Helium? Making Sculptures Float


I have been experimenting with a helium balloon that I could make into a sculpture,  however have found that it doesn’t take much weight before sinking to the ground. I am wanting to cover it some way to make it appear like a plant or floating island. So far any fabrics are far too heavy but some of my light heat textile experiments with plastics seem to work. Tissue paper may also be light enough to maintain the balloon to float.

The downfall of helium though is that it is a non renewable gas. We are running out of this element as it is produced through nuclear decay of uranium and then mined. Surprisingly I learnt this information through my part time job at Mc Donald’s. They used to use helium balloons but as they are trying to do their bit for the environment, (my store anyway, I can’t speak for the whole company), so have switched to using oxygen. They have also switched from using plastic balloon sticks to cardboard ones, changed plastic straws to paper straws, and recycle all cups and plastics.  img_0509

The image below just a reference photo that I thought perhaps could be experiments for making the ballon string the stem of a plant.


Framing the picture


c445e760-e648-465a-8556-658043f2cff2-1After reconsideration, the painting was too unbalanced and I wanted the focus points in the painting to frame the picture more. I have lengthened the tree branches to give it more height and made the leaves curve around into the sky. I have also defined the plants in the foreground more, and added some more texture with a palette knife and rougher brushes. To further balance out the painting I wanted to calm the sky. Although I like the messy brush stroke look, I still want to make conscious decisions to make it controlled and intended. To do this I have blended the sky using the same colour palette and will later add in some clouds using a softer brush technique to achieve a more illustrative and dreamy appearance.

Beginning a new painting…


This is a large scale piece of canvas that I have hung to the wall in preparation for the next piece. Moving on from spring term exhibition, I am wanting to further explore making the piece unidentifiable as a painting. To do this I will start to work with sculptural techniques as another way of layering fabrics. This painting is aiming to achieve a combination of an imaginary landscape with our real world environment.



A Landscape of the idea and the Idea of a Landscape.

I am very happy with how this piece turned out. I think it was successful in creating a fragmented, dream like atmosphere through style in which it is painted and the three different segments of cloth, not stretched, but left to hang and look torn. this could also echo how we process and remember memories. We remember parts but not necessarily correctly or the complete story. The imagery was inspired by my home town, the Forest of Dean. The painting style in this piece was slightly different to past exhibition pieces. This one appeared much more illustrative and something you might find in a fairy tale book. The fabric in this piece still very much became part of the work as well, still thinking back to the work of Sigmar polke. This can be seen through using the layers of fabric to for the background of the image but also parts to form tree trunks. The different layers encompass the paint, the fabric, but also the wall and the marks left on it, showing process of making and parts of the image coming forward and going back. The stitching of the cloth is a very traditional technique, which I think brings a very handmade feel to the piece, adding to the personal element. The bumble bee pins to hold up the painting are a novelty and could be seen as sarcastic. They emphasise the coming together of different worlds to create something that is fantasy. The nature of Themis clearly something you wouldn’t find in the landscape depicted as they are very cartoon looking. Some initial reactions to the bees was that they could be flying away with the painting. How far do we believe the fantasy image that is being presented in front of us? I chose to title this piece to add a further narrative to the work.

This piece has informed my ideas for what to do for the final exhibition piece. Although I am very happy with this piece, painting a tree landscape is very much within my comfort zone so would want to branch out a bit more. Using the fabric as the ‘canvas’ and fragmenting it however isn’t, so this is something I want to explore further. First initial thoughts are to bring the fabric out of the wall even further and possibly use to form sculptures that have a relationship to the painting. img_7811