Thursday, September 22, 2016

SEEING

Realized I hadn't tried my hand at several techniques that were introduced in Lesson 3 so I set out to do so this afternoon. Even so, I still have a few I haven't tried yet. In this piece, the new-to-me techniques were to create a shape with wax resist using a crayon and painting over it with watered down paint to reveal the shape, and to draw a shape with water soluble graphite and go over it with water in a brush to disperse and move some of the color. Turns out, I don't have only soluble wax crayons, and the graphite crayon I have is not soluble. I improvised with Elmer's glue instead of a white crayon, and a watercolor pastel pencil instead of a graphite crayon.

That said, my goal today is actually not to report on the techniques or materials I used but to be as objective as possible in looking at the finished piece to make observations—not evaluations or interpretations, but straight up observations. As part of the class I'm taking I'm practicing SEEING. Steep learning curve here, since I repeatedly fall into interpreting, often with no awareness whatsoever! Bear with me.

Shapes #11, 9x12"

I see a stack of three simple strong main shapes—a brown ovoid, a blue circle, and an irregular red triangle with torn edges. These shapes are only slightly different in size, and they're the dominant features in the piece. Three much smaller shapes also sit in the stack, two of which are red and carry the color of the rectangle at the top into the rest of the painting. All the shapes touch at least one other, connecting them into the single stack that sits on a diagonal from bottom left to top right and divides the page pretty much in half. The ovoid at the bottom and the rectangle at the top both touch the edge of the page. I see a neutral background, lighter in color than any of the shapes and having a layered quality and color gradations; the background provides softness and contrast to the stack of shapes. Some of the background appears to drift over parts of the two lower shapes, veiling them slightly. Use of line in the ovoid and circle accentuates each shape but doesn't dominate. Textural elements (scribbles, hatch marks, small grid marks) are evident throughout but also don't dominate. The piece includes mixed media—I see what looks to be colored pencil, paint, and collage.






10 comments:

  1. A+ in observation. You kept me from getting lost interpretation. ( Love your substitutions BTW)

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    1. Thanks, Sheila. Still much to learn about objective observing vs subjective interpretation, but every step I take teaches me something.

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  2. Totally agree with Sheila,A+. Love your experiments...Sent email about crayons. You are certainly on a learning spree!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement of my experiments. Off to check email now : )

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  3. I am finally starting to understand the 'observing'-thing that Jane is telling us all the time. It is very instructive how you explain it and show it in this blog.
    I might have to look again at all my paintings, to really observe what I have been doing.
    Instead of thinking: I love it. Or : I don't love it so much...

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    1. The 'observing' thing is surprisingly difficult, I have to say! When Jane first called me to task I immediately did a rewrite for each of my pieces. And, I have to add, I was quite pleased with my efforts … only to have Jane point out how much INTERPRETING I was still doing. I just had to laugh out loud at how far from the mark I still was. I'm grateful for this aspect of the class, and it's nothing I would have anticipated in advance.

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    2. I still have to read all of this. I am so far behind with everything in the class. Have not even read Jane's comment (from which you said in contained praise...;-))

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  4. Find your resist-experiment interesting, but actually had not discovered it yet in Lesson 3. Probably I have been too busy to really see it. ;-)

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    1. Jane demonstrated the crayon wax resist technique in one of the videos. It's a simple technique, one I actually associate with kindergarten or maybe first grade, but I didn't have regular old crayons so I tried an alternative. It worked OK but later I ended up inking over those lines which, of course, is so not the point, and then I tried to mute them again. Pretty funny, but all part of the experimental mindset.

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  5. Hooray for the experimental mindset!

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