[Retrospective post] Part 5, project 1, exercise 2: Different ways of applying paint – dripping, dribbling and spattering

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):

Figure 1. Dripping and dribbling acyrlic paint on a drip and dribble semi-wet background layer of shellac, later to be used as background for an assignment piece
Figure 2. Dripping acrylic paint and ink on dried impasto acrylic medium background produced with serrated spatula, paint running along grooves
Figure 3. Dripping ink on dried impasto acrylic paint background prepared with a criss-cross structure produced by serrated spatula. Ink running not as expected
Figure 4. Dripping ink and dilute acrylic paint on acetate sheet

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:

Figure 5. Ink spattered on plastic foil, then distributed with brush
Figure 6. Ink and acrylic paint spattered on plastic foil, distributed with brush, then “printed” in Rohrschach inkblot manner

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):

Figure 7. Wet watercolour test with very low temperatures and snow

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):

Figure 8. Ink dripped down background layer of acrylic paint mixed in dried crushed leaves

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):

Figure 9. Producing the effect of light reflecting off a glass vase with very simple means – two types of ink running down the canvas together

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.


Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Assignment 5, subject 2: “A Shadow on His Soul” (including Part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Available at:  https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/assignment-5-subject-2-a-shadow-on-his-soul-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) 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]



Part 1, project 1, exercise 2: Applying paint without brushes

Updated on 18 February 2017 (Harvard referencing).

19 February, 2016. Today I finally made myself throw away a lot of the ugly old paintings and drawings I had kept for ages for fear of losing touch with my past. Some of them are on wonderful 600g watercolour paper and I knew that I did want to make use of that. So I made a pile of selected paintings and, to make sure I would not be able to keep them after all, went over them with a layer of white acrylic paint. This paint I put on using a small foam roller, so as to avoid leaving brush marks.

For this exercise I prepared two A2 sheets, one for a monochrome experiment and one for putting on multiple colours. Each I divided in two. One half of each sheet received a dilute coloured wash – monochrome on the first, multicoloured on the second. These I let become dry before starting the experiment described in the study guide.

The following tools were used, plus fingers, a plastic ruler and a rag:

Figure 2. Tools used

22 February, 2016. Yesterday I continued working on the exercise. First I used the monochrome sheet to explore the marks produced by the above tools, from top to bottom the palette knife, notched trowel, sponge (2 rows) and rag, wooden skewer, 2 stainless steel balls, plastic ruler, and finally fingers on the bottom left, and a nailbrush on the bottom right.

Figure 3. Monochrome exercise

With these in mind I went on to my multicoloured A2 sheet, having decided that it should become something like a painting using all of the above. This is the chaotic result, which I call “Spirit Contemplating Fenland Sunset” ;o).

Figure 4. Multicoloured exercise

While painting I tried to observe very closely the interaction of paint and tools and to think carefully about the respective effects, including comparing white and coloured background. Thick layers of acrylic paint will stay pliable for many hours, allowing them to be worked on without the need to proceed too quickly. Sometimes it is interesting, however, to allow a layer to become partially dry before continuing to work on it. This is especially important, if I need to produce fine lines e.g. with my nailbrush. Details regarding the tools used see below:

Figure 5. Tools used: notched trowel, palette knife, fingers, wooden skewer and tube of paint
Figure 6. Tools used: notched trowel, fingers and sponge
Figure 7. Tools used: palette knife, tube of paint, wooden skewer, nailbrush, fingers, sponge and rag
Figure 8. Tools used: notched trowel, nailbrush, sponge and rag, palette knife, fingers and wooden skewer

I will use the above results as add-on reference when planning new paintings throughout the course.