Painting Inspirations

These are the artists that I  used though out the painting project to inform and inspire my decisions on what I should do throughout the painting process.

There were several artists that I initially wanted to use. Unfortunately there is not enough literature on them to be able to quote that I used them, especially in my artist statement. These included an anonymous artist named Caia, where upon I could only find one of her paintings that was relevant to the piece that I was designing.

Source: Journey On

Source: Forest Fire

Source: Rapture

I was inspired by the strong use of the colours in sometimes partly undefined shapes to create a painting. I was also attracted by the painting ‘Forest Fire’ as personally, I was confused by where each tree trunk began and end as they merge into one. And yet, the trunks are all still defined and are individual in one forest. I wish to bring that aspect into my own painting.

I also looked at the Instagram photographer Mike Kus who often takes photos in clear reflections. I was inspired in the way in which the reflection that he was able to capture was as clear as the object itself.

View this post on Instagram

#Chichester Reflected. #reflection #officecommute

A post shared by Mike Kus (@mikekus) on

Source: Mike Kus

Source: Mike Kus

View this post on Instagram

More of #Berlin reflected. #btconf #reflection

A post shared by Mike Kus (@mikekus) on

Source: Mike Kus

I also had a quick look at the work of Pete Gilbert. He is an artist that works and lives in the New Forest, and so I found it appropriate to look at his work. The work of his is also very free, much like Caia’s and yet also very natural. The works are colourful, and I hope to have as many colours within the painting to express the mood and the atmosphere in not only the painting, but the individual areas of the painting too.

Source: Pete Gilbert

Source: Pete Gilbert


There were then the artists that inspired these artists, and these are the artists that I intend to use to inform my practice and technique throughout this project. The inspirations are not only artists as I also looked at books and films to inform by decision about the way in which I was going to paint. All of these inspired me in different ways including that of composition, use of colour palette and the general technique of painting and mark making.

Paul Klee Trees

  • It is not the way in which Paul Klee paints trees, in a blocky, unrealistic way, but the passionate way in which he describes them, that caught my eye.

“Le noyer”
Arbre qui, de sa place,
fièrement arrondit
tout autour cet espace
de l’été accompli,
arbre dont le volume
rond et abondant
prouve et résume
ce que l’on attend longtemps:
j’ai pourtant vu rougir
tes feuilles en devenant vertes:
de cette pudeur offerte
ta magnificence, certes,
les veut à présent punir.
Arbre, toujours au milieu
de tout ce qui l’entoure –,
arbre qui savoure
la voûte entière des cieux,
toi, comme aucun autre
tourné vers partout:
on dirait un apôtre
qui ne sait pas d’où
Dieu lui va apparaître . . .
Or, pour qu’il soit sûr,
il développe en rond son être
et lui tend des bras mûrs.
Arbre qui peut-être
pense au dedans:
antique Arbre-maître
parmi les arbres servant!
Arbre qui se domine,
se donnant lentement
la forme qui élimine
les hasards du vent:
plein de forces austères
ton ombre claire nous rend
une feuille qui désaltère
et des fruits persévants.

—R. M. Rilke

Allow me to use a simile, the simile of the tree. The artist has studied this manifold world and has, so we may suppose, somehow found his way in it, quietly. He is so well oriented that he can bring order to the flight of appearances and experiences. This orientation in the things of nature and of life, this multifarious ramified and branching order, I would liken to the root system of the tree. From here the juices flow to the artist, passing through him and through his eye. Thus he stands in the position of the trunk. Battered and moved by the power of the flow, he introduces what he is seeing into the work. Just as the crown of the tree visibly expands in every direction in time and space, so does the work.

I Tree which, from its place,
proudly rounded
All around this space
Of the summer accomplished,
Tree whose volume
Round and abundant
Proves and summarizes
What we wait a long time:
I have seen blushing
Your leaves becoming green:
Of this modesty offered
Your magnificence, certainly,
Now wants to punish them.
Tree, always in the middle
Of all that surrounds it -,
Tree that savors
The whole vault of the heavens,
You, like no other
Turned towards everywhere:
He looks like an apostle
Who does not know where
God will appear to him…
However, for it to be safe,
It develops in round its being
And hands him ripe arms,
Tree that may be
Think within:
Antique Master Tree
Among the trees serving!
Tree that dominates,
Giving itself slowly
The form that emliminates
The wind hazards:
Full of austere forces
Your clear shadow makes us
A leaf that quenches
And persistent fruits.
– R. Mr. Rilke



Elizabeth Magill

  • The slightly colourful mist and eerie feeling that the paintings create by using a misty background and coming further into focus to the foreground where  upon there are trees and twigs. I would like to somewhat recreate this.
  • The ‘creepy’ twigs – I don’t necessarily want twigs in the painting as I am working with evergreen trees, however I want them to be ‘creepy’, such like these twigs.

Most landscape painting focuses on the land: its valleys, its horizons, its mountain peaks. But for Irish painter Elizabeth Magill, the sky is the main attraction. In her work, the earth is often nothing more than a hulking silhouette separated from the heavens by a carefully drawn horizon line, while vast patches of sky, marked out with birds, solidly occupy the majority of the canvas. Sometimes no land is visible at all; its existence is implied only by tree-tops or wires from an electric bus or tram. In almost every case, what’s above is more interesting than what lies below.






Under the Skin (Film)

  • A dark and mysterious forest that which strange happenings occur to the central character. This is the same sensation that I wish for the viewer to have when viewing my painting.



Cabin Porn (Book)

  • This book presents wonderful cabins that which I would like to take a large amount of inspiration from in order to design a derelict house on the water of the painting.





Antony Gormley

  • This is a childhood artist whom I have loved ever since I first saw this piece. It is not the piece itself that interests and inspires me, but rather the view that you have when lying down on the floor and looking across. This is the stepping of the each individual sculpture to make the forest. This is what I want to recreate through the forest in my painting.

Anselm Kieter

  • The erratic nature of the way in which he paints to create scenes such as forests and fields. I would also like to use this erratic nature in the painting of the trees to continue the creepy feeling of the forest.




Peter Doig – White Canoe

  • From the Friday 13th film still, a creepy sensation comes across from both the film still and the Peter Doig paintings. The colour palette and brash brush strokes helps create this.
  • The layering of the brash brush strokes and colours helps create the atmosphere and this is something that I wish to try and recreate when painting.




Stills from Friday 13th (Film)


Peter Doig – Concrete Cabin

  • The same brash brush strokes used as in the White Canoe pieces.
  • The bark and the visual texture of the trees in particular in these pieces are what I would like to replicate if I need to paint the base of the trees.






Peter Doig – Reflections

  • Reflections in general – I am still unsure whether I want to do the exact replica either side of the middle of the painting or whether I wish to make it slightly blurry. Whichever way I decide to do the reflection, I hope to take some inspiration from these paintings in order to get the complete reflection.




Alex Hartley

  • Derelict settings for sometimes very modern looking sheds and huts. This derelict and un-visited look is something that I wish to recreate in the medium of painting, instead of photography.
  • Different forests have different sorts of huts and houses. The evergreen forest photographed has a very shed-looking sort of house, which is what I am aiming for in my painting.




Zeng Fanzhi

  • The use of bright and slightly washed colours in the background is something that is an element that I wish to have in my own painting.
  • The layered colours in the background and the twigs in the foreground is also an element that I wish to have. The layers will also be shown within the forest as I wish for it to look deep and also very dark.






Neo Rauch

  • The use of juxtaposed colours within the painting creates strange scenes. I would like to use the same, or a similar colour palette within my painting as it would hopefully help create the contrasting moods and atmospheres that I wish to have in the painting.
  • The fairy tale image that the paintings have is also something I would like as the text from which my painting is derived from sounds like it is a scene from a story like this.
  • The juxtaposition of the oversized people versus the smaller houses is also strange. Everything is in proportion, however, not in size. This is like the description of the girl in the text, which is something I am considering to add to the painting in order to follow the writing piece that I was given.


For more information on Neo Rauch’s latest work visit; Adventures in London(land).

Painting Process

1 . Planning

See Conceptual Writing – Interpretation of Others. I decided to carry on with the initial ideas of derelict houses and forests where nature and man are becoming one (well, more nature than anything). From here, I had no idea what to do.

I wanted to continue with my question ‘What way is up?’, so I know I wanted to work with a long, thin canvas, in order to gain this effect. I would then split it in half and work like so. This led me to the conclusion that I needed to build a new canvas as I could not produce the painting that I wanted on the canvas I originally made.

I also made some initial paintings and colour swatches of what sorts of things that I wanted within the painting. I did the paintings with watercolour as I found these easy to manipulate in the situation to create a coloured wash of the sky and the layered forest. I chose to create the small swabs straight from acrylic paint tubes. I did it this way as it was quick and easy, and also I would be using many colours straight from the tube when painting on the canvas. These included everything from grass green to brilliant red.


There were also several artists that I initially wanted to use. Unfortunately there is not enough literature on them to be able to quote that I used them, especially in my artist statement. These can be found in Painting Inspirations.

I also found initial photos that helped me make my first decisions about the first layout and the way in which I want to paint the canvas. These were all photos found on the internet. These included everything from basic forests in Canada and America, and sheds and huts that are found commonly in back gardens. This simple beginning stage of finding these photos also helped me to chose further artists and also helped with the general layout of the painting itself.












2. Making the canvas

This was a 60 x 190 cm canvas that I made. These dimensions were chosen as I felt like they were going to be easy to work with when creating the painting that I had envisioned. It did end up as a bent frame as it was difficult to build flat (the tables were not big enough and I could not find anything to support it properly). I do not mind this, even though when it hangs on the wall it will be slightly skewed on the bottom end.


3. Seminar

Through the use of a seminar with some of my peers, I was able to help develop others ideas and sketches of their paintings, as well as developing my own through the information about new artists, films and books.

To view all inspirations including that of the artists, books and films, see; Painting Inspirations

Through the use of the new inspirations of artists, films and books, I did some research into whether I thought they would be valuable to my inspiration for this painting. Not only did I find them inspiring, but I also played a little game to find other contemporary artists that might further inform my work. This involved searching up the existing artist, for example, Peter Doig, on Google. Once I had found the gallery in which Peter Doig was based, I then looked at the other artists that the gallery also showed. These were sometimes very similar artists, and sometimes very different and unique artists. From here, I found several other artists, who can also be found in the Painting Inspirations post.

4. Artist Statement

To see the progression of the artist statement and the planning I used to produce it, go to; Artist Statement Planning. To see the final artist statement go to; Artist Statement.

I completed my artist statement as I was painting the last few parts onto the canvas. It helped that I was developing both my statement and painting in conjunction with each other as I feel like this has both helped them to strength and help explain each other.

5. Photography of progression



6. The finished piece

I think that I was not completely happy with the overall finish of the piece as it is not what I envisioned, or intended it, to be. This put aside, I also do not wish to paint trees for a very, very long time! I often found it tedious, especially as I was working so close to the canvas. From a distant viewpoint I am certainly happier with the trees and the colours of which I have used for them. It does seem a little like an optical illusion, as to me, everything isn’t quite sitting right within the painting. for example, the trees seem like they are over hanging too much and there is not much shadow underneath them, and the hut also seems randomly placed there. But there is also a question that arises in this; is the floating fake to create the image of a rushed painting, or an illusion to create a creepy, mysterious setting and forest? Personally, I believe it is the first one, however the creepy setting is a very cool idea too.

I was not used to oil paints as I often work in acrylic and occasionally water colour. My preferred medium is graphite, which is entirely different to oil paints. This, therefore took a little getting used to, especially when using turpentine to thin the paints down and white spirit to clean the brushes, all instead of just water. It was a good experience though as the paint was thick, and easy to work with when thick – a texture that I wished to used to make the trees more three dimensional and realistic. It was also surprisingly easy to water it down using the turpentine to create the light background of the colourful haze.

If I am honest, I would want to start again. My canvas was wonky, the trees are all very repetitive and everything seems like it is floating. However, I am also very happy with the overall final piece, as this is a new experience for me, from making the frame and the canvas to painting with oil paints and turpentine. Lastly, I would suggest having a very aired room when using turpentine as for the sky, I was pretty much painting with it, and it can go to your head very quickly! I have to say that I cannot wait to try painting with oils again!


Painting Experiments

As I had never worked with oil paint before now, I decided that I needed to get some experience in using them, and did experimentations before each new part of the painting process.


I have never worked with oil paints before and so this was just testing the waters. Here I have experimented with blue oil paint and turpentine to ‘water down’ the paint.


This was a quick interpretation of another person’s conceptual text that they received. I used acrylic paints for this as not only were they more readily available, but I also find then easier to control, especially in situations such as these.


Experimentation of the sky/background of the painting using oil paints, turpentine and paper. Is was very hard to control and water down and I was very worried that it would appear dark on the canvas. It ended up being easier to control on the canvas as it did not soak up the paint or the turpentine as quick as the paper.


These are the general experiments that I did before starting to paint the trees on the canvas.


The top experimentation was how I was used to doing trees – very rough and long brush strokes. I did have to YouTube how to paint evergreen trees in oil paint as this is an experience that I have not yet had. The smaller trees are the experimentations that I did during the video. Source:


Large tree experimentation. I decided to do a larger tree in order to determine whether I could do the same style of tree painting on larger trees, for example, the size that I wish to do on the canvas.


Palette during painting. I used various colours to create the depth and atmosphere in the forest.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen

I’m not sure how to start this one off because this week, well this week it was just weird and slightly uncomfortable. Warning: this post contains descriptions of what I can only call pornography.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen is an artist based in London whose research-led practice manifests as exhibitions, interdisciplinary seminars and publications. Her work takes the form of woodcut prints, sculptures, CGI and VR animations that typically foreground the body’s industrial complex in the pharmaceutical, porn and tech-industries. The artist talk will focus on the female avatar ‘EVA v3.0’, a royalty-free product sold online by TurboSquid, a company that supplies stock 3D models for computer games and adult entertainment. The EVA v3.0 avatar is the  main protagonist in Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s recent work (The CGI and VR animations: Seroquel®, 2014; No right way 2 cum, 2015 and DICKGIRL 3D(X), 2016) – and an object in her research on post-human sex.

Other Links 

Website: Sidsel Meineche Hansen

Exhibition at Gasworks, London.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR, 2016.

Interview in Fader Magazine: SECOND SEX WAR Explores The Limits And Freedom Of Our Bodies In Virtual Reality

Sidsel Meineche Hansen “INSIDER” at Cubitt Gallery, London, November 5, 2014

Source: Information email received prior to the talk

I have to say that throughout this talk, I was talking notes, and every time I looked up, it was some sort of new CGI porn. Yes, you did read that right and I do not blame you if you had to re-read that a few times.  What made it even weirder was that Sidsel mentioned at the very beginning that she is not used to talking about her artwork because she is usually teaching.

Sidsel’s work looks  lot at the gender aspects of the working relation and looks a lot at the porn industry and how this can be recreated without humans, by using different programmes and creating CGI porn herself.


This is what Sidsel mentioned that she feels like a lot of her work is based on. This was seen in the video that she showed us (mentioned below). There were also quotes that references her work from Sadie Plant and VR, which has not only inspired her work, but also helped it grow. ‘How can institutional critique in art be redefined…?’ and ‘What is an artwork doing?’ are just some of the questions that were displayed.

The first piece that was shown to us however, was not porn. Seroquel, the video, looked at an anti psychotic drug and mentioned very mentally heavy topics such as life, suicide, and questions as to whether pharmaceuticals will help in these situations. She uses specifically CGI within this video, which is also the means to produce the 3D porn. This video had in the background very strange music that almost matched up with what was on the screen. There was also a somewhat robotic voice that lead us through the questions and the journey that they were going to take to kill themselves and through to the drugs. The visuals at several points did make it feel as though I was on these drugs.

Sidsel mentioned that she bought a programme called EVA V3 to build the characters, rooms, situations and pretty much everything else to produce the videos. Through this programme, she looked at how gender is commodified and often how things can be both object and subject at the same time, perhaps seen in pornography. Through this, Sidsel also looked at the simple reproduction of the gender binary e.g. as often in EVA V3 there were hands that looked like either men’s or women’s – there was no middle ground.

I did think at first that Sidel’s work was only bordering on pornography, however, I became very uncomfortable and aware that it was not bordering, but rather it was pornography, when she showed us ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’. This is a CGI video of a woman fingering herself and then cum spraying over the screen. Not what I was expecting.

Sidsel also pointed out that her aim is to bring feminist discourse and technique into the performance space, whether that be the video, etchings, woodcut prints or clay work that she produces. Linking into this, she often looks at the relationship between the avatar, space and sex. She often looks into the porn industry to see the changes that have been made in relation to the feminist discourse and technique. She also explores the genre of porn and body horror and the effect of these on the body, which she looks at through her work.

Source: Cubitt Artists


Source: Torture me so I can learn

Source: Second Sex War

Source: Seroquel

Source: Second Sex War

Source: Seroquel

Artist Statement

The main concept behind my painting is the confusion of reality, and the interconnection between man and nature. With the increasing growth of the manmade structures, nature is often pushed to the side, and sometimes even forgotten about. In a world where everything is electronic, we can often forget what reality is. My painting is a part of this story, a question of reality encapsulated in the wilderness of nature.

My work presents a large, portrait canvas, depicting a water forest scene and a partially derelict house. I was initially inspired by the work of Peter Doig, and his Concrete Cabin  (Doig, 1994) and Reflection (Doig, 1997) pieces. These are melancholic and contrasting pieces depicting thin forests. From these, I began to experiment with oil paints to create the same sense of depth within the forest that I would paint. This led me to the contrasting and colourful backgrounds of Zeng Fanzhi, with his bright backgrounds and dark, mysterious twigs in the foreground (Fanzhi, 2015). Inspired by this, I wanted to create the same contrasting atmosphere using a similar palette and repetitive layering of the paint. Under The Skin, a 2013 film (Under The Skin, 2013), further informed me of a large forest with unknown events occurring all around and to the central character, and also the depth and detail of forests, which I wish to recreate.

In my own work, I wanted to have a contrast in mood between the forest and the misty, colourful sky. By referencing the earlier artists, I hope to confuse and question the viewer as to “which way is up”, a question inspired by James Elkins (Elkins, 2009, pp. 11-32). I also wish to evoke the memory of nature in the viewer as they live in the ever-growing electronic world.

In addition, I was inspired by Cabin Porn, a book that takes you around the world with different cabins, with everything from being built with boats to being built on a cliff edge (Porn, 2009). This book helped inform my design of the small derelict house within the painting. I wanted to include a house within the painting, especially within an environment such as the forest, as they were once the home to many an adventure in childhood.

My piece presents ideas about the confusion of reality and the interconnection between man and nature through a contrast of colour and mood. The painting depicts a grand, overwhelming forest rising out of a lake, next to a small, derelict house sitting on the water. The contrast between the deep greens and blues of the forest and the light washes of reds and yellows in the misty sky distinguishes the contrasting atmospheres and highlights the interconnection and the power that nature has over man.



Doig, P., 1994. Concrete Cabin. [Art] (Saatchi Gallery).

Doig, P., 1997. Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?). [Art] (Tate Gallery).

Elkins, J., 2009. What is Painting?. [Online].Available at: [Accessed November 2016].

Fanzhi, Z., 2015. Blue. [Art] (Gagosian).

Porn, C., 2009. Cabin Porn Archives. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 27 November 2016].

Under The Skin. 2013. [Film] Directed by Jonathan Glazer. UK, USA, Switzerland: British Film Institute.


Artist Statement Planning

We got given several questions to help us with the planning of the artist statement to give ideas and clues as to what we should be writing;

What is my work?

What does it look like?

  • Large forest, lake, small partially derelict house (painting).
  • The painting is of a large forest coming out of a lake next to a partially derelict house.

How was it made?

  • Layers of oil paint to create the depth of the forest on a canvas (primed with gesso).
  • Layers of oil paint have been used to create the depth of the forest on a primed canvas (with pieces of found bark and moss to create the textures found in this environment).

What materials have you used?

  • Canvas, oil paint, turpentine (turps), (maybe bark and moss?).
  • The materials of canvas, oil paint, bark and moss have been used throughout the painting.

What processes were involved in the making?

  • Making of the canvas, 2. Primed with gesso, 3. Drawing, 4. Painting.
  • The processes that were involved in the making of the painting include that of building the canvas and priming it. The painting upon layers of painting creates the depth of a large and swallowing forest. (The extra pieces of bark and moss were added for texture and effect before the last few layers of paint were added.)


Can you summarise the main ideas behind your work?

  • (Coming from the text) What way is up?
  • Through the painting, I wish to confuse the viewer as to which way is up, and which version is real. This leads to much bigger questions such as the question as to determine what we see is real, or an illusion. Another main idea behind the painting is that of nature and the way in which humans are always, inevitably, connected to it.

What interests you about work of this type?

  • It is very free, but also leaves very unanswerable questions.
  • This type of work and the materials used are very freeing and are very much connected to nature. (I found the use of the twigs and moss further interconnected to and connected with the main ideas of nature

What themes, ideas and concerns does your work uniquely consider?

  • Derelict buildings, ‘hillbilly’, deep wilderness of America, linking back to nature.
  • I looked at the general themes and ideas of the deep wilderness of America and the traditional ‘hillbilly’ Americans. I considered these, and the ideas and also concerns of derelict buildings, as these are often at the forefront of how humans and nature interconnect and how man is destroying this connection, and nature is once again taking it.

Is there an ‘intention’ behind the work?

  • No, not an intentional intention.
  • (*No comment in the artist statement*?)

What do you want the work to achieve?

  • A moody, yet calm and serene atmosphere/mood.
  • I would like the work to achieve a moody, yet calm and serene atmosphere. I also aim to get the viewer to ask the same questions that I asked as I was creating the work about nature and humanity.

Is there a connection between your materials, process and your main idea?

  • (use of wood, twigs and moss? – literally re-using the forest/copying the top to the bottom with the trees, house and water/which way is up?)
  • One of the main ideas what the question as to which way is up, which is connected to the process of painting. To create the same process top and bottom, I had to turn the canvas over several times to repeat the mark making.

How have you researched it?

Which artists and art works have you looked at the have informed your work?

  • Elizabeth Magill
  • Mike Kus
  • Pete Gilbert
  • Caia
  • Peter Doig
  • Alex Hartley
  • Anseln Kieter
  • Anthony Gormley
  • Neo Rauch
  • Zeng Fanzhi
  • Looking at multiple artists, I grew a portfolio that enabled me to paint comfortably in different styles. I was influenced by artists such as Neo Rauch for his varying colour scheme from vibrant yellows to dull browns, and the way in which Peter Doig paints trees and the objects in and around them.

Which films have you watched that informed your work?

  • Under the Skin
  • Under the Skin, a 2014 film, inspired me with the dark forest, as much of the film is set in a large forest with unknown events happening all around the central character. I wished to create the same atmosphere in my work as the atmosphere that was created throughout the film.

What have you been reading or discussing that might inform your work?

  • Shed Porn
  • What painting is by James Elkins
  • Through reading different texts including What is Painting by James Elkins, I began the thought process of “Which way is up?”. A question that he, himself, asks within the text. Through the medium of painting, creating this was difficult, however it raises that exact question of “Which way is up?”. Shed Porn was also a book that I gained inspiration from to produce the design for the small shed within the painting. Within this book, you get taken around the world with different sheds, some being built with boats, and some on cliff edges. The photography from the book inspired the design of the shed.

Are there particular theories, artists or schools of thought relevant to your work?

  • .
  • (*No comment in the artist statement*?)


We also got given hints and tips about what how we should write;

  • Be clear. Use plain English as far as possible unless you are dealing with specific concepts, and explain them briefly. Don’t use complex or specialist language necessarily.
  • Accuracy. Don’t dress your work up to be something that it’s not. An accurate statement about good work that deals with a relatively simple idea is much between than trying to make something appear clever by dressing it in hyperbole.
  • Say what you see. It can be helpful to refer to any physical qualities of your work in reference to the conceptual ones. Explain the decisions that you made about how the work took shape and why you made them.
  • Stick to your subject. Your subject is your practice. The purpose of the artist statement is to talk in a focused way about your practice, not wider philosophical questions or concepts.
  • Objectivity. Use of superlatives and grand claims when describing your work will do you no favours. Try to be objective or at least use objective language when describing your own work. (What my concerns are? Do not add in what I feel about the painting/how I feel it went.)

Megan Nolan

I am not going to be bias because of the gorgeous Irish accent that Megan has, I promis, because her work is raw and so full of emotion I was very much in shock, awe and almost tears.

“I don’t feel entirely at home in the world of pure literature. It has not always felt pliable enough for my purposes and my limitations. It feels at times smoother and more professional than I am capable of being. And so I sometimes say I am “a writer and artist” to try to mitigate that confusion. I wish I knew a better word, a single one. If you think of one, or dream one up, do let me know.)
Anyway – life is the raw material of the artist. That’s not to say I believe as B.S. Johnson and others did that one must have experienced an event to write about ittruthfully. I mean only that what we observe of and feel about life- our own lives particularly and also life as a phenomenon, life as a catastrophe- influences what kind of work we will make. For this reason, and for the reason that comparing yourself with more successful writers is the easiest way to make yourself ill, I feel fine about telling you that how I write is basically how I live: messily, extremely, intemperately- often irresponsibly.”
(From Megan Nolan, ‘On Not Writing’, 2016).
Megan Nolan was born in 1990 in Waterford, Ireland and is currently based in London. Her writing includes essays, fiction and reviews which have been published widely including in E.R.O.S. Journal and The Guardian. Readings and performances commissioned across the U.K. and Ireland have included the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Goldsmiths Lit Live, Kunstraum Gallery, Cubitt Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre and the South London Gallery. Internationally, her work has also appeared at Hyper Local Festival in Buenos Aires and the Sandberg Institute’s “Wandering School” in Milan.
She is currently working on her first book of creative non-fiction concerned with the subjection of female identity in romantic relationships and body dysphoria. From
Other Links
Megan Nolan/tumblr
Megan Nolan/Articles for the Guardian
An essay about a relationship with an older man.
View at
An essay about looking at my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s Instagram.

View at

A story about two actors having an affair.

View at

A story about drinking too much

View at

An essay about wanting to be clever but also wanting to be beautiful.

Megan Nolan is a writer and started at the age of 16. This was her poetry writing phase which lasted only a few years before moving onto university and dropping out. Next stop was journalism, and this is what Megan has stuck with since. She kept writing like this and did more and more readings to the public in shows. This has often inspired her recent works, which will be explained a little more later. She has been writing for the goal of twelve years now.

Over here last year or so, Megan has worked in Lomdon, performing inthe Chelsea degree show and also in Cubit over the last month. At the moment, Megan mentioned that she is writing a nonfiction novel, which is very different to any of her previous works.

In the very first reading of her work in this talk, all you heard about was men. This has been a very prominent feature in her life and she mentions how it is all about, because of and to do with men. ‘I hurt myself to hurt them’.

She also often talks about abortion and very personal situations that she has been through. This, I found, made the work very raw and personal, especially as it is written in the first person. ‘I didn’t want to be the abortion woman. I wanted to be a writer.’

Admittedly, I thought that Megan looked too young to be talking about subjects such as these, however she did give off a very professional and responsible air about her.

Megan also made us question what her writing, what her artwork really is. Is it confessional art? She is not necessarily confessing anything. She also exclaimed that women can make confessional art but for men, it is labelled as a journal or other forms of artwork. This almost says that women are more desperate and attention seeking. This leads on to the fact that she mentioned that we need to make a distinction between the truth and our imagination because we areflawed and the truth cannot exist independently of the human mind.

The text that Megan read out tours was in the first person, which makes the narrative very shocking. Her story was written in the Daily Mail (Rape claim at trinity college), along with her name and address. It was about the rape. The people that questioned her thereafter often got confused between the rape and how she likes it rough in bed.

‘The more inconsistency, the better’

The last reading that we had of Megan’s work was the same piece she read at Cubeit, earlier this year. This piece was written with the help of online communities that wrote in with their strange medical occurrences. This not only made the piece personal to her, but also to the others that wrote to her. Megan wrote about how she wanted to give her body to him, presumably her boyfriend of the time, in any way possible – she did not care and he did not care about her (he wouldn’t look at her or really care about her during sex).

The medical explanations at the beginning of each part where very interesting and sometimes very gruesome. From this, it goes into the first person text. The medical johrnal part has the potential to be criticised but it is done with the full permission throughout. Megan also mentioned that she often changes the events of them so that they may not necessarily be recognised by the person who wrote in with it.

Megan mentioned that the way in which she writes is often in little bits, but spends a lot of time on these. At the moment, writing the book, she is finding it very exhausting as she has never written anything on this scale. However, after performances, she said that she feels as though she doesn’t have to worry about the act of writing any more and it becomes less daunting.

It comes as a flow toMegan. She would start writing and wouldn’t be able to stop. She mentioned that she is particularly bad for procrastination and often does things the day before a performance. All in one go.

To be read to oneself and to be read aloud is very different for Megan’s work. This is due to the emotional reactions that people have. Because she is a small woman, when people read it her work versus whe she reads it, some may skip over the emotional details of the work, and it therefore doesn’t produce the reaction that Megan wants from her work.

Painting or Not Painting?

Painting has been used throughout history to express emotions, culture and events. Throughout history, however, people have used many different mediums, and this is what I wanted to explore to chose the medium that I am going to paint with.


Painting can use traditional mediums such as oil, acrylic or watercolour paints. These can be manipulated in different mark-making techniques to form patterns and ultimately, paintings.

There is, however, also the medium that was used in the cave paintings at Lascaux in France, dated at around 20,000 years old.

Putting paint on different materials and mediums such as wood or canvas, or perhaps even sandpaper, is also counted as painting.

There are also painting cliches such as never paint with pure black, never paint with one colour, never leave blank spaces. But I want to break these and perhaps use them all, just to create something new and unique in my own painting. There is also the cliche that you shouldn’t use colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel as they are ‘non-compatible’. The fact that each colour has a meaning, I also want to smash. Red is supposedly angry, but Mark Rothko at the Tate Modern makes a soft, serene red that you can enjoy. Sigrid Holmwood makes her own colours by growing her plants. I would find this process enjoyable, unfortunately the time scale that which we have for the painting, I would not have been able to grow the plants for the use of the paints.

Sigrid Holmwood | Examining-Soil | 2015 | Shite yellow made from buckthorn berries; red made from madder roots; Mayan blue made from woad; purple made from cochineal beetles; earths; marble dust and lead white, bound in egg tempera and oils, on handwoven linen | 106x149cm


Mark Rothko

Ever heard of a soft red? Just look towards the works of Mark Rothko. Within a room at The  Tate, Mark Rothko fills up a room with a soft, ambient glow of red painted canvases. He breaks the rules of the painting by using a colour associated with anger, raw passion and blood, to create a soft glow and a relaxing atmosphere. I enjoy his work primarily because of the traditional rule breaking to create new works.

Source: Mark Rothko .org





Charline von Heyl

She vigorously resists a signature style, but persists in establishing a distinct and inclusive approach. Art-historical references such as Synthetic Cubism and Abstract Expressionism are present, not as appropriations, but as part of a freewheeling spirit, playing on the effects and characteristics of these canonical references. Like a writer who invents individual characters in order to bring variegated aspects to a narrative through the depth of different personalities and their relationships to each other, Von Heyl structures her paintings by presenting sets of unstable tendencies and making surprising juxtapositions and interactions. Still, her work is resolutely abstract and non-narrative. There may be ghosts of recognizable objects, but the viewer is never asked to make comparisons between the abstract and the representational. Rather, she seems to ask, how useful can such distinctions be when our experiences are ever more complex and convoluted, and are not reducible to singularities?

Source: Bomb Magazine


Source: Wmagazine