Samantha Humphreys

Art, Photography & Inspiration

Category: Identity

Daily Drawing Challenge

                                    I Miss Wearing my Glitter DM’s (2020)


So, once it was clear that the threat was real and we all very quickly realised that this pandemic was here to stay for some considerable time it was time to take action. What should we do? People were working from home, not working from home, just staying at home, furloughed, teaching their children at home, not going out, going out for essentials, going out for exercise, shielding, isolating and washing their hands!

We should face it by making art of course, so #WrittleArtDailyDraw was born. I was and still am of course, working from home. The staff and students at Writtle University College have very quickly had to learn a new way of doing things without  diminishing quality or experience ,so in addition to the lectures, seminars and tutorials that were happening remotely, I wanted to think of something that would keep the studio experience alive.

I first started it on our course Facebook page before it was suggested to me that opening it up to the public would be a much better idea. The idea is loosely based on the drawing sessions we have on our university course on a Monday morning, short tasks that mean we can stop and be creative for a few minutes each day. The challenge would be set, and participants can translate the rules to suit them, using their own choice of medium and surface and we would rather participation happened than have the rules be a barrier to anyone wanting to take part.

The first challenge on the 25 March was to draw food, a meal or snack you are eating, food seemed to be on everyone’s mind, the shops were running out of some items and it was quite a worry for some. Some were stockpiling out of sheer worry about feeding their families, others were condemning those stockpilers for being selfish. The situation was creating a community spirit for some and bringing out the worst in others-a small minority in my experience though, I just found that people were kinder, more caring and more considerate. Food became a source of comfort, something that remained consistent -it was a shared experience in normal times, so it was a good place to start.

The first challenge when we moved to Writtle Art, which later became challenge number 1, was to draw footwear. It had occurred to me that I hadn’t worn any for the past week or so as I was staying and working at home and while fully dressed (I just can’t work in my pyjamas), was only wearing slippers. These challenges were going to be about the commonality we all had right now, and I guessed I wasn’t the only one missing my shoes (a position I never thought I would be in)!

From then on there was a variety of challenges, something worth going to the shops for, something you have achieved Something that belongs indoors drawn on an outdoor surface, step outside, take 20 steps, what do you see? something purple, be inspired by a British garden bird and draw a banana to name a few.

I rarely missed a day, perhaps one or two when I had student presentations or an early meeting which distracted me away from thoughts of drawing and I also had help from Writtle Alumni and skills tutor Sonya who steps in often to set something brilliant such as illustrate your daily walk as a treasure map which was set as a whole weekend challenge. It is interesting to see how others are reacting to the challenges while facing the same restrictions and sets of rules as everyone else and it was good to see people’s responses. Not everyone is posting them to Facebook, it turned out that Instagram was a good place to post so we made the hashtag #WrittleArtDailyDraw and also asked that participants used @writtleart when posting their drawings. It also turns out that some are taking part but not sharing, which is also great as it means the challenges are inclusive for those not comfortable with using social media as a place to share creations.

I myself have found them challenging, I have had no time to consider how I would respond each day (you would think I would think what I want to draw first) before posting the task, as I just haven’t had that luxury of time to consider it, so I am seeing the challenges in the same way as everyone else. I love it, it is becoming part of my daily routine, like cleaning door handles and walking around the garden to make sure I hit my step target.

I plan to continue with the challenges as a way to engage the public with the Art and the Environment degree at Writtle University College. Participants can post their drawings where they like, email them to me or simply keep them to themselves… perhaps we can eventually have more input from students, staff, industry and alumni on a regular basis. As well as posting my responses to each challenge on the post itself, I have documented them on my Flickr page page and they are slowly becoming not just art for the pandemic, but for a new and interesting future.

Do You Fancy A Coffee? (2020)

Playtime@London Art Fair

68642B14-4D29-46EE-8E2E-5BD25796BCAE

Smartphone Social Media Performance series (2020)

Thank you to all those who contributed to this project, some were on the wall, some were part of the performance.

Harry Humphreys
Louise Wells
Tamsin Bartlett
Josephine McGuinness
Rebecca McGuinness
Pryle Behrman
Michael Spakowski
Bradley Tearle
Bethany H 
Alex McGuinness
Sonya Bones
Cristian Frias
Gabriele Höhne
Stanislava Andreeva
Sophie Clark
Ana Bruque

Playtime

 

I love my job, both of them, and actually I don’t feel like I am working a lot of the time particularly in my job as a practising artist. Because I enjoy my work, of course  do, I’m an artist and like most artists I have often been asked to undertake work for free on the basis that I shouldn’t mind or expect payment because this is basically what I do for fun and besides, it will be good for my cv (great for early career artists or an opportunity for a huge amount of great quality exposure maybe, but it should be the artists choice and never expected) but no other profession has this problem that I am aware of.

In these times of constant connection, it’s easy to blur the line between work time and ‘play’ time whether on purpose or simply because it is possible to do so. I myself am guilty of sending work emails at ridiculous times of day and night, I do this only because I would rather act on an idea or response as it pops into my head rather than risk forgetting, I do not expect a colleague to answer or respond until a reasonable time during working hours! I feel incredibly guilty though if I then receive a response at an ungodly hour or on a non working day.

These are mainly fairly conscious decisions though, but how does our free time turn into a work situation for someone else though? Well, we use our phones all the time, we switch on location and advertise where we are with each smiling hash tagged selfie.

Advertise, that’s what we do, with each post we make. Of course this isn’t a new thing, this has simply replaced advertising on plastic bags when we used to shop anywhere! We would walk away with a lovely clean crisp plastic bag with our goodies in, advertising to everyone where we had made our purchase. We only do that now if we forget our re-useable bag!

The image below is a reproduction on a wooden device of a screenshot provided by Writtle University College, Art and the Environment student Bradley Tearle.

 

 

Nine minutes Past Eight

image

Nine Minutes Past Eight, (2019) Mixed media on plywood.

At nine minutes past eight just a few days ago I asked my friends a question ‘what does coffee mean to you?’ I received mainly one word answers immediately and I have presented them as miniature artworks, some inspired by the friend, others by the response given. As an artist I largely examine the boundaries between the digital and online presence and how it impacts our identity. Here I am focussing on how social media remains a useful tool for socialising and how Facebook, enables immediate social interaction bringing friends together within a digital environment, as coffee, in a physical space.

Painting

Yesterday at work, in our weekly student led drawing session the task was to apply paint to the surface without using any traditional methods of doing so. In other words, paintbrushes, palette knives etc ere not allowed. I rarely paint using a brush, my paintings tend to reflect how I’m feeling rather than have an intended visual outcome and applying with a brush doesn’t often fit in with this concept. It felt appropriate yesterday to use the discarded blister pack from my painkillers to push the paint around the surface with my fingers in the moulded bits.  I am pleased with the outcome, the drawing sessions are such an important part of our course as it forces us to keep creating and reflecting on our practice.

Untitled (2019) Oil, Water Colour and Acrylic on Water Colour Paper 105 × 148 mm

Untitled (2019) Oil, Water Colour and Acrylic on Water Colour Paper 105 × 148 mm

Untitled (2019) Oil, Water Colour and Acrylic on Water Colour Paper 105 × 148 mm

Untitled (2019) Oil, Water Colour and Acrylic on Water Colour Paper 105 × 148 mm

Untitled (2019) Oil, Water Colour and Acrylic on Water Colour Paper 105 × 148 mm

Change and Waiting

smaller

Spiraling (2018) Wax on paper

The medium of wax has recently become incredibly important to my work, the texture and varying levels of control I can have over it are more important to me than the visual outcome. I am able to rework initial mark making until I am satisfied that I have a finished piece.

I am in a Room…

 

 

I am in a room. The room is a small part of something much bigger, it feels very comfortless. I am overwhelmed for a moment and need to sit down, there is a sense of loss. I feel the mind mutations minute by minute. I feel inspired, then those feelings are squashed by the imposed  limitations. All in the space of a minute.

Troubled Water

IMG_2775

Thinking (2018) Wax on paper

The varied states of mind and elements that contribute to these changes is something I am interested in trying to demonstrate using visual pieces of work. My recent experiments with wax feel to me to be an appropriate medium (albeit quite literal).

The wax solidifies immediately as it hits the surface and becomes unmovable. You can then manipulate the solid wax with heat over and over again, changing the texture and the aesthetic of the piece.

Thanks Dad

image

Thanks Dad for teaching me how to ride a bike, which was a Budgie bike. Thanks for making me chucky eggs and crispy bacon when mum was in hospital having my baby brother. Thanks for all the holidays and taking us on the Catamaran to wales for the day.

My favourite was the bunny…

DSC03711

This is my silver charm bracelet that used to fit me as a child. I used to like looking at it more than wearing it, each charm was bought by my dad when he traveled to a different country. As a baby, I went on the QE2, I can’t remember but the ship charm on the right hand side was bought from that trip and is a tiny replica in silver. I loved it. I’m not sure why I was bought the cat and the dog as I was (and still am ) highly allergic, so not sure what the relevance of those were. I believe I added the silver cross myself when I no longer wore it round my neck (I think the bracelet still fitted me as a teen)

My favourite charm was the rabbit as it had an orange stone for a belly and this fascinated me.