Thursday 28 October 2021

IIM: Ideas & Initial Research

 The Swimming Hole image from Eakins inspired me to create a coffee shop brand.  for my portfolio I will create the brand and logo, merchandising, an Instagram page, a menu, and offer leafet and business cards digital/hard copy.

Thomas Eakins The Swimming Hole (1885)

Here is a quick mock up of my first ideas - I just used tailor brands 

Business Cards

The logo I like the style, colour and font - but I could work on something like this myself in Photoshop and make this more dynamic 

Website and merchandise.  I would like to make a real t-shirt and I want to also create a menu design 

Looking at other Instagram sites for coffee - I looked at Costa and I could see how I could brand and sell on Instagram - photographs of my branded coffee and show the lifestyle by the river to feed into the brand

Costa have a brand mission statement and this I would write for my own brand so that I have a real brand story 

These are just a few quick ideas however more research is needed to make sure I am selling looking at demographics and design and I will explore this further for my project. 

Tuesday 26 October 2021

IIM: The Swimming Hole: First Impressions


Thomas Eakins: The Swimming Hole (1884-5)

What first impressions do you have?

Beautiful sunshine, the smell of a sunny day and freshwater, the feel of water on my skin. The warm sun touched my skin.  The trees gently rustling in the breeze, the joy of watching young men swim!  Joy and laughter

What does it make you think of?

As above, reminds me of Jarnac in France when we spent a day sitting by the river.  I paddled and collected stones, the water was crystal clear.  I lay on the grass in the warm sun and ate an ice lolly.  

What connection can you find with the image? 

Summer holidays, photographing people outside in the sun, photographing the body and finding beauty 

How could this be a starting point to your own work? 

Thinking about how to photograph the body, something conceptual perhaps text/image - pieces of me

Friday 22 October 2021

Project Plan: My Father

 Please see my project plan here, I have used Visme so that there is a more visual and personalised plan!

My Father: Project Sign Off

 Here is my project sign off for my Digital Arts Project this term

I thought I would also share this picture as it made me smile!

Initial Research: Richard Billingham


Richard Billingham was an art student who took photographs of his parents (Ray and Liz) originally as studies for paintings.  'A tutor on Billingham’s art degree course at Sunderland University came across the photographs in a plastic bag and Billingham ended up displaying them in all their flash-lit squalor: toothless and shirtless Ray cradling pop bottles of home brew; Liz, with her lavishly tattooed slabs of arms and vast floral print frocks, lost in her jigsaw puzzles or TV dinners. Taken together – “Ray’s a Laugh” is what Billingham called them – they seemed to provide a tragicomic through-the-keyhole of degraded post-Thatcherite Britain.' (Adams, 2019)  These photographs ended up in the 1997 Saatchi Sensation show.  Billingham's parents both died prematurely and in 2019 Billingham made a film about his parents and childhood - please see the trailer below

Billingham came from an impoverished and difficult background and managed to 'get himself onto a pre-degree art course and then to university, all while stacking shelves at a supermarket to pay his way.'  (Fullerton, 2016) Much of Billingham's subsequent work is about his family and the urban landscape he grew up in.  The two images below are of his Father using mixed media.  

Billingham did not intend to become a photographer and he was offered a chance to a book of his photos and Billingham stated; 'I had this opportunity to publish about 50 of them in a book, I wasn’t sure about doing it because I didn’t want to be classed as a photographer – I didn’t want to be pigeonholed. I wanted to be an artist. I talked to a friend from Sunderland, and he said ‘you might as well do the book. Francis Bacon was a furniture designer before he became an artist… if you do the book of photographs, well, photography is closer to painting than furniture design’. (Macdonald, 2007).  Billingham still makes films, photographs, and teaches.  

I have looked at the work of Billingham here as from his work there is a sense of the time that these were taken and this is the same time as I was growing up, Billingham was born in 1970, I was born in 1974 and so the backdrop of the photos are familiar to me although my childhood was not like this, it was chaotic in a different way and through photography, I found a kind of salvation behind the camera.  These images were important to my photography education when they came out 30 or so years ago, they showed something to me about photography and how it could be used to tell a personal story, I did not need fancy equipment, just me and my camera.  A true inspiration. 


Adams, T., 2019. Richard Billingham: ‘Statistically, I should be in prison, dead or homeless’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Fullerton, E., 2016. Down and Out and Back Again: Richard Billingham’s Photographic Past Takes on New Life – [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Macdonald, G., 2007. Richard Billingham | Photoworks. [online] Photoworks. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Wednesday 20 October 2021

SMART Objective: My Father


I will be creating a short film 5-7 minutes long using still images, text and music to celebrate the life of my Father.  I will be using photographs that I already have that I and my family have taken.  I will use Movie Maker and I will write the text and use copyright-free music from the Free Music Archive.  I will add the completed film to my website by the beginning of December.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Initial Ideas: Major Project Autumn 2021

 Initial Ideas: Using Milanote

My Father 

I was going to begin this by saying that I had lost my Father, however, I would like to think my Father is always with me and I can never lose him.  At the beginning of the Pandemic as we were locked down his last words to me as he hugged me was 'everything is going to change now'.  My Father died of Covid complicated by his underlying conditions on April 10th 2020. This project is in remembrance of my Father, for my Father and celebrating his life.  

I have created this Milanote board with my ideas and initial research - you can look at this full size through this link or below

Monday 18 October 2021

Reflection: Joan of Arc


For this project, I wanted to express the faith and strength of Joan of Arc and the fire that turned her into a martyr.  I feel that this image does do that and is successful.  I think though it does need to the text otherwise you would not necessarily associate the image with Joan of Arc.  I like this version as I felt the black and white worked well with the flames bright touching Jesus on the cross.  However, the colour version gives a different feel and depending on where it was hanging or posted I think would depend on the version to e used.  Technically I was pleased with the result - this was a simple project but the image was effective and is of high quality and could be printed for gallery output. 

Process: Joan of Arc

 To create the final piece I used one original image which I took and a stock image.  I wanted to combine these using Photoshop and add a piece of text.

So I began with these two images

I began by making a canvas on Photoshop so just File - new - and then choosing the size, background, and resolution (300ppi) so that it was printable and high quality.

I then opened my cross image and checked for quality 

This is a good clear image with a good depth of field however I did use the curves to brighten this as I felt it could be a little brighter

I then opened changed the size and resolution using Edit - Image- Image Size.  I then added to the canvas that I wanted to use to frame the image so \I made the image smaller than the canvas. 

I then opened the fire image - this image will go over the original image

I changed the image size and resolution again to 300ppi.

I then lowered the opacity of the fire images so that it was transparent enough and give the idea of fire over the cross.  I checked the quality again and then added Text just using the text tools and the Edwardian Script font for the final text.  

This is the final result 

I also tried some different versions of this using a different canvas frame and black and white

It is important to have different design choices so depending on how I wanted to use these I could choose the best version here.  

Further Research: Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted 'Joan of Arc on Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims' in 1854. The painting is in the Louvre Museum in Paris. (Image credit: Public domain)

 Before continuing upon my Journey with Joan of Arc I need to discover more about her life and death as this project is about warriors. Joan of Arc (born c. 1412, Domrémy, Bar, France—died May 30, 1431, Rouen; canonized May 16, 1920; feast day May 30; French national holiday, second Sunday in May) was a peasant girl who believed that she was acting under 'divine guidance' (Lanhers, 2021) to defeat the English during the Hundred Years War.  When she was 16 years old she Joan travelled in May 1428 from Domrémy to Vaucouleurs, to speak to the captain of the garrison, Robert de Baudricourt, for permission to join the dauphin. She was not taken seriously however her determination and piety meant that eventually she earned the respect of the people and the captain and she managed not to be considered a witch or mentally unstable, which was quite a feat for a woman at this time.  

Joan dressed in men's clothes she went with six men to propose her battle plans against the English to the King.   Eventually, an army was mounted however Joan did not engage in active combat she was more a mascot but she was responsible for military strategies 'directing troops and proposing diplomatic solutions to the English (all of which they rejected). Despite her distance from the front lines, Joan was wounded at least twice, taking an arrow to the shoulder during her famed Orléans campaign and a crossbow bolt to the thigh during her failed bid to liberate Paris.' (Cohen, 2021)

Joan of Arc believed she was being directed in her mission by the saints, particularly; St. Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret of Antioch.  Joan of Arc also was known to have a short temper and often disciplined knights and soldiers 'for swearing, behaving indecently, skipping Mass or dismissing her battle plans; she even accused her noble patrons of spinelessness in their dealings with the English.' (Cohen, 2021) At her trial 'when a clergyman with a thick regional accent asked what language her voices spoke, for instance, she retorted that they spoke French far better than he did.'  (Cohen, 2021)  

When she was captured she tried to escape by jumping out of a window into a moat, however, she was knocked unconscious and not seriously hurt.  It was decided she would be tried as a heretic as she claimed to be hearing the voices of the saints and God and she did not act in accordance with the church.  'Further, her trial might serve to discredit Charles VII by demonstrating that he owed his coronation to a witch or at least a heretic.' (Lanhers, 2021) Her trial was complicated and originally there were over 70 charges, Joan refused to answer or clarify points. Eventually, the charges were reduced to 12 and she was threatened with torture if she did not answer these.  However it was decided that she would not respond to torture, she was then sentenced.  (One of the charges was wearing male clothes and, originally she was sentenced to life imprisonment and she seemed to be following the rules one of which was to wear women's clothes, she put these on but days later she was found again wearing men's clothing.  It was decided with that and her continuous relapsing into speaking to the saints and for treason she was handed over to secular authorities where she was sentenced to death by burning at the stake.  'The verdict was never in doubt. 'Her side saw her as a holy virgin, her enemies as a polluted sorceress,” Warner said. She was interrogated thoroughly, the Anglo-Burgundians tried to discredit her by questioning her virginity and linking her to magic. Even her wearing of men’s clothes was used against her, her prosecutors claiming that it was against the natural order of things' (Jarus, 2013) Her last words were 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus'

You can watch the story here..

Joan's story here will help to inform my work, in the piece I am creating I am trying to visually express devout faith and a spirit that would not be broken.  Her unfaltering belief in her mission and her unwavering faith in God that was tested through her imprisonment and trial and through the battles that she directed. She did not falter and this spirit is why she became the Patron Saint of France.  


Lanhers, Y., 2021. Joan of Arc | Biography, Death, Accomplishments, & Facts. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

 Cohen, J., 2021. 7 Surprising Facts About Joan of Arc. [online] HISTORY. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

Jarus, O., 2013. Joan of Arc: Facts & Biography. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

Sunday 10 October 2021

Cross: Contact Sheets

 For the main image for the Joan of Arc project, I have taken macro images of a rosary using Olympus Stylus SH-2. I used the Super macro function

Here are the shots that  think may work well and the settings

ISO 800 1/20 F4.4

ISO 800 1/20 F4.4

ISO 800 1/50 F4.4

ISO 800 1/30 F4.4

ISO 800 1/60 F4.4

These shots have come out well and I have choices of angle and direction which is what I wanted as I need to add this to fire for the final image.  The small depth of field really focuses the attention here and I am hoping this will work well n the final image and not lose impact. 

Joan of Arc: Developing Ideas - Using Stock Images

 I need for my Joan of arc project some stock images of fire.  This is the less dangerous and easy way to get an image like this.  As this is a short project and I am likely to find a good selection.  This is also useful to IYZ students who are doing their advertising projects. 

I will begin by look at Unsplash

Here are some potential images 

Nathan Lindahl (Unsplash)

Be careful on Unsplash as the top images on the page you would need to pay for - scroll down to free images
Cullen Smith (Unsplash)

This image has more potential as there is a black background and no distracting details 

From Pixabay I found these: 

Hans (Pixabay)

Skitterphoto (Pixabay)

I liked this one as it was almost stylized and abstract and I think this could work well with the cross 

Lastly Pexels

Anon Pexels

Could be good that it is simple but maybe too simple 

Icon O (Pexels)

This last one is perhaps a little too violent - I am sure that Joan of Arc's death by fire was much more horrible and violent than looking at this however, I want to get across not the violence but the spiritual transcendence.

This is a good start to the background to the work.  I will now begin taking the photographs for the final piece.

Joan of Arc: Developing Ideas

 In my last post, I had some initial ideas that I was exploring.  I am now exploring these further using different processes.  I began with a few sketches and a prayer invoking the spirit of Joan of Arc for spiritual strength.

I used just a 2b pencil and some coloured pencils for the drawings and I put these together with my quick test shot from the last session on Pixlr.  I created a small canvas and just resized to place the images so that they could be viewed together with the prayer. 

I will now do a photoshoot with the cross and look for stock images for the fire to create the final piece.  I might add a prayer as I liked the text element in this development and this could give more impact on the presentation. 

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Joan of Arc: Initial Ideas for Warrior Project

 Joan of Arc: Initial Ideas

In this post I will outline my initial ideas for the Warrior Project which I am creating for the IIM 

Brief Biography

Joan of Arc was 'born c. 1412, Domrémy, Bar, France—died May 30, 1431, Rouen; She was a national heroine of France, a peasant girl who, believing that she was acting under divine guidance, led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years’ War. Captured a year afterward, Joan was burned to death by the English and their French collaborators as a heretic. She became the greatest national heroine of her compatriots, and her achievement was a decisive factor in the later awakening of French national consciousness.' (Encyclopedia Britannica 2021)

Considering Joan of arc I want to consider the elements that made up her life of martyrdom.  Joan of arc had visions where she believed that God was speaking to her, theories today think that she may have been suffering from mental illness such as;  'one of numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions that trigger hallucinations or delusions, including migraines, bipolar disorder and brain lesions or  that she contracted bovine tuberculosis, which can cause seizures and dementia, from drinking unpasteurized milk and tending cattle as a young girl.' (Cohen, 2021)  This idea of messages from God or a kind of madness could be portrayed through the photographic image also these images come to mind...



Burned at the stake - fire 

Armour, metal, grey


So thinking about the visual imagery I could create photos  - creating a photo using symbolic imagery such as crosses and fire

Using perhaps Rosary beads - here is a test shot I took whilst thinking about this work

Settings F1.9,  Shutter Speed 1/50, ISO 80, WB Auto - no flash 

This was a quick test shot on my phone I will look at other options and will use my camera to take final images.  

These are just some initial thoughts!


Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Joan of Arc | Biography, Death, Accomplishments, & Facts. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 October 2021].

 Cohen, J., 2021. 7 Surprising Facts About Joan of Arc. [online] HISTORY. Available at: [Accessed 5 October 2021].