Tuesday 24 October 2017

Contemporary Painting Studio weeks 1 & 2

I'm getting back into my stride now on the second week of 'Contemporary Painting Studio' at City Lit with Lucinda Oestreicher, picking up where I left off on 'Ways into Abstract Painting' .  
The piece above  used one of the newspaper collaged backgrounds I'd prepared,  with brushstrokes  inspired by Pierre Soulages. Still a bit heavy handed  but I've some further backgrounds to play with  

The first week  was a bit difficult -  being the 'new girl' in an established group; new equipment (option of   a large screen  in addition to an easel); the ' where do I start' dilemma after a gap of several months. My main problem ( as usual!) was having too many ideas  and trying to do everything at once .
I'd initially decided when booking the class all those months ago ( it fills up very quickly) that I would use the opportunity to leave work there to develop my oil painting techniques   and that my subject matter would be boats, continuing  from 'Reading a Paint Surface'
So I started off with  developing compositions   based on  sketches and photos from Iron Wharf  ( we had another walk around there a couple of Sunday's ago , I must post some more photos, there's a new old boat!) 

But of course I'd also taken some of  my artwork based on breakwaters and  did some colour sketches of those too.  While I was waiting  my turn for some advice from Lucinda, I prepared some more scumbled backgrounds ( one of the many useful techniques from Advanced Painting course).

The  suggestions from Lucinda were to try out   many compositions in black and white only, working tonally initially and to take just one subject at a  time and explore it thoroughly.   Of course I knew that  but in my haste to get into colour  I'd forgotten the basics! There wasn't time to do many in the class but I bore it in mind for the next session  and was much better prepared. 

 Week 2 started with a look at everyone's work so far, to see different peoples  approaches to using reference materials , testing out ideas, getting started.  Some were using  collage , others painting on photocopies or cropping images , there was working directly from sketchbooks, blowing up images on the OHP projector, layering images and a couple starting painting directly and responding to what was happening on the surface, doing one piece and then working from that in a series of samples  not referring to the original source. Most were working from photos or sketches but a few were working  with more abstract concepts including family memories  and recent events in the news. 
I'd brought in  a  folder with the work I'd done in Photoshop  for ' Birchington Breakwaters' ( which I suppose was tonal being red and white rather than black and white)  along with  sketches  and photos of  my journal quilts and previous paintings. Lucinda referred to it as the 'archive' approach. In a later discussion  she said she could see how both my scientific  and textile backgrounds  came into play with my methodical  sampling of techniques.  

There were demonstrations of image transfer  using acrylic gloss gel  ( which I realised afterwards was the basis of paper lamination )  and of using the OHP to play with scale and orientation of images. I used this to combine  photos and drawings on acetate  projected onto a larger piece of paper.  Interesting use of obsolete equipment, years ago I used my slide projector  to project a slide of Moroccan sand dunes onto  my quilt top for ' Erg Chebbi',  I'm just as happy using tracing paper as it simplifies the image. 

With my reference material taped to my  wheeled screen I worked on  a scumbled background with  just black and white acrylic paint

At the end of the session, rather than throw the paint away, I used it up scraping  it on my paper 'dropsheet' with a credit card. Love the marks which suggest rocks and sea foam

I'm feeling more settled now  in continuing to explore the theme of breakwaters and the interaction between my painting and textile practice. On Friday  I'm heading  off  again to Studio 11 in Eastbourne for a mentoring session with Christine Chester.(I'm planning to do some monoprinting with my bench time )  Filling in the questionnaire   has already helped a lot in making decisions about what to concentrate on , in this case breakwaters and acrylics rather than boats and oil paints as is feeds in more directly into my textile work . 

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Love the bit scraped with the credit card. It really works as you say like spray of water on rocks!
Your Breakwaters pieces show your observation of them over the years - very strong compositions as a result.