caruana and consider how they approached their work and what techniques they used.

This meant that I could then experiment with the techniques of Decal and using photographs on fabric. Chadwick used a different technique by exposing the image directly onto wood using a light sensitive photo paint - the decal using a transfer method which was possible working from home with a printer and physical materials.  

What further research methods do you intend to use and what will you research?

I will need to do the following research:

Target Market Research - looking at who would be interested in my work and how I would get my work seen by the right audience.  I will need to look at demographics and the art market 

I could also do some Qualitative research to find out opinions about my work when I am closer to completing this.

I will be also looking at further concept research on Ryan Foester and Israel Regardie and the Golden Dawn.

I will then also explore further how I might display the work on my website in more creative way using digital tools. 

As artists and designers we develop and grow through practice-based research and this is what I am incorporating here using a variety of methods


Wednesday 5 August 2020

Photographic Plan: Subject & Theme

A couple of years ago I created a one-off piece of work which was just called 'suck and blow' (2018) I have been thinking about this piece of work as I think the layout of the images could really work for the panels I would like to create in this new work.  

Suck & Blow (2018) Zoe Van-de-Velde

The use of the four corners could work well as I was considering the idea of using ritual magic elements of earth, air, fire, and water and so the panels would almost become a working magical altar.  

These are usually represented by symbols as below: 

So in the panels, I will create I will use this idea of an altar  - here is an altar based on the ideas of the Golden Dawn.  The Golden Dawn was a magical order; 'The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which started in the late 1800s, borrowed from a wide variety of occult traditions of Kabalah, Tarot, Geomancy, Enochian Magic, Theosophy, Freemasonry, Paganism, Astrology, and many more o and created a unique and viable system of magic that is still being practiced today.' (Regardie 1986) 

Like Chadwick's work I want to use the flesh in the images and the idea of anonymity and universality, I would like to incorporate so each panel maybe like a Japanese poem painting will be symbolic with flesh and objects relating to the element it represents.  These panels would then become a magical altar.  I am going to research further into the placement of symbols and objects in ritual magic to consider how to create each piece faithfully.


Museum of Witchcraft & Magic (2017) 960 – SLATE ALTAR WITH HEXAGRAMS AND TRIANGLES [Online] Available From:
(Accessed 05/08/20)

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Helen Chadwick: Ego Geometria Sum/The Labours

Ego Geometria Sum The Labours I - X', Helen Chadwick, 1986 | Tate

Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) was an artist who really embraced the materiality of things.  Her work included the photographs on objects as bove but also bodily fluids (Piss Flowers (1991-1992), meat (Enfleshings I & II 1989) & (Meat Abstracts 1989), fur (Philoxenia 1994-1995) and many others.  Chadwick's kinaesthetic relationship with the physical runs through all her work and the work I am discussing here.  She began with a full-size self-portrait which 'she painted photographic emulsion onto plywood and exposed monochromatic images in washed-out hues' (Sladen M 2004).  She then began to place these images onto objects that showed different times in her life from a baby (pram) to school and later life using objects such as a piano, tent front door of a house.  She poses naked in each one to make the shape of the object.

It is interesting that as Chadwick creates these sculptures that in all she chooses not to show her face, Sladen states this 'emphasises the universal quality of the work' Sladen M, 2004) and this is always an important factor as an artist creating work that comes from yourself but the world can connect to. I am going to be using a slightly different process that Chadwick here as I will be using the decal but this idea of personal and universal has to come through so that it has a wider meaning.  The flesh and the object really connect in these images they have meaning to the artist and this embedding of the artist into the object is very interesting creating an eternal connection between them and also as she used images through her life, a life story through objects.   

I will come back to these themes as I develop my own work here as there are very important elements of connection and universality that I would like to explore further. 


The Tate (2020) Helen Chadwick, The Labours I - X [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

The Tate (2020) Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

Sladen M.(2004) Helen Chadwick, Corporation of London, Hatje Cantz Verlag. London

Materiality & The Image: Project Plan

All projects need a plan - please find my project plan here Materiality & The Image Project Plan

The work above are Lead Books by Anselm Kiefer.  The Royal Academy of the Arts writes; 'Books – often with wings – have been a repeated motif since the late 1960s and represent, for Kiefer, important repositories of learning, religion, culture. Many of these book sculptures are made of lead, which Kiefer first used to mend his plumbing in the 1970s. He has subsequently described it as “the only material heavy enough to carry the weight of human history”.' (RA: Anselm Kiefer 2020) 

This weight of human history is one of the key elements to Kiefer's work which is post-second world war and shows the aftermath and devastation created by war using German myths and legends.  His work also uses a wide variety of mixed media including lead (as above) but also concrete, stone, ash, straw, shellac, paint, and photographs.  The work is often massive and in the case of the books extremely heavy.  The work is meant so that we do not forget history and that we face what we have done.  Kiefer States: '"Art really is something very difficult," he says. "It is difficult to make, and it is sometimes difficult for the viewer to understand … A part of it should always include having to scratch your head."' (Prodger 12/09/2014) 

I went to the RA exhibition in 2014 and the massive work in the space was truly overwhelming, to see Kiefer's work in a book does not make you really understand it.  Being in front of the work you almost become part of it, it consumes you, takes you in and you feel something profound.  I have cried in front of these works.  In relation to my own work here I am also (in a much much smaller way) attempting to use photographs on wood.  The reason for choosing wood is that wood had a history, through the grain, you can feel the years it has a beauty and by embedding the image into the wood It feels as if the image becomes part of a new history.  I will write more about this as I go along but I am very interested in using ritual magic and the Kabbalah as Kiefer has done in his images and I will be exploring the subject matter of the photography in more detail in later posts.


Prodger M. (12/09/2014) The Guardian, Inside Anselm Kiefer's astonishing 200-acre art studio [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

Royal Academy (2020) Anselm Kiefer: A Beginner's Guide [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

Rosenthal M. (1987) Anselm Kiefer, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Chicago & Philadelphia