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Archive for May 16th, 2014

14BlueBlackSplashAllowing paint to drip is part of the modern sensibility. You can see it in Picasso and Matisse, for example. It was shocking a hundred years ago, but not anymore. We moderns are invigorated by the physicality and the sometimes unruly behavior of the paint. We interpret it as a metaphor for energy and vitality. Modern painters may even chose to deliberately splash paint on the canvas.
Now, splashing paint is not as simple as it may sound. If you want the splash in a particular part of your work, you’ll soon discover that it actually tricky to achieve this. After all, you’re flicking a paint-loaded brush. Among the variables are: how high you swing the brush, with what movement, at what speed, and at what angle. It soon dawns on you that if you’re going to incorporate splashing in your painting, you need to—oh, this sounds ridiculous—practice splashing.
Maria Palacios, one of my painting students, made just this discovery recently. She has since moved on to experimenting with different techniques, but when the urge to splash strikes her again, I will set up a long work table for her and cover it with brown paper so that she can practice her swing. That will be revelatory.
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