Samantha Humphreys

Art, Photography & Inspiration

Tag: Life

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

Eternal Musings (working title)

Mandalas

Last week I took part in a drawing session at the university I teach at. The session is student led and this particular workshop involved choosing a print out from a list of well known, course relevant and extremely well chosen texts that we had to annotate in any way we pleased in a creative way.

I chose The Time Machine by H.G. Wells Pg 48-49, not a book I have red interestingly enough but the text spoke of hope for the future, new growth and a hint that humanity has not yet destroyed the earth. This, coupled with my interests in mental health, wellbeing and my desire to, indeed, save the planet. I found that I started developing Mandalas on the page.

This piece here is not my first attempt in the drawing session, the idea of the session is that you think as you draw, there is a time limit and I soon realised that I did not have the right tools with me to properly develop so I saw this as a preparation for a more developed piece.

The Mandala has many meanings culturally and in a variety of religions. My interests lay in the circular design of the Mandala, symbolising the concept that everything is connected. I am drawn to the idea of a personal design that holds meaning to the creator and can be instrumental to wellbeing. The use of the Mandala in the time machine piece speaks of both healing our environment and our mental wellbeing which has become increasingly fragile.

Once you get past the mathematical accuracy needed to create a successful Mandala (which I have not yet mastered) the process focuses the mind completely, there is no need for checking emails, social media or any other contemporary distractions that cause our brains to fill to capacity and inevitably, break down.

What if? is a question that has come up in my work before, but what if we could gather all the experts in the fields of : Sustainability, Climate crisis, Mental health and wellbeing to name a few….and using knowledge and science, go back to where we made our biggest mistakes and change it? Un-invent single use plastics and disposeable nappies and anything else clogging up the earth in landfill? Change the laws allowing young people to use social media? Not have social media at all? These are just my initial thoughts, but can you imagine? The time travel thing is just a bit of fun, what I find strange though is that despite watching a lifetime of Doctor Who and having watched time travel stories over the years-it was only when I placed the Mandalas over the text of a book I haven’t read, that I saw a connection between the mental state of humanity and the fragile state of the planet. A friend looked at the piece and she described it as eternal musings, which I think is a good description of what the piece represents.

I will be doing more research and developing this idea….

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.

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.

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.

Anxy Birds (with unnecessary drama )

anyxbirdsdramaA story of life as part of a bird family…

Ludere

stairs

I should have seen it coming back then, how could I not have?

All The Better To See You With

cloak

I have recently been making a set of small studies based on the variations in my mental state of mind juxtaposed with childhood fears and the fears associated with being a mother.