Week 12: unfinished work
Taking a band poster and using it’s image of a skull in a smoker’s box to create a new message
Assessment 2: Final Work
During my research process, I discovered that no artwork, no matter what it is, or how it has been made, could possibly match the joyous, serene and embracing experience as one receives from being outside in the natural environment. After trying to find a way to replicate this sensation, I was only to discover that it cannot be reproduced - it belongs to the power of nature, and cannot be sourced from anywhere else.
After coming to terms with this discovery, I decided my final work should demonstrate this by being simple and abstract. Any literal interpretation of the natural environment would only fail to serve justice to the subject, and thus it would stand only as a dull mimic of the natural world.
The three final drawings made with Indian ink and a calligraphy pen, are an extrapolation of the drawings that came to me while I was sitting at Coogee Beach. The concentric circles are an expression of the sense of peace derived from the environment; they symbolise openness, fulfilment and wellbeing. The three different colour palettes and varying patterns are representative of water, vegetation and earth. These elements to me are the most prominent when people seek the outdoor environment. The abstract interpretations of the natural world allow the audience to search for their own meaning behind the work, and hopefully this journey will lead them to the discovery of the energizing experience I tried to symbolize.
Assessment 2: Research #10
These are some rubbings I made of the park I was in above Coogee Bay. This was an experiment to find different ways to portray the natural environment in an artwork. I was happy with some of the textures that came through. My plan for my final piece now is to use the abstract lines (the concentric circles) and combine them with these textures to create an engaging portrayal of the experience derived from the outdoor environment, and our connection to the natural world.
Assessment 2: Research #9
I went to Coogee Beach and attempted to capture the atmosphere using inks. At first I painted a literal recreation of Coogee Beach, hoping that capturing the bright colours of the environment would transfer that peaceful and joyous atmosphere to the canvas.
After experimenting with different methods of interpreting the environment, I realised no painting or photograph of the beach could do it justice. Thus I decided to try convey the beach’s atmosphere using abstraction. The concentric circles were a reoccurring image, as I felt they best represented the area’s sense of calm and joy.
From the abstract symbols I then played with the idea of using nature as an instrument to paint with. I used flowers found on the beach as brushes, which could effectively draw the soft and liberated lines I was trying to achieve.
These experiments were a step away from my previous direction which had been focusing on symbols associated with the environment. I feel like these studies were more successful, as they better described the experience gained from being submersed in the outdoor environment. I feel like this form of art would be more successful in transferring this experience to the viewer, as opposed the symbolic image of the hand and tree which would merely inform the audience of this experience.
Assessment 2: Research #8
Drawing from my research into the symbolism of hands, and how they are typically related to our connection to the environment, I created this drawing in graphite. I wanted to express how powerful this connection is by drawing the hands as part of the environment. I am happy with how the work turned out, however, although it symbolises our relationship with nature, it does not represent the experience when we engage with our natural environment.
Assessment 2: Research #7
Alison McDonald is another environmental artist I researched during class when looking at ‘alien methods’. McDonald uses found objects, most commonly of plastic or metal, which would normally be considered as rubbish. She then uses these to create sculptures and jewellery. Some items she will even reform them by melting, cutting and reshaping them to create something new.
Her work is a comment on consumerism and its negative impact on the environment. Like John Dahlsen, her art making process also impacts the environment by cleaning it of rubbish and recycling discarded materials.
"At the root of all my work is the desire to recycle or more accurately re-invest discarded materials which would otherwise end up as landfill."
"This transformation from refuse to artwork will I hope echo the transformation in our attitude towards recyclable products and encourage more responsible use of our resources."
I found McDonald’s quotes inspiring, and although my work will not incorporate recycled found objects, I intend for my final piece to convey a similar message. This message will be far more subtle, as I want it to speak through the sheer beauty of nature and its role in delivering peace and healing.
1. I am exploring whether mankind has an intrinsic connection to the natural environment, and whether need to maintain a relationship with the natural world in order to achieve a state of wellbeing.
2. Alison McDonald: uses found objects, drawing attention to mankind’s consumerism and its negative impact on the environment.
"this transformation from refuse to artwork will I hope echo the transformation in our attitude towards recyclable products and encourage more responsible use of our resources."
"at the root of all my work is the desire to recycle or more accurately to re-invent discarded materials which would otherwise end up as landfill."
3. she collects found objects (junk, usually plastic or metal) and turns them into art by reassembling them or reforming them.
4. I could collect plastic bottles, melt them, arrange them into colours to collect different hues. I could then use these different coloured molten plastics to form a sculpture of something environment themed - such as an intricate, beautiful flower.
Assessment 2: Research #6
I thought about how the symbol of the hand could be taken further, and not only used as an image along side nature, but used to recreate nature. I thought our wrists and forearms resemble tree trunks and our fingers could look like branches. From there I looked up different shaped trees and how these shapes could be remade using human hands.
I feel as though by combining the two symbols, hand and tree, the image has a clearer and stronger message, and successfully highlights mankind’s inherent connection to the natural world. I also quite like the almost surrealist, quirky imagery of the hand becoming a tree and want to explore this idea further in my final art work.
Assessment 2: Research #5
I experimented with ways the human hand could be incorporated into nature to express our intrinsic relationship with the natural environment. This practice also drew inspiration from John Dahlsen by incorporating found objects. I found also this method effective as I could take the photos without physically taking any leaves from the plants. Like Dahlsen’s art which not only promotes environmental care, but cleans the environment during the making process, I feel these photos have a dual meaning; they not only illustrate a connection with the environment, but the art making process was non-destructive; no leaves had to be collected, instead I was drawn out into the garden to take the photos.
The first image was an experiment to see how I could draw more of a narrative into the images. I liked the effect of having something else in the image (particularly the rabbit). I would like to expand my focus and experiment further with what else I could incorporate into my art to also represent the natural environment.
Assessment 2: Research #4
When thinking about our intrinsic connection to the natural environment, I started considering symbols commonly used to express this relationship. There are certain images, such as hands and the colour green, which have even become a somewhat cliché symbol of the natural environment.
Hands have symbolic meaning throughout many spiritualities. In many cases they are described as energy transmitters. This energy was not only spiritual energy, but could convey power, justice and balance. This power demonstrates our responsibility to care for and protect our environment. Different hand positions could also illustrate meditation, wisdom and receptivity. This, in unison with the left hand also being a symbol of passivity, could suggest gentleness and life-giving. A very obvious observation is that hands are an immediate identifier of human kind. They are a symbol of people, and therefore are the simplest way to illustrate mankind’s connection with nature.
The colour green is known to be a symbol of life and fertility, while grass green is also described as the most restful colour. Green symbolises balance, healing and life force. It also releases ‘green energy’ which is known to contain the energies of nature and growth.
Taking into account the symbolic associations with hands and the colour green, these images become a very powerful indication of mankind’s relationship with nature. Since these symbols are also so widely recognised, I would like to incorporate them into my art to allow the audience to immediately understand the message behind my artwork.
Colour Green, Emily Gems: Joyful Crystals and Gemstones. Retrieved September 14, 2013 from
Symbolic Hand Meaning, Whats-Your-Sign.com. Retrieved September 14, 2013 from