Process of Painted Text Piece

I made a recent decision to start using my own words and thoughts in my work, rather than using dialogue taken from other people to express my own feelings, a more personal approach to language. With such a strong interest in Tracy Emins’ ‘The Exorcism of The Last Paintings I Ever Did’, I want to express this raw individuality through text. However, unlike my earlier messy paintings – more similar to Emins expressive paintings, I wanted to try painting text neatly – Like artists such as Christopher Wool and Fiona Banner. I have thought about the idea of taking a small note, word or thought and having it presented in a gallery. How this brings awareness to the significance and immediacy of communication, but painting it neatly and perfectly – drawing attention to insignificant small moments of life and making them significant.

The text used is ‘I COULDN’T SLEEP LAST NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS PAINTING’. I actually had this idea while I was trying to sleep – this phrase relates to itself, making the text the actual ‘thing’, as well as involving myself in the idea. It also highlights the anxiety and excitement of creating art, the uncontrollable and distracting urge to create. I also feel it has a sense of irony and humour in the innocence to it.

First sketch:


It was interesting drawing such a spontaneous thought so neatly and planned out, as well as being difficult in the intricacy.

Close up of amendments to the text. I actually liked this aspect, the double effect that makes it hard to read, maybe suggested the tiredness of not sleeping. It is an idea I may use in the future.
Rewritten piece underneath original – overlapping and repetition. This is showing the process of my ideas and thoughts about this piece. I haven’t planned a piece so deeply as this, usually making quick sketches and writings. Repetition really adds urgency and a sense of anxiety to the words. However, like Kosuths conceptual art, I want the piece to easily communicate its meaning.
Final outline for painting – on A2 cartdrige paper.

I have made decisions about each aspect of this piece as it may be a possible final piece. I chose to paint on paper as it will show a relationship to my other works, as well as playing with the idea of immediacy in experience used in my sketches. The paper will contrast to the neatly painted letters and that’s what I like. My thoughts should be on paper, not on a perfectly primed canvas.

Picture of Process.

Colour Choice:

  • I chose a deep navy blue as I feel black acrylic has a shininess to it I don’t like. I mixed cobalt blue, turquoise, white and black to get this particular shade.
  • The background is a cream colour made with white and ochre – I didn’t want a stark difference between text and background, and I always have felt a slight tinge of yellow/brown suits blue well.

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