20 July 2013

Ways into abstract painting - day 5

Final day of the course, and we're working on our own projects.

(Some of the colours in the photos are strange, despite attempts to correct them in photoshop - the camera sees the light, and combinations of different kinds of light, in a way that our brains compensate for!)

As part of the "mulling" process for the project, I researched and collected the images in the Blackberrying poem - the colour and shapes of "high meadows glowing as if lit from within", what an orange north face of a hill might look like, that sort of thing -
Not sure where this idea of using the colours from the poem would lead ... so, feeling fed up with the greens I'd done the previous day, I started anew. Vaguely thinking of putting all the colours in one place, I totally lost sight that this might end up as a picture, whereas this is a course on - abstraction -
 "What are you going to do with the white?" What better time to add a wash in the background, than now -- so on went a nice contrasty orange colour -
While that was drying, I went back to those green swoops I'd prepared earlier - with a view to using what had already been done for two "pages" of a book idea that was forming.

There was room for two more pages top and bottom on that sheet, so on the bottom I added a wash
 and into the wet, the "red-blue juices ... squandered on my fingers" -
I'm using a palette knife rather than a brush - love the unexpected things that happen. This is supposed to be primarily about the colours mentioned in the poem ... but I find myself in a dangerous territory between abstraction and re-imagination ...

While the red-blue juices dry, and because it's nearly lunchtime, a bit of practice with the bird shapes, from my reference material -
Finding some bits of tracing paper, I thought to have the birds literally as "burnt bits of paper", knowing the wet paper would curl ... but quickly abandoned that idea as too bulky, impractical.

Immediately after lunch I cut up the "green" sheet into four strips, and made some more strips - for the "sea of white and pewter lights", the "chinese screen of flies" on the ripe bush, the "blown sky" with the cacophonous coughs -

The lane with "nothing but blackberries" got painted too - in a dreadful rush - but I forgot to photograph it. Ditto the orange face of the hills. Didn't have a chance to add words, as I'd wanted - it was time to put the work up on the wall. 

I got the idea that, as it was a book, it needed a title ... and then wished I hadn't, this is meant to be about abstraction not illustration ... but it all came right in the end because there was just enough time to read out the poem, after which people said it all made more sense. (There was a suggestion I should make it into an "audio book" ... hmm ...)
The orange hill has already been edited out, and the rest needs cropping a bit. And some words need adding. Or maybe it's a matter of starting over, more thoughtfully - though I feel it was the rush to "get it all done" that led to unexpected results and discoveries.

And now a look round the room, stripped as far as possible of its visual clutter, at the other work produced in the class. Many ideas, various levels of experience, each an individual voice -

Note the importance of cropping, and the role of framing/matting in displaying the work to best advantage. 

What do I take forward from this course? I enjoyed mixing the colours - with considerable brio, as time ran out - and sort of know what comprises abstraction, though my own project veered away from that. I loved using the palette knife, and applying colour with fingers and cloth - anything, in fact, rather than a brush ... there's something unlovely, ungainly about my brush strokes ...

Busy few days coming up, so I hope that when I have time to make the book (drum leaf binding?) I won't be too far away from that feeling about it that I had in the class - in other words, will it ever get finished, given the intervening time?

This course runs regularly at City Lit - I'd quite like to repeat it one day, one day a week for 10 weeks.

Oh, that one with the orange wash - while the "book pages" were drying, I wiped off the "dripping blood", added a few swipes with the palette knife, and cropped off the bottom -
No great shakes - useful for painting something else on top of it. 


Marian Hall said...

I've enjoyed following your class - thanks.

JAQUINTA said...

it has been good to follow your day by day account of this course