Week 4 Paper Sculptures, Observational Drawing and Painting 

I can’t believe it’s the last day of CAVA101/102 today. Here are some photos of the work I completed yesterday. While it has flaws in terms of scale of the paper sculptures in relation to each other, I was pretty relieved once I finished my drawing. I think I surprised myself with how well I did as drawing is not something I am good at.

The last session today in class was pretty ambitious in trying to paint on an easel for the first time. I thought the painting I did today was pretty average. I wasn’t really concentrating enough because I was thinking about having to finish off some research for this blog that I thought I would have finished by now. I was planning to work on the blog over the weekend, however ended up having to work a double shift to cover for a colleague who was off sick.

  CAVA101/102:Round 3 Artist Research 

Artist 1: Donald Keys 

Recently I wandered into the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre and came across an exhibition  by Australian contemporary painter Donald Keys titled ‘Art Heads’. This exhibition is a collection of twenty portrait paintings of Australian artists whose work Keys finds inspiring. From Bulli, Keys was inspired to create the works when he himself was sitting for a portrait. ‘Art Heads’ is currently on display at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in Nowra, until the 8th of July of this year.

Better known for his landscape paintings, Keys has spent over two years working on the ‘Art Heads‘ collection.  Below are some photos I took on my iPhone of Keys’ portraits. Most of the collection is painted using acrylic paint. Next to each painting is a story about the artist and their work, which features prominently in the paintings as well.

Keys’ portraits are a good example of the use of colour and how colours interact together. I love how the vibrant colour choices create depth against the lighter colours used in the background. Below are some pictures I took while at the exhibition.

Keys uses vibrant colours in the portrait of the artist, and lighter colours in the background of the work . The use of black, white and grey in the t-shirt reminded me of the recent grayscale exercise we had to do in class.

Resource List: 


A video of the opening of the exhibition ‘Art Heads’ with a short talk from Donald Keys about his work : https://vimeo.com/218732725

Artist 2: Josef Albers 

Josef Albers, along with his wife Anni were among the leading pioneers of twentieth century modernism. In 1950-1958 Albers was chairman of the department of design at the Yale University School of Art. Albers was also an influential teacher, writer, painter and colour theorist.  In 1950, at the age of 62, Albers began a series of works titled ‘Homage to the Square‘. Over the next twenty six years, until his death in 1976, Albers produced hundreds of variations on the basic compositional scheme of three or four coloured squares set inside each other. The image below contains some examples of Albers work in this series.


While the series of paintings in ‘Homage to the Square’ look simple, they are actually more complex than they first appear. The superimposed squares are not merely stacked but rather painted in a manner that draws the eye of the viewer in and out of the work repeatedly; almost to a hypnotising effect. Albers believed that teaching art was not a matter of teaching techniques or imparting rules, but of leading students to a greater awareness of what they were seeing. His work ‘Homage to the Square‘ is a great example of Albers extending the viewers knowledge of how colours interact with each other.  The colours that Albers has utilised in his work has been meticulously calculated such that each square seems to be altering in size. I find Albers work relevant to what I have been learning in the studio sessions about how complementary and tertiary colours interact with each other. 

Resource List:


Artist 3: Larry Bell

Larry Bell is a contemporary American artist and sculptor who lives and works in New Mexico. In 1963 Bell began exploring the passing of light through cube sculptures made of glass. Bell found that presenting these sculptures on pedestals made of transparent glass offered the viewer the essence of the captured light; challenging notions of mass, volume and gravity. 

One of my favourite sculptures of Bell’s is his glass red cubes which have featured in an exhibition titled Pacific Red II. These cubes are shown below displayed at an outdoor terrace at The Whitney Museum in Manhattan.  

Bell’s Pacific Red II, 2017, Whitney Museum, NYC

Bell installed six cubes of different saturation red laminated glass. Inside each cube is a smaller cube of a deeper shade of red. These cubes are like a 3D homage to Josef Alber’s own ‘Homage to the Square’ series. The Pacific Red cubes remind me of what we have be learning about this week about light, tone when drawing and painting geometric forms in the studio. 

Resource List: 


Week 3: Black, Grey & White

This weeks studio sessions focused on exercises in black and white, and mixing paint to create a gradient from white to black. I had about four attempts at trying to get my greys in the correct percentage order. While I don’t think I got it quite right I learnt a lot about mixing black and white together. One thing I learnt is that you don’t need a lot of black paint as it is more dominant than white.

I enjoyed making the collages more so than the painting and drawing. I set out choosing this class to get me out of my comfort zone. For a long time I have told myself that I can’t draw. Drawing is perhaps the thing that I have feared the most about studying this degree. I find it really hard not to be distracted by other people in the studio. There is so many talented people in this class. I have also found this round more intense than the last two in creating a much larger portfolio than the previous two classes. Even with working through the break time I find that I still have tasks that I need to work on at home.

Excursion to Wollongong Art Gallery + Interaction of Colour Exercises 

Today our class is going on an excursion to Wollongong Art Gallery. It’s a nice day to be out of the studio. On my way to catch the free bus into Wollongong CBD I have been collecting samples of leaves for the mixing and matching exercise we have to do as part of our studio work. Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year. In choosing my five samples I have tried to be selective and collect from a range of complex colours from the colour charts I completed in week two.

Image of tree outside of Wollongong Art Gallery

Beautiful artwork on outside of Wollongong Art Gallery

While at the Art Gallery we saw an exhibition called ‘The source’ by painter John Bokor. Shown below are some of the photos I took of Bokor’s paintings. It was really interesting to see the use of layering in the paintings and the way Bokor left some of the charcoal sketch showing in the completed work. 

When we returned to the studio on Wednesday we began a new task, making paper collages from coloured paper based on some verbal instructions from our teacher Greg Hodge. We also got to have a go at using the interaction of colour app.  The image below is of the paper collages I made in class.

Colour/Light/Space Wk 2 

This week we spent time mixing paint to create chromatic grey colour charts. I managed to complete the three colour charts. I found it really difficult to get the right amount of paint mixed while completing this exercise. This led to problems when trying to complete the 3rd and 4th rows. In the last fifteen minutes of yesterday’s session I started on my blue/orange colour chart. I am not sure how today’s painting session is going to go on only about three hours sleep. Spent most of yesterday after class at Shoalhaven Hospital with sick family members.


End result of chromatic colour exercises 

Round 3 Colour/Light/Space Day 1 

Day 1 Reflection: During the first class of colour/light/space we had to paint two colour wheels. The above images are progress shots of my work and of the studio space.I haven’t painted anything in a very long time so my painting skills are more than a little rusty. It took a little getting used to in sharing a studio with other students. At times it was very distracting as the studio is located next to performing arts students who were more than a little noisy at times. 

Reflection on Round 2 Workshop


During the past several weeks I have been learning to create vector illustrations from the rubbish that we collected on day one in class. I have enjoyed experimenting with applying pantone colours and duotones to my vector illustrations. I feel that I have learned a lot in the past four weeks about colour and composition. In applying colour to my compositions I was influenced by the artists that I researched and also by the colours that surround us on a daily basis through advertising and other media. I also experimented with and researched the ways in which optical illusions are created.

During the studio sessions I found that some pantone colours that looked great on the computer screen did not translate as well once printed out. The colours that I ended up selecting were a result of  experimenting with how various shades worked together on the page to create depth and contrast. The final works that I am submitting in my portfolio for this workshop round are a result of trial and error in the printing process. In looking at my portfolio as a whole I can see the progress I have made and how my creative ideas have been shaped and moulded by what I have learned this semester.


Round 2 collection of work for submission

Working in Photoshop with Duotones 

Above are some of the works that I created using photoshop. Prior to this workshop I had never used photoshop before. Initially I struggled to grasp how to use the tools in photoshop. Through help from our tutor and other classmates I managed to complete the above three works within the last half hour of class after having no idea of what I wanted to create. I think these works show a less structured way of thinking about my work. Usually I always have a concept in mind or a pattern that I am working to which is particularly evident in my previous works. My favourite from the three is the last one both in colour and composition. What I really liked about using photoshop was experimenting with opacity in making some layers more transparent and the tonal qualities that could be achieved through using duotones.

Research Task 2: Mandy Barker


Mandy Barker is an international award winning photographer who has achieved global recognition for her creative works involving marine plastic debris. One of her works which I find interesting in terms of composition is the SOUP series; which has been published in over 30 countries. Barker’s SOUP is a collection of works which references the mass accumulation of plastic debris that exists in an area of the North Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as the garbage patch.

Barker states that the aim of her work is to engage the viewer and stimulate an emotional reaction through creating a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction; with the subsequent message of environmental awareness. One of the ways that Barker engages with the viewer is through using colourful objects on a dark background, initially attracting the viewer’s attention through the use of colour. Once Barker has the viewer’s attention she is able to utilise compositional strategies such as repetition and scale to create an awareness of the volume of the waste that is floating in the ocean. By using a black or dark blue background Barker makes her items appear almost as if they are floating or moving through space.

Below are some examples of Barker’s work from the SOUP series.


photo © Mandy Barkerphoto © Mandy Barker Mandy Barker


Further Links




Artist 2: Stefan Sagmiester

Stefan Sagmiester is a New York graphic designer and photographer. One of Sagmiester’s works that I found interesting was his installation at The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 called ‘The Happy Show’. Below are a few images of the installation which was large in scale; filling the entire second floor of the contemporary art gallery.

Although there is a lot of designs from roadwork signs to fashion that use the same combination of black and yellow, what I find fascinating about Sagmiester’s installation ‘The Happy Show’ is that he has used yellow as a representation of happiness, implying there is an emotional connection that occurs with colour selection.  In my own selection of pantone colours initially I was experimenting with a blue colour palette then I decided to explore the use pale yellow, bright yellow and black in my ring pull series of vectors.










Working in Illustrator using Pantone Colours 

‘Optical Illusions can use colour, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains. The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain, creating a perception that in reality, does not match the true image’ (Cecala, 2017).

The below images are some examples of optical illusions that I found in my travels exploring Crown Street Mall in Wollongong for inspiration in choosing a colour palette for my vector illustrations.

I have been experimenting with using Pantone colours for a series of works based on one of my found objects which was a ringpull off a tuna can. I decided to focus on selecting just one item and repeating it to create a flower shape. From there I applied scale to create layers of petals. The composition at this stage

The images below are some screenshots of my work in progress. The compositional strategies I have used in my work include repetition, contrast, scale, layering, bleeding and negative space. Limited to choosing only 3 Pantone colours, I have been experimenting with different colour palettes and how colour and design choices can create optical illusions.

In the above image I have experimented with using the yellow as the background colour. In reversing the colour selection it engages the viewer in a different way and creates a different emotional response. The brightness of the background makes the items pop more off the page. The image also uses repetition of the ringpull to create petal shapes. I used scale to make the image appear like I had zoomed in on the flower.

In this experiment I have used a dark blue background. I like the negative space that I have left in the opposite corners. I also like how the centre of the flower goes from light to dark yellow. In this image I wanted to explore how what different colour gradients can add to the image to create an optical illusion.

In the above image I have explored using black to create silhouette flower shapes.