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.
In addition, I am interested in forming a large focal area with sufficient blank space where I can consider what more I want to add when the transfer time comes.
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.
The overlying spatter just…. well………. finishes these masterpieces off, don’t you think?
Thanks for a great day Claire.
You can’t break rules when there aren’t any 🙂
A fun day and liquid graphite is definitely on my shopping list. Looking forward to seeing what you do with your landscape.
I love my tree. Now I need some birds, a swinging tyre, grazing sheep ………
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Looks like a fun day! If you want free flowing, I think we might need to tie your dominant hand behind your back and make you use the other one with big brushes and sloppy medium. So not you. Seriously, I like your landscape idea and the tree. The liquid graphite looks like an interesting medium. I’ve never used it. I really like the colour ones – the spatter marks do add to it, don’t they?
Nola, I’ll bring the liquid graphite to your place next time we get together because I know you’re going to love it.
And yes, the spatter made a big difference. They were lacking something before that. This is about as random as I get I think.
Recent tutors are telling me I should just be myself and continue to agonise over my artworks if I need to because it’s just my way.
Yes, please, would love to try it. We’ll have to start a list… I think those tutors are right, I think we should be who we are, not try to be someone else.
As I said to Judy, I’m very envious of your sketch-fest meet-up. Looks like it is as fruitful as I imagined (a little jealously). Is it difficult to create alongside another or is it easier?
Judy and I are very different in many ways and I find it encouraging to work with her because she has a million ideas I don’t have and I expect it’s the same vice versa. She is very experimental and loose in her creativity, I’m much more controlled and contained. She lets things evolve and just happen (in most instances), I plan more and agonise over the details. I worry over outcomes, she accepts what will eventuate and works from there. I’m sure a bit of each of us rubs off on the other and, over time, that should widen our experiences, method of working and expectations.
We both have a similar sense of personal ethics and standards, strive to work to our own goals and appreciate each others feedback.
The idea is not to be competitive and change a working method to suit each other but, rather, to push our own personal boundaries and learn from each other.
This sounds like both balance and contrast, importantly the ethics and standards unite you, as well as a very apparent love and passion fro creating. Thank you for your insight.