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Posts Tagged ‘work process’

potsMarker
This page shows me noodling with a marker. It’s a demo, not on how to do this right, but how to keep working at it.
The class was facing a still life set up and we were discussing composition. How can you make this pile of pots into an interesting, dynamic composition on the page? I said, I don’t know, let’s see, how would I go at this. I taped an 11 x 17 piece of gloss paper to a drawing board and did one take after another. I gained some insight from one failure after another. I started on the left with a big drawing and worked towards the right edge of the paper, until, finally it came together. So that the small frame at the lower right felt like a resolution: it has some life.
This was scribbling, staying with it, working it out. It seems obvious that this is what you need to do. But students usually think that when they tape a piece of paper to their drawing board, they’re going to produce a work of genius. This is it. This may be my big breakthrough. Well, yes, it might be. But it’s all part of a work process and you have to be prepared to slug it out with your drawing tool. Something may develop on your paper but it’s more important that something develop in your mind.
A page like this takes about a minute, certainly less than two. When I do this, I have no thought of producing anything wonderful or impressive or frame-worthy. I just draw furiously, trying to make the elements hang together, trying to understand–visually–what I’m working with. I risk failure all the time and you can see the evidence of that on this page. Risk-taking focuses the mind.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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14MarchPassageLThis is a passage from a larger painting, which will appear at the end of this post.

When  you’re working on a painting, it may happen that you feel you’re getting carried away and that you can’t see the unity in what’s on your canvas.  You love all the parts but you feel that as a whole it  doesn’t hang together. This often happens as a painting draws near completing and the artist becomes self-conscious about having to please an audience.

In that case, you can pull out your camera (or phone) and take pictures of just passages of the painting.  You’ll discover that within your painting there are any number of potential paintings.  This exercise will refresh your eye and your mind.  It will remind you of what you love in a painting and lead you back to focusing on your individual sensibility.  The audience will find itself.

14MarchPainting by Patty Cohen, oil on canvas, 24”x24”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

Now consider the following passages from Patty’s painting as potential paintings in themselves.  Imagine them as large paintings.

14MarchPassage3 14MarchPassage4 14MarchPassage5

14MarchPassage114MarchPassage614MarchPassage2

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13LornaRocksOne

This large painting (30” x 40”) was inspired by a photo of rocks on a sea shore.  You can probably guess that the arrangement of the rocks corresponds roughly to the large ocher area on the left.  After that the paint takes over.  The artist/student, Lorna Grothe,  is finished with representation after that.  The rocks have served their purpose.  Where does all that purple come from?  You can be sure the ocean was not purple in the photo.  The painting has taken over.

The first stage, just purple and ocher, is shown above. Then 130509Lornashe added the large white.  Then some more patches of color, black and red, over the purple.  After that she was at a loss over what to do next.  Because acrylic dries fast, we were able to jiggle the imagination by just sticking some scraps of paper on the painting surface.  The next image shows the painting with these patches of color ripped from a magazine.  You can’t do this if you’re working in oil because the oil dries so slowly.  But here we have an advantage of acrylic:  when you’re stuck, just glue some patches onto the surface to help you imagine the work anew.

130516Lorna1After all the snippets of paper were removed, her sense of the work was refreshed and Lorna moved into the last stage.  Here’s the final painting, at least for this term.  Work may continue on this painting, but it may also be considered completed.

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