[Retrospective post] Part 5, project 3, exercises 1 and 2: Towards abstraction – abstract painting from man-made form and abstraction from study of natural forms

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):

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Figure 1. Testing the distortion of shadows made by grids on bottles under natural lighting conditions (intense sunshine)
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Figure 2. Sketchbook – pencil sketch of working setup
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Figure 3. Finished stencil with inserted A4 paper

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.

References:

Lacher-Bryk (2016a) Assignment 5, subject 1: “A Shadows Only Painting” (including Part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/assignment-5-subject-1-a-shadows-only-painting-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 15 March 2017]

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Part 4, project 5, exercise 3: Working from drawings and photographs – working from a photograph

Updated on 23 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

20 November 2016. How time flies. On April 20th this year I found a photograph in our local newspaper, which I knew I would like to try for this exercise. It has neither trees in the foreground nor hills in the background as set out in the study guide, but the subject – strips made by tractor mowing the grass – and composition are so beautiful that I want to take the risk and try it nevertheless (Fig. 1).

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Figure 1. Sketchbook – collecting ideas for the exercise

Regarding the physics behind the phenomenon, which is well-known mostly from football fields, I found a (German language) explanation (Dewald, 2012). Countless artists noticed and made extensive use of the beauty of this effect. David Hockney (*1937, UK)  used it in his series of Yorkshire landscape paintings, e.g. in “Garrowby Hill” painted in 1998 (Hockney, n.d.(a)) or “Going up Garrowby Hill” from 2000 (Pinterest, n.d.), both shown below as printouts from the internet (Fig. 1). It has also inspired more abstract painters such as Latvian artist Raimonds Staprans (*1926) (Fig. 2) and even quiltmakers, e.g. “Sunset Desert” by Gloria Loughman (*?, Canada) (Loughman, n.d.).

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Figure 1. Sketchbook – internet printouts of David Hockney’s paintings “Garrowby Hill” (top) and “Going up Garrowby Hill” (bottom)
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Figure 2. Sketchbook – internet printout of Raimonds Staprans’ style of painting

26 November 2016. After having had another look at my photo, I knew that I would want it changed somehow, because after the excursion to Hockney’s paintings it suddenly felt boring, and the pattern transferred to another, wider, undulating landscape. I went to look for suitable photos and decided to superimpose the former on the latter, changing both colours and composition (Fig. 3):

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Figure 3. Sketchbook – Internet printout of undulating landscape

27 November 2017. This is how far I got today. I noticed how important it is to try and feel the story behind each part of the landscape, so this is not a matter of just adding stripes, but I need to feel my way round both reality and the developing composition (Fig. 4):

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Figure 4. Developing the landscape, 40 x 40 cm acrylic paper

28 November 2016. Today I worked some more on this painting, adding new patterns with care, changing the colours of older ones and trying to guide the viewer through the image (Fig. 5):

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Figure 5. Finished painting

I think that I should leave it where it is now. The composition feels complete to me, for whatever reason. In order to make it a working painting, however, I would need to apply paint with greater consistency across the whole support. It was an interesting experiment and quite revealing regarding the thought processes involved in the abstraction of patterns taken from the real world.

References:

Dewald, U. (2012) Rätselhafte grüne Streifen. Warum der Rasen auf dem Fußballfeld gestreift ist
[online]. Farbimpulse. Das Onlinemagazin für Farbe in Wissenschaft und Praxis, 20 June. Available at: http://www.farbimpulse.de/raetselhafte-gruene-streifen.fussballfeld.0.html [Accessed 20 November 2016]

Hockney, D. (n.d.(a)) Garrowby Hill [online]. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Available at: http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_paintings_90.php [Accessed 20 November 2016]

Hockney, D. (n.d.(b)) Going Up Garrowby Hill [online]. Private Collection. Available at: https://www.pinterest.com/OTHCArt/david-hockney/ %5BAccessed 20 November 2016]
Loughman, G. (n.d.) Landscape Quilts [image collection] [online]. Gloria Loughman. Available at:  https://www.glorialoughman.com/copy-of-building-quilts?lightbox=dataItem-iygx84ye [Accessed 23 March 2017]Pinterest (n.d.) Raimonds Staprans [image collection] [online]. Pinterest. Available at: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=raimonds staprans&rs=typed&term_meta[]=raimonds|typed&term_meta[]=staprans|typed [Accessed 23 March 2017]