Mummification- the art of preserving

When considering the word enclosed or preserved I think of mummies and the act of being mummified. I liken it to the effect society has on us or rather the effect power has on society. We are essentially preserved, suffocated, drain, however you want to interpret it.

The mummifcation process actually includes a glue-like resin substance, which is interesting in my exploration with glue.


This particular mummy interested me. The idea that something could look so gruesome but through no fault of their own. I want to magnify this subject by producing a pen study.



I feel I have captured this well.



Studies of hessian and glue union

My next step was to do some quick studies of this union of materials. Here are the results.

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Here I have been exploring with the union between the hessian and glue, and what to magnify there importance to each other, to ultimately suggest a bond that cannot be broken. I have done this primarily with oil paint, I feel that when it is heavily diluted the elusiveness complements the object.

enclosed and perserved

Although painting is my mine outlet I do want to move away from it. I came across an interesting subject matter by accident. A material called hessian, which has a rather detailed cross-hatched structure which makes it extremely sturdy and rough. A thick layer of a substance known as PVA Homopolymer which is similar to regular PVA glue was poured onto the material, so much so that the material was flooded or rather suffocated.

This interested me, the idea that this material was preserved in this solid, transparent outer layer. This glue-like outerl ayer suddenly became a smooth screen to view what the inner layer held. A once rough outer layer now completely contained. This immediately reminded me of mummified corpses. I am thinking of ideas to take this effect into sculpture perhaps.

I current ideas surrounded around the word containment, I want to get my hands on a manniquen head perhaps and put it in a tank, the only tank I can think of now is a fish tank, the next step would be to completely submerge the manniquen head with PVA glue until the tank is completely full. PVA glue would be a reasonable substitute considering it is cheaper and more readily available than PVA Homopolymer.

All good or all evil?

I was at a point in which I was struggling to move on from my current body of work. I then looked for inspiration, it was at the point I came across a plain white mask.


I wanted to look at this element of being self aware and ultimately the aspect of good and evil, and what traits of each are left deep in our conscientiousness. I seen the white mask as the good side so this left it up to me to search for the so called evil equivalent. I then came across another mask in an ink shop, this mask fascinated me. It helped me at a time where I was in need of some inspiration.


What particularly interested me was what physical features are regarded as evil. This mask reminded me of the villain from Spider man, the Green Goblin. The horns, big nose, and elongated pointed chin are very much devil like. The classic evil reflection in human form some would say.

I didn’t quite know how to move this forward so I decided to use painting to lead onto something more specific within my work. I was more struck visually by the evil mask and thought it was more interesting to paint, this resulted me me doing an oil study on canvas. I was using many layers to build upon. These layers being extremely thin and heavily diluted with white spirit. This painting was very much a piece for experimentation. I then focused on the colour black and I gave much of the painting a faded black wash. What I then wanted to do was layer upon this another portrait, this time the other mask, the other mask which I suggested signified good, or rather a blank surface or cover to use a better word. I haven’t yet finished this painting, and at this stage my tutor said it lacked energy and was quite bland but I quite liked this aspect however when the next layers are added it will naturally be injected with more energy.


Does colour make that much of a difference?


After painting this mask black it does contribute to it’s supposed evilness.

How about the ‘good’ mask painted black.


This definitely makes the mask seem more creepy.


This is the next stage of my painting. Here I have added the diluted layer of white acrlyic representing the ‘good’ mask. I do feel this painting is quite dull and I feel it does need another layer. However I feel it is achieved what I wanted it to, this relationship between the mask is strange, reminds of a battle, a battle that the evil side is winning.

Taking a subject out of it’s environment

The idea of something acting a certain way in a given environment is something that interests me. Here I am exploring with taking an image and extracting the environment. What are you left with?


I have taken this image out of a newspaper, and therefore taken it out of its given environment.


This is also a an image I took out of an newspaper. I have painted some areas of the subject and turned the page over. The form of the subject then bleeds through, which essentially plants the subject in an unknown environment or rather the wrong environment. Can words play an interesting part in an environment? These are questions I need to answer.

Time showing it’s decline

Another aspect of one’s self-awareness’ or an ego is how it declines with age.

Ninety percent mental and ten percent physical

Something that immediately interested in relation to the idea of self-awareness was the relation was the male ego and how any doubt or insecurity is pushed to the back of a mind mentally and ultimately physically. I was interested in the profession of a boxer and what it takes to be a boxer. After all boxing is said to be ninety percent mental and ten percent physical. I essentially wanted to look at those among us who have this robust outer shell that allows them to excel.


I wanted to do a study of this. I sketched an image of Muhammad Ali as a starting point. I do want to move away from this but as a starting point I felt it worked well. I was trying to uncover the inner thoughts and doubts in a self, or rather an inner self-awareness.  I was doing this with diluted layers of paint not to cover up but to reveal something within this man. His ego perhaps made him more than a man. However, it could be said that his intimidation and belittling of others were to enhance or deceive himself into really believing he was the greatest. An aspect of human nature that interests me, it could be said they are the real special individuals.


This study above was a practice piece to move onto something more accomplished. I moved onto an oil painting.


This piece on canvas is in it’s later stages, I felt it was important to document all the stages of my painting as my paintings in general have many layers so the artwork changes quite drastically from time to time. At the start of this painting I originally laid the canvas with a light brown layer of oil paint, I then started to form the face and slowly built layer upon layer until I eventually came to this, a slow process but I adore the element of something being revealed or rather something being covered up. In my latest tutorial I was advised to look at glazing in oil painting and I have done some research into this, however I feel I want to move away from this because I feel it is my comfort zone. I feel this painting is successful as I feel it is quite an honest interpretation of a legend who is ultimately human, a stripped back version where he is vulnerable. With this way of painting I use very diluted layer of oil paint, so there is a very large content of white spirit involved which produces this lovely dripping or rather burning effect as it runs its way down the canvas. I do like this piece, but I know I need o move away from this, although it is complicated I feel it is very simple in terms of my work cause it is comfortable.