Friday, September 7, 2012

activating the surface

One of the early exercises in Expressive Drawing is named "Working with Flux Nonobjectively." Similar to the "scribbling" exercise that we did with Rebecca in Telluride, this exercise consists of short, timed bursts of drawing interspersed with bursts of "veiling" or partially covering over what has just been drawn. The idea is to stay loose, to not try to draw an object, nor even to think much about gestures made and marks created.

I had a couple of panels in the studio, one red and one blue, that needed to be woken up and made part of the little population of paintings-in-progress that are occupying the space. They were monochromatic, simple, barely begun, and almost dusty with neglect.

This exercise was the perfect method for getting back into these two paintings. I laid out both chalk pastels and oil sticks, choosing to stay within the color frame already established, poured some mineral spirits into a cups, and set out a soft 1" brush. Standing back a bit from my table, I scribbled some, then brushed over with mineral spirits, then scribbled some more, then brushed some more. I stopped sooner on the red painting (above) than on the blue painting, because I like the dynamics, and I know that later layers will interact with what is there. But in both cases, the drawing exercise provided the mechanism for a loose, new approach that resurrected a couple of moribund paintings.  Plus, it was fun!

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