Yesterday Judy and I got together for a ‘freeing’ random painting exercise. As if I’ve ever managed to swing my arm around totally randomly whilst holding a paintbrush or other painting media! The intention was generally to have a bit of fun, with no pre-planning, and see what we came out with. Large sheets of paper and big brushes were to be the choice and new wet media played with.
Luckily for me Judy’s garage is a place of total freedom, so we were off to a good start because splattering paint, making a mess and tipping out dirty water onto nearby plants is quite acceptable. Long tables covered in thick plastic ensures fast clean-up so wherever paint and brushes land is stressless. She also has numerous lines, pegs and all sorts of supplies to hand.
Even though it was supposed to be totally random I confess to having had a couple of things in mind (Oops, already broken the no pre-planning rule). In my Art Explorations class last term I tried some liquid graphite and then bought a small tin of it. It is packed dry, as a cake, into the tin and can be used several ways: scrape flakes out and sprinkle onto wet paper, scrape out into a container and add differing amounts of water to create tones of colour, apply a wet paintbrush directly into the cake, mix in with other coloured media to add a grey tone.
Our first experiment was trying out effects and strengths of colour using lines, washes and dribbles.
We then moved to a representational theme. Judy, being more reckless than I, picked up big brushes, looked around the garage and drew what she saw in front of her. She used the graphite fairly densely in most areas, creating sharp object outlines. By doing multiple strokes without reloading the brush she achieved highlighted areas and this is very obvious particularly along the shaft of the garden fork, right up to the handle.
I’m starting a new printing class on Friday and the first technique is solar plate printing. Having been less than satisfied with my image choice when printing with Seraphina I thought that painting using liquid graphite might give me a good basis for a black and white design able to be transferred to acetate, ready to etch a solar plate. This type of printing requires a solid range of tonal differences to produce effective print outcomes.
The start of a landscape seemed like a good idea. If I draw, separately, birds, hills, distant houses, sheep on a hill or whatever I choose, and have them transferred individually to acetate I will be able to build up a design that can be changed over several solar plates. Perhaps I could produce a series of related plates and prints.
So I took smaller brushes than Judy, looked at more detail and deliberately strived for a range of tonal differences. I’m pretty happy with the outcome so far. Now it will be scanned (high res), reduced to the solar plate size and other components will be considered.
Later: Using Indian inks, large waste paper sheets and big brushes we focused on a garden fork and messed around with colours, sizes and positioning.