Monday, January 23, 2012

Inspiration Creeps Up On Me

I admit it, I find inspiration in the oddest places!

While waiting for a delivery of Paverpol so I can try more of this, I've been prepping for my upcoming 3-dimensional studies by painting deli papers of various sizes with fluid acrylic paints. Here is what's often left behind after a few days of this kind of work. 


This is a sample of the inexpensive craft paper I use to protect my work surface. It's not art, not even close, and considering the papers' grainy pulp and waxy backing, it probably never will be. (It makes stupendous wrapping paper and book covers, though, so it almost never gets thrown out!) Each sheet is used until it has gaping holes in it and then I stash away what's left, tear another sheet off the roll, and start the process again. But along the way as it sits on my worktop, I find myself fascinated by what happens to the surface. Over multiple painting sessions, the colors begin to blend with one another, some behaving as resists, some maintaining the transparency of watercolors. Sharp edges, unintentional smudges, and fragments of Stacked Journaling all build, layer on layer, finding depth and movement all on their own by happy accident.

In an effort to try and direct this process more intentionally, to guide it without killing the serendipity that creates such lovely intersections of design, I decided to cut a 30" x 30" piece of multi-purpose fabric and use it for a while, instead of the craft paper, as my work surface.

With a 4" plastic putty knife, I trowled on a thin layer of Gesso just to make sure the fabric was crisply white, and laid it up under my work surface.


While it developed randomly over the next few days, I also worked into it with intention, using my paints to enhance some areas and obliterate others. Now this is not something totally new here, we've all looked down at our tarps and thought, "Wow, that looks pretty cool," but it provided a bit of fun and distraction while waiting for the Paverpol to arrive. After a while, though, I just set it aside, not understanding yet what it was trying to teach me... if anything.

Then, over the weekend, my sweetie walked past my work table, pointed casually at the canvas, and said, "I like that..." and walked on into the house.

Ok, I decided, so maybe I wasn't totally off-base after all. I brought it back and slipped it under my work surface again, figuring that at least I could study it for a few more days and see if there was a way to create a painting like this that I actually liked.

On Saturday night, it occurred to me that the sharply-defined painted corners kept snagging my attention and that I'd like to enhance them, so I drew myself a little template on a small piece of clear plastic and used it to faintly monoprint acrylic paint Stacked Journaling into the corners.



I liked the look of that, but it was too subtle, so I did a quick high-contrast study on a stretched canvas. 


(detail)

Yes. I was liking the idea of high contrast SJ much better, but I still wasn't crazy in general for my first attempts. I began to doubt that I really had anything, here.

And then I noticed a plastic tarp that I had also recently been painting on. It had been covering my print table and was developing its own layer of interesting textures. I slapped it up onto the design wall.


Aha, now that was inspiring.

Going back to the drawing board, I cut a huge piece of multi-purpose fabric and started painting into it.


Ok, yeah, now I'm starting to feel it.

This piece, which is incomplete while it awaits some Stacked Journaling, is approximately 41" x 45".

The Paverpol arrives on Wednesday, so I hope to have the SJ monoprinted onto it before then!

Look for some fun news here on this blog on Friday, and in the meantime, create experimentally!
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