Research for Exercise: Part 1, Question 3 – Materials and processes


Having done some research notes that tough on artists in different genres whose work I feel is representative of current developments and to summarise:

  • In the field of painting it seems that current developments include the ongoing development of new paint pigments, new types of pencils (colouring as well as sketching), new forms of pens and brush pens (the latter very useful for field work to gain a good rough sketch in colour and tone) and also new forms of canvas or papers as well as many painters using metal or other surfaces as their ‘canvas’.
  • In ceramics, my knowledge is still very new and initial research seems to indicate that smaller and better kilns are very much at the forefront as they enable individual artists to have better control over their firing temperatures; also artists are using new glazes and pigments that they use in conjunction with new techniques (one artist uses her wheel first to create the form before letting the porcelain harden and then essentially carving out her required shape before firing).
  • Sculpture – again this is a new field for me in many ways but I know the National Memorial Arboretum well and there is very much a mixture of techniques and sculptors seem willing to combine materials in new ways and sculpture with metal and recycled parts is very much at the forefront of their work.  Also as can be seen at the Arboretum many sculptures are incorporating glass as effectively a new material.  The other development is that of ‘fluid sculpture’ as demonstrated by Gregoire A Meyer whose work is digitally based to create sculptures that use water, shattered glass or metal to create works that move or show the human form. To add to this section I have just discovered an artist called Jack Storms who is a cold glass sculptor – he cuts and re-cuts cold glass whilst sandwiching in between a type of crystal and using a specialised light refractive epoxy glue to create the most incredible glass sculptures.  Mr Storms is one of only 3 in the world to do this and uses literally cutting edge techniques.
  • Textiles – this for me divides into 2:  one part of the textiles world I am just getting to know but am aware of developments in yarns and fabrics as well as beading and differing embellishments and new dyeing techniques (as well as new dyes with improving pigments) and the other part involves the art quilting world – these quilters are prepared to push boundaries and use differing materials in their work including some of the new pencils available to other artists.  By using the new pencils and pens they are bringing the world of the painter and the artist into their stitching and this is very much at the forefront for many.  The other innovation here which is known to quilters is the long arm computerised sewing machine which is still relatively new in many ways and I suspect the use of the long arm will eventually be adapted for other textiles.  Sewing machines are developing rapidly with computerisation and there are also new embellishment or felting machines too.
  • Photography – the field that has developed so rapidly.  New processes that are affecting now and have in the recent past are the ever increasingly sophisticated editing photo suites available not to just professionals but to the average person.  Lighting for professionals is also getting smaller and in some cases computerised for shoots.  The other huge innovation is in cameras – these are being developed incredibly rapidly and have changed the way we even use our mobile phones.  In the recent past the advent of the small digital camera has become a common place item but much valued and also of huge use for all the arts to capture a moment in time or a scene that can be worked on and developed through sketches into whatever form of art that is required. Larger professional cameras are also ever more computerised and can be connected directly into pc software and used in conjunction with new and developing lenses and filters can create the fine art photography as demonstrated by Brooke Shaden. Since originally writing this post I have discovered a photographer who is also learning and exploring fine art photography and his specialism has involved using 4 cameras and fish eye lenses to produce what he describes as ‘Planetary Panoramas’ that are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s post-impressionist paintings – his name is Vincent Brady and he has also just started experimenting with infra red photography too.  Mr Brady’s work is both innovative and at the forefront of a new style of developing photography.
  • I must add here one other art form in that of stained glass – again new developments seem to be new pigments and improved firing techniques that are enabling artists such as Anna Danowska to create almost painterly like works.


Please note I am writing this after the end of the course as I review my blogs in preparation for assessment and have discovered some blogs in which I had not correctly noted my references down.  I had yet to learn how to use the Harvard Referencing system and where possible I have updated the blogs but in some cases such as this I can only refer to the blog named BIBLIOGRAPHY in my Research and Reference section for a general list of sites were used during this first part of the course.

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