15 March 2017. Again I need to combine my retrospective report on two exercises. This is for two reasons: The first is due to my failed rearranging my working sequence for this part of the course and the second is directly connected with the nature of shadows. Shadows are per se natural, there is no way of having anything like an artificial shadow. So any abstracting from shadows belongs to Exercise 1 of this project. On the other hand, the behaviour of the naturally occurring shadows I observed for this project were distorted by man-made forms, grids and bottles, which belongs to Exercise 2. So what I need to do is write a combined report. Again I need to apologize for double-posting images. Since the associated series of experiments was very long, I also ask to kindly refer to my extensive report in the post writing up the work for the first project of my submission for Assignment 5, “A Shadow Only Painting” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a). Here I provide a summary of the most important steps in the process (Fig. 1-5):
Below are the results I achieved with my stencil for various types of paint, inks and pastels (Fig. 4):
Figure 4. Stencil results
After that I used my son’s new 3D pen to make an outline painting of the pencil sketch in my sketchbook and continued experimenting with the shadows produced by this shadow of a shadow, thus producing sequential abstract paintings derived at the same time from both natural and man-made forms:
Figure 5. 3D pen and the self-propagating shadow
This series of experiments was highly enjoyable and revealing regarding the wonderful possibilities arising from the creative process involved in becoming aware of emergent properties. Equipped with these results I embarked on turning the patterns seen into paintings for my Assignment 5 submission.
14 March 2017. I decided to report on the two exercises in this project in one post, since I combined them in some of the experiments I carried out.
This post is going to be somewhat difficult, because I threw away some of my experiments – they had nothing to do with my assignment pieces and went into the bin after I had submitted my portfolio.
I did a whole A2 watercolour paper with glue, dilute violet watercolour and writing ink. In order to at least describe the effects I made this bullet list for effects noticed:
wet glue spread thinly had no influence on dilute paint or ink dripped on it, both spread through the glue into the paper uninhibited
dry glue spread thinly repels some of both ink and paint, but much less so than anticipated
wet glue in strings will attract ink to travel underneath and into it. The ink spread slowly into the strongs of glue to add a greenish hue
dry glue will hold ink to a large extent, although a little will always travel for some small distance in the paper under the glue, paint will be repelled and the pattern produced by the ink stands out
wet glue placed on wet ink or paint repels some of the pigment contained, so that unpigmented rings develop around it. The degree of repulsion depends on the type of pigment involved
wet glue placed on dry paint or ink has no further effect
For the remaining experiments covering these two exercises I have photos. A few of these appear in other posts for this part of the course, since due to my failed rearranging of exercises they combine approaches (e.g. preparing a textured ground and dripping paint).
Since the effect of glue was a bit disappointing, I repeated the same with acrylic binder (in preparation for an assignment piece in my project “A Shadow on His Soul” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a) (Fig.1-2):
The following two experiments (Fig. 3-4) were already described in my “impasto” post (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b), both using serrated spatulae to create a rough texture to be used later in painting portraits of Bashar al-Assad for my assignment project “A Shadow on His Soul” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a).
Continuing the series by examining the special properties of acrylic binder, which I developed a liking for over time, I added sand, charcoal and white as well as writing ink at various stages during the drying process (Fig. 6 below):
In the series of experiments on mixing other materials into paint I had produced a background of white acrylic paint with dried, crushed leaves mixed in. In a dripping experiment I had used this background to see whether a shadow effect might be produced with applying ink with a pipette from one edge (Lacher-Bryk, 2016c). While the former did not work at all, I found that emphasizing the existing texture with a combination of writing ink and Persian Red antique ink would result in an incredibly beautiful metallic lustre and interplay of structure with the charateristics of the applied inks (Fig. 7-8):
Following an impasto experiment using acrylic paint and crushed willow charcoal (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b) I decided to investigate the properties of this type of background for my assignment painting project covering Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Shadow” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016d) (Fig. 9):
I very much enjoyed experimenting with texture. This was only a taster of a world of endless possibilities, but since it was dedicated to serve a particular purpose, I was also quite happy to have come up with a working background layer solution for Andersen’s tale.
Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016d) Assignment 5, subject 3: Hans Christian Andersen “The Shadow”. An attempt at an illustration (including part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/assignment-5-subject-3-hans-christian-andersen-the-shadow-an-attempt-at-an-illustration-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]
14 March 2017. I have to admit that I am not a great devotee of these techniques. In one week-long course dedicated to experimentation I did several years ago we had a great day splashing paint on all sorts of supports and guessing at the things we could then do with the results, but I am not convinced, because I have not yet been able to identify, for me, a purpose other than a decorative one. I guess that attitude depends on ability and I tried to gain some more confidence in this part of the course. The dripping and dribbling experiments, inlcuding the portrait drawings below were all carried out using a pipette. What I find is that I am always tempted to interfere with the process or think ahead of what I might need it for, so this is what my results reflect (Fig. 1-9):
Next I examined some spattering effects with ink and acrylic paint on plastic foil. (Fig. 5-6). Although the initial effects were interesting and later used in connection with my Assignment piece “A Shadow on His Soul” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a), I noticed that paint and ink would – not immediately but after a week or two – stop adhering to the foil. Flakes would come off, so that I consider the combination inadequate for any but short-term use:
Since there was a long spell of very cold weather I then tested the effect of -15°c and the addition of snow on wet splatters of dilute watercolour on two different types of watercolour paper (smooth and rough). I had imagined that ice cyrstals should form to give the drying paint some interesting structural effects. But not so. The paint would not dry even after hours in the sun, so after taking the paper back into the house the snow and ice would melt, leaving nothing I could not have produced without the cold (Fig. 7):
On more acrylic paper I had prepared a mix of white acrylic paint and crushed leaves for exercise 2 in project 2 of this part. In order to see whether letting ink run in one direction would produce some shadow effects I applied some to the dried background. The effect was hardly noticeable, unfortunately, since the acrylic paint would make the ink flow in all directions, ignoring the law of gravity (Fig. 8):
Finally I want to report one dripping effect, which was not part of an exercise but appeared while painting one assignment piece. I had mixed black writing ink and white ink to paint a small vase for the table-top in Andersen’s “The Shadow” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b), which after application did not ingnore the effects of gravity, but settled in a beautiful way to produce a believable effect of light reflecting off the glass of the vase (Fig. 9):
I know that after these experiments I have hardly started exploring all possible effects. I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to experimenting some more in this direction in my next course.
14 March 2017. In her feedback to Assignment 5 my tutor suggested that I rearrange my blog for Part 5 of the course for easier cross-reference in assessment. Since doing this with the existing blog posts would in my opinion produce more trouble than clarification I decided that I would produce retrospective posts fitting the project exercises in the sequence of appearance in the study guide (Open College of the Arts, 2011, pp. 123-134). I apologize for double-posting images already contained in the posts covering the work for my assignment pieces.
So, here is my exercise work for testing the impasto technique of applying paint. In Part 3 of the course I had already started using my palette knives (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a) (Fig. 1). After an awkward start I had found them increasingly good and easy to use:
Also part of my preparatory work and assignment piece for Assignment 4 was mostly painted using impasto (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b). The finished result unfortunately suffered from a deplorable longer-term change of colour in the black paint I had used then (it turned a very unfortunate indifferent dark grey after I had taken the photo, which swallowed all the beautiful elements visible in Fig. 2 below), but I was quite happy with the structural quality of the rocks produced. I also noticed that my confidence in using palette knives grew quickly:
For the present exercise I first produced an intuitive multi-layered impasto piece, in which I examined the emergent properties of depth and light effects. This 56 x 42 cm acrylic paper would later become the background for one of my Assigment 5 pieces (Lacher-Bryk, 2016c) (Fig. 3).
Next I produced some monochrome structured layers on 42 x 56 cm acrylic paper, first using acrylic medium only on top of a dried white background (Fig. 4), then using acrylic paint directly (Fig. 5). The structures were created using two different kinds of large serrated spatulae. Both the exercises below were later used in my Assignment 5 project “A Shadow on his Soul” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016d):
Some more impasto effects I also tested in preparation for my third Assignment 5 project. In particular, I mixed finely grated willow charcoal into white acrylic paint and applied it with a palette knife. The charcoal dust mixed with the paint to give a wonderful cool grey, while the larger pieces moved with the direction of the palette knife to produce a very attractive pattern (middle row in Fig. 6 below. This type of mix I later used to prepare the background layer for my third assignment piece (Lacher-Bryk, 2016e).
Impasto for me is an incredibly versatile technique, which I will without any doubt come back to regularly with great joy.