Project 15: Out of the Blue

In my last post – here – I mentioned how I had visited the Bridget Riley Exhibition and the impact it had on me. Well this is a direct result of that visit. The work here is very different to Riley’s: it is not geometrical and its binary in colour – but yet it shares a focus on the essence of the subject matter that I like.

I have had some cyanotype paper sitting on a shelf for ages and so began experimenting with that as I wanted this work to begin differently – physically. Here is an early attempt. The images are traces of tiny sterile lancets I used to check my blood INR each week. The left hand image is an unprocessed scan and the right hand version one I have processed.


I liked the process and the outcome. The images seemed to offer the viewer something different and new (elemental) in regard of the subject matter and so I considered what would lend itself best to it. Looking around at all the kit I use it occurred to me that I have not documented things like Movocol and Mircolax. Yes, I had taken photos of the vessels that hold the material but not the actual material, and that is the main difference. The images I aimed to create were some of the things that form the very basic building blocks of stuff that keeps me functioning. But rather than trying to capture them in use or in their containers I wanted to capture something of their essence.

2013 image of Microlax vessels

I selected the following:

· Ispaghula
· Movocol
· Microlax
· Medical adhesive polymer

The Process
I placed a large piece of glass over the paper and then discharged the material on it (spraying, squirting and dropping it). I set the time between 4 and 8 minutes depending on how strong the sunlight was and then immersed the paper in cold water. Here are the resulting cyanotypes.


I was pleased with the results as they did offer something new to say. Their forms simultaneously said something abstract, basic and physically real. I left all the little imperfections such as where the paper had folder over of become distorted through the water and worked on the images.

This final image below is entitled Blueprint as it references both the nature of the images and my blueprint for managing some aspects of my impairment. I think the large boarder provides the images with their own space in a way that is not present without it, and the image should be shown quite large – maybe 20 inches or so – to enable people to see the detail. Of course an alternative would be to show the original images under glass rather than a digital version of them….

Blueprint (2015) P Mansell

Blueprint1 (1 of 1)

This project, although short, was really refreshing. That’s all thanks to Bridget Riley and maybe Yves Klein 😉


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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1 Response to Project 15: Out of the Blue

  1. Catherine says:

    It’s good – new and different and fits your concept.

    Liked by 1 person

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