November 2021 I'm trying to figure out what the connection is between myself, materials and energy in my artwork and it seems to me that I'm not at all visible. I thought I would try and bring back my image and parts of myself … details of perhaps my hands, my face, my head and see if I can integrate that into my artwork. (I had better revisit Barbara Bolt’s Art as Representation as well and and see how that fits into my methodology.)
I'm certainly feeling uncomfortable about incorporating my image and I think some of that discomfort comes from Trevor's death because what has happened is I have become separated from him. If we think of how we believed in the middle path (Buddhist Middle Way) - he is one with energy - he is one with material - but I am left behind. I seem to want to bring myself into this more closely so I decided to have a look at photographic means to do this. I think it's also connected to my dry-point etchings which I have superimposed on my museum triptych about the materiality of soil, rust and copper. In those dry etchings I had looked at historical humans from San rock art, the Vitruvian man and various other historical relics of the human image, and superimposed them over the artworks.
Experimenting with cyanotypes allows me to integrate myself into the piece - actually immersing myself in the process. I had immense psychological difficulty doing that because I hate to be photographed - I hate selfies - I hate other people photographing me. I thought I would work around that by making a video of myself in private with a tripod and camera. I thought it would be wisest to do it on a green background in case I needed to do some kind of green screen manipulation afterwards in Photoshop or Resolve. I made a number of videos …
… and went through them slowly and quietly looking at my face and my hands. I identified and captured still images that said something about what I was feeling and which I wanted to integrate into my work. I found this process more comfortable. I worked with them in Photoshop and I ended up with photo negatives and photo positives which I printed on transparencies. Then I used the photosensitive (UV sensitive) chemicals of the blueprint process which I refer to as KFC and FAC - potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate which makes a wonderful Prussian Blue when exposed to the UV in sunlight. (Bit of history here…) I used 300g paper for an experimental start. Something to consider - though - is having to seal up paper so it survives through an exhibition.
PROCESS REFLECTION - Working with natural light. The UV index on a particular day can certainly give one an idea of how much UV radiation can be found in natural sunlight, but it's not an exact science. After a while I found that there was an intuitive sense of how long the process was going to take. I can't explain how you get to know that - maybe it's just through trial and error. You just get to understand how much UV there is at the time.