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Media Studies First Year Term 2

Ordinary Domesticity Hoi Ching Lee Sabrina


In George Perec’s Species of spaces, the chapter of Bed interests me the most, because I do love my bed, so much. I found it amazing how I could build up a close and intimate relationship with my new bed in London so quickly since leaving home in September. The moment I recognized it is my bed, the moment it became my most inner comfort zone. At last, I selected text 3 in this chapter where the writer talks about how “everything he couldn’t do without was to be found assemble (on his bedhead)”, and simply lists the all the objects there plainly, because as I observed my bed area I know one big reason why I get adapted to this space so well is my personal objects which are placed around the bed (mostly the shelves behind). An alarm clock, a hairdryer are small individual products, but together, they occupy the shelves and become part of this space, at least the sight of this space. I recalled how when I first arrived my flat, I had this desire to fill up this unfamiliar room with all my familiar objects, which I have projected my feelings on. Focusing on still objects, I was suggested to look into Giorgio Morandi’s paintings of his everyday objects, which first appear to be very ordinary but are actually never boring at all. I like the overall technique he used to depict his objects as the center of focus, so I decided to imitate the composition of his work. At the same time, my photo of the window that the bed is facing, is also said to be very interesting. So this window, showing how the bed faces the building across and the outside world, became the background. I painted the objects I have in a realistic approach, even keeping the texts and labels, as these details are part of the objects that I identify with. I also put focus on the bedsheet and how to objects sit and cast shadow on it. Initially I painted the background as it is – black window frame, etc. – but the black matches some of the dark objects and the high contrast background grabbed away some attention from the objects. To solve this, I used a lighter tone for the background, and tried to avoid sharp edges and lines to soften it. The final painting shows a group of my objects standing closely together on my bed and is very personal and intimate, yet at the background is the outside world, brighter but less clear. It does reflect the actual situation or attitude of me living in this space.


SELECTED EXTRACT

George Perec, Species of spaces


12 PHOTOS OF MY BED AND THE SPACE AROUND Out of the bunch of photos I took in the previous page, I narrowed them down to 12, each focusing on a particular aspect of my bed and its surrounding. (I still hadn’t select the one extract from the Bed chapter.)

The bed corner

Volumne of the matress

Bed facing the city


12 PHOTOS OF MY BED AND THE SPACE AROUND

Objects

Object 1 - light switch and charger

Object 2 - clock


12 PHOTOS OF MY BED AND THE SPACE AROUND

Object 3 - photos

Object 4 - night light and socket

Front of the bed


12 PHOTOS OF MY BED AND THE SPACE AROUND

Bedsheet (comfort)

Gap (corner)

Gap at the front of the bed


SELECTED PHOTOS

Stuffs near my bed I selected Text 3 about all the stuffs the writer “can’t live without” which are all near his bedhead. This is my stuffs, which are necessary or personal to me on the shelve above my bed.


SELECTED PHOTOS

Bed, facing the city Meanwhile, I also found what this photo depicts interesting, that one can see how the bed is facing outside, with a view of windows of other flats. Though this is not related to my extract.


REFERENCES / INSPIRATION

Since the subject matter of my painting will be objects, I was recommended by my tutor to look into the still life paintings of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. His entire painting career was devoted to these everyday objects that he had, but every painting of them is different and it is never boring for me to look at his work. Even though it is an ordinary still life paintings, his whole body of work has its own style such as the composition, which make them stand out from others and interesting. I like how the objects like are standing closely together at a center, sometimes overlapping, sometimes with gap. The colour tone also creates a mundane feeling that suits the everyday objects, yet still beautiful.


OBEJCTS IN PAINTING

I then picked a several objects which have a relatively simple shape and form (compared to a tiger stuffed toy).

Alarm clock

Hair dryer

Glasses case

Book

Clay mask

everyday

every 1-2 days

occasionally

(very) occasionally

every 2 weeks


COMPOSITION OF PAINTING

and

Frankly, these compositions were created under a limit of time before my next painting session, so I did not craft / decided the final perfect composition here. Initially I started with my own compositions (left), then I decided to really imitate Morandi’s which is objects standing vertically together. It was only after taking the photos that I noticed how a lot of Morandi’s painting include a small object in front of a few tall objects, so I also included the small glass of clay mask.


SKETCHES & DRAFT

At first, I was skeptical about using his work as reference, because originally I planned to just paint the objects on the shelves, in their original position. But eventually I decided to really imitate Morandi paintings, like the composition shown here, because I imagine it is fun to imitate an artist style. Also, recomposing my objects nicely together on my bed and making them the center of the painting, seems to be more creative than just to capture them on the shelve like they are now. It would really highlight these objects, almost like celebrating them. So using the photos of the objects I sketched the compositions of the drawing and drafted a final one (green).


COLOUR TONE OF PAINTING

I wanted to adopt Morandi’s colour tone to my painting too, but I realized my setting is quite different from most of his. My bedsheet is dark blue, and most of the objects I have turn out to be black or dark brown, but his paintings mostly have an earthy or yellowish tone to create a sense of warmth, which I wanted in my own painting (warmth - relaxing, humane, comfort, welcoming space). Luckily I found some of his paintings which have a more bluish tone with dark objects, while he still manage to add a bit yellow and warmth in it. This was a valuable reference to me.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

sketch by Frederique

Painting order I used at the beginning: 1. Background wall 2. Bedsheet 3. Objects 4. Background window view


PROCESS OF PAINTING

The medium of this painting is acrylic. I was on a budget so I only could only buy the acrylic paint in these 5 colours. I have painted with acrylic before (with more colours) so I know how to mix colours a bit, but after doing this painting my skill of looking at colours and re-creating them have definitely improved.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

At this stage I have generally finished the basic of the painting following the order mentioned before. I found myself prefer to complete the painting at a very basic level before then adding details or refining in different areas, so that at an early stage, it already didn’t look far from finished.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Hair dryer The most challenging part is the matte metal kind of surface that reflects a bit of light very subtly and smoothly. It took quite a lot of time to create a similar texture, using dry brush.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Alarm clock I spent a lot of time painting the again metal surface of the clock, particular the coupld edges that it has.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Glasses case I had no idea how to paint the Gucci pattern that embossed on the case at first, but then as I really looked into the light and shadow of it, I found out myabe I could simplify it to three shades - light brown for the general thing, very dark brown for the shadow, a white for the reflecitve light. It worked out quite well.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Book The book is a relative boring and easy object for me. Someone suggested to use white colour pencil to write the words, but I still sticked to acrylic at last and I actually think the imperfect words have added some ‘painting’ feel to the work, which is not bad at all.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Clay Mask Container As the last object I painted, I finished it much faster than the previous ones, perhaps because it is small and easy, but also because my skills have improved and I had more confidence in re-creating the textures and shadows that I spent less time being careful and covering “mistakes� with new paint over and over again.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Bed sheet Painting the drape was also not easy, there are many gradients and it was hard to get the brighness of paint right - if one part is wrong the light and shadow effect of the whole drape would fail and it would look strange. But after I added the shadow casted by the objects, the painting immediately looked better and less flat - shadow is really important escpecially that of the main subject matter, it’s like magic!


PROCESS OF PAINTING


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Background I first painted the background just as it is, like the black window frame. But it matched with some of the black objects, and the black and white background turns out to be very contrasting, it grabbed away some attention from the objects. So I had to paint it with a lighter tone. I also wanted to create a blurry effect to show a distance of th background, and I ended up using dry brush to create a smudgy, unclear outline of the edge, which I think is quite successful as to soften the background.


PROCESS OF PAINTING

Background Same for the window on the (same) building that my room is facing. I used the same approach with the window frame of my room, and I simplified the image, omitting the details.


Profile for Sabrina Hoi Ching Lee

AAMS 17-18 Ordinary Domesticity Portfolio  

AAMS 17-18 Ordinary Domesticity Portfolio  

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