Final Piece planning and prep

I decided to create a large abstract galaxy for my final piece. This will have a focus on the use of texture, layers and colours. The idea was inspired by my research into space, the many influences of my childhood and my trip to the space centre.

Throughout the project I have gathered influences in the form of photographs, drawing skylines from real life, and experimenting with different forms of media, in order to bring together an informed idea. Though I thought about focusing on one aspect of a space skyline, I decided that a much more interesting and organic composition can be created by creating a full skyline, because of the layers that the viewer can discover the longer they look at the piece.  Overall a mix of interesting shapes, colour and form becomes a much more exciting piece, therefore I decided to use an experimental technique.

For my piece I will be taking what I learned from my media experiments with ink and glue. The natural run of the glue and ink is what makes the piece feel organic and creates a flow to the piece much like the natural nebula’s and colours seen in space.  I will also be taking what I learned from experimenting with spray paints, this will be seen for the planets. the reason I chose to use the spray paint technique for the planets was because it makes them stand out subtly from the ink and glue. This is through the texture created and the circular shape which can be controlled more than using glue. It is also a more organic technique than using acrylic or watercolour. I would like the planets to be subtle in appearance so they are not obvious to the viewers eye straight away, therefore adding to the ambiguity, fuelling imagination and making the piece more abstract. Spray paint will also be added to fill gaps that the ink and glue may not have reached and create a darker space like background to the colours as well as adding stars.

In order to envision my ideas I decided to create some practice pieces to see how they look and to see if there are any changes that could be made.  I decided to use plastic as the material to work on because of its smooth surface which allows the ink and glue (and emulsion) to run without being absorbed. It also has a sheen like quality that reminded me of space materials such as space ships in real life much like the USSR space shuttle I observed at the National Space Centre.


.Plastic sheet

. Emulsion

.Pva glue

.Red, Blue and Green ink

.Black, Red, Blue, White, Gold Spray paint

. Long exposure photographs

. Sheet for the ground

. Paintbrushes/pots/cloth/cork/ glove


To start with I placed a thin layer of  emulsion of the plastic sheet and pored red and blue ink onto the emulsion. This then distilled a little whilst I tilted the the plastic to guide the glue and  ink across in all directions. If some lines are too obvious i use a cloth to take them off. 17692677_1872208969691022_672250044_o

Repeat this several times alternating between glue and emulsion. And leave to dry.The form of the emulsion will harden and the ink will distil into the glue and mix together.

Once this has dried add another layer but with more colour in the ink. and spread around how you would like it.


This particular piece created a beautiful texture when the red ink and glue dried ontop of the emulsion.  Looking like lava.17742138_1872208903024362_1359495738_n

This is built up upon, gradually adding more and more layers

to the piece and letting them dry. I also added colourful pieces from science magazines  as an experiment for my final, In my final I would use my own long exposure photographs to create the illusion of light within the piece. When this is dried I add spray-paint to fill any blanker, less covered spaces and to create the darkness that makes the other colours pop. I also use the spray paint to create stars, by holding down the lid with a finger on the nozzle so that it distils across the piece and holding the spray paint can further away from the piece. It is important that the layers are allowed time to dry so that a layers can form and different textures are created.

Make sure to place a mat down as it is extremely messy!

When all the layers are dry I added my Spray paint planets using the same technique as previously discussed. I chose to use a red and white planet (based on Mars) for my first practice as I felt this worked well in my spray paint experiments because it looked like the most realistic of the planets I created. I wanted to see how this would look in a composition with multiple layers and materials. Personally, I think the outcome works well, because the previously established textures add to the planets texture ( creating a rough and rugged surface)  that would mimic the rocky surface of the planet in real life.  There is a subtlety to the planets edges that are defined enough to make out the outline, without making it obvious.  In this piece the eye catching focus is the flower like pattern created by the ink and emulsion, which is really the centre piece of the composition.

The finished first practice piece

I also experimented with using different materials to see how the technique would differ.  I used an old printer draw made of plastic and a wooden canvas that had a thin layer of paper on it.  the results were very interesting.  With the plastic the materials dried much slower (taking several days) but the result was an  almost glass like surface, cracked like the emulsion flower, but sharper (very sharp edges). This would be a harder surface material to work with and would not be the most suitable for the materials and time scale, therefore I decided not to use it in my final piece.  The wood surface worked well however the paper absorbed the ink and glue faster, allowing for less time to manipulate the materials. I created both these pieces simultaneously.


I used the same process as previous, however as seen in the top image, I tried to recreated the flower like pattern that occurred on the first piece. This resulted in the sharp glass like texture that was similar but not the same. this was because i tried to recreate the flower using glue and not emulsion (as well as applying a thicker coating) which hardened and shattered.


on the other piece I apply an extra thick layer of emulsion which could then be scratched into. This reveals the layers underneath and can be used to bring lighter shades back into the piece as well as texture.17506609_1872208523024400_961312226_n17757727_1872208513024401_624859500_n


Plastic piece drying
Finished larger board

Before adding the planets I used my own long exposure photographs that I planned to use in my final piece. The photos were taken of streetlights and the interior of a car (lit up) at night. Using a long exposure shutter, I moved the camera to create the lines, to bring light to the piece and show light rays in space.  I love the energy in the photographs and the elongated lines create the sense of motion.  Most of the photographs were taken of light source such as street lights and the moon, however, weirdly, one image taken of a cloudy sky with no light source, produced a long exposure shot. A ball of light also known as an ‘orb’ is also visible.

Original images taken during Preparation:


The moon


Unknown light source

I planned the potential layout of the final piece within my sketchbooks, in a sketch form with notes. The pieces will be hung next to each other on the wall. Based on what i saw at the National Space centre, a disco ball will be hung (along with planets) and a light will shine on it, so that the light sparkles on the wall like stars.  Ideally this would work best in a darkened room, and would also have lights to illuminate the piece. In a professional gallery, I would have a room dedicated to my work, with the disco ball in the middle so that the light is spread all around. The room would be dark apart from atmospheric lighting lighting the pieces and the corners. Celestial music would be played and dry ice would create smoke. The work on the walls would be framed behind glass and along side it would be facts about space and the Galaxy.

Below is the original plans: 

Sketchbook used 
disco ball
Disco ball inspiration

I also had alternative plans for an alternative final piece. This was a more 3D piece. It would have a fully spray painted background, with a 3D foreground. A glass bowl that may be broken would have the landscape falling out of it. it would rest on a moon like surface created using similar methods to my 3D planets. The bowl would represent a space helmet . However as i had a strong focus on using experimental methods and 2D elements on boards I felt that it might make the investigation seem disjointed and not show clear development.

Here is the original plans for this idea:



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