Reflection on Painting

By Bianca Polak

12 September 2006


Rereading chapter 3 on Emotional Blocks from “Conceptual Blockbusting: A guide to Better Ideas” of James L. Adams this morning I realised that again I had waited till the last moment to write my reflection on last weeks exercises. It makes me wonder whether this is showing my ability to incubate or whether it’s just me procrastinating. The answer to that is probably a bit of both. Personally I feel it’s never good to reflect directly after an “event”, things need to sink in and process in the unconscious before a proper reflection can be done.

Reflecting on the brainstorming exercise that we did in class prior to starting on the painting, it was interesting that I didn’t feel a personal connection to problem (getting the ping pong ball out of a drain) and therefore didn’t feel the motivation to come up with ideas. It was also interesting to play the role of an observer to see what my classmates came up with and how the ideas for possible solutions started getting weirder and weirder.

With the painting exercise, initially I tried to make a more conceptual representation with the left side being neat and tidy (to represent symmetrical) and the right half a bit more messy (asymmetrical). After switching to paint Ruth’s clay figure, I looked more at the form and substance of the material and tried to represent that. Switching back to my own clay figure, I tried to apply that way of looking at it as well and tried to represent the form of it. It was actually refreshing to paint someone else’s work as it gives a fresh look at it without being bothered by the original concepts behind it, just purely looking at the forms.

The next exercise to paint over someone else’s work, in my case Bee Gek’s painting was interesting. There was already a representation of the clay figure painted on the paper and I had to paint over it. I decided to focus on the outlines and represented that. Meanwhile Ruth touched up my painting 3 and also seemed to have added an outline and some shadow-like accents. Contrary to what we were “supposed” to be feeling or expected to be feeling, a sense of mourning that someone else was touching my work and hesitation to touch someone else’s work, I didn’t quite feel that. It’s probably because we all knew this is an exercise and something that I took just 3 minutes to make is maybe not that important to me. But I can imagine that if I would really make an artwork of some kind that is personally meaningful to me and spent a lot of effort in making it and someone would start to change it, I would feel a sense of loss.

In the final painting I worked on the outline only and tried to apply some shadow effects, purely trying to represent the form of the clay work.

Besides the dimensions of time and space that we have so far explored, this week we have tried to explore another dimension, that of “self”. It is the hardest one to comprehend and it will probably take a life-time to fully explore self, but I guess we can come closer to it being aware of it.


Pictures of the paintings


My clay figure

My Painting 1

Ruth’s clay figure

My painting 2 of Ruth’s clay figure

Bee Gek’s painting 2 of my clay figure


My painting 3 (before)

Painting 3 (after) with Ruth’s touch up

Bee Gek’s painting 3 after my touch up

Bee Gek’s clay figure

My painting 4 (final version)