Painting Challenge #1
In Week One of an online “7 week painting challenge” with San Francisco artist Tesia Blackburn, we were tasked with expressing movement without the use of “repetitious cliche” per the works of the fascinating American contemporary artist Brice Marden. For research and inspiration we were asked to watch a compelling 1 hr 20 minute video of the artist speaking as part of a program in London, a joint endeavour of the the art gallery Tate Modern and the American Embassy as part of the Art in Embassies program (AIE).
We were encouraged to use unconventional tools and methods of painting, to break out of our usual techniques and habits, and to embrace the unfamiliar. Brice Marden paints with a stick, as shown in this image. He likes to be removed from the canvas to be able to better see the whole image and take advantage of the accidents and unpredictability of his chosen tool.
In my painting (Movement #1), I rubbed paint into the canvas with my hands and scrubbed pigment into the piece with bunched up paper towels. I applied paint with a popsicle stick; I scribed into layers of paint with a large nail, and removed areas of paint with Q-tips. I scraped paint across the canvas with pieces of cardboard, and used my fingers to flick paint at the canvas, and yes – I even used a paintbrush at times as I built up layer after layer of translucent and opaque acrylic paint, documenting each step as I attempted to forgo repetition and avoid putting down cliche marks on the canvas.
I don’t know if I successfully “solved” the challenge in this piece, but I definitely “met” the challenge and truly got into my creative zone this past week. (I actually worked on 3 separate canvases, simplifying the notion of movement each time – each one is completely different from its predecessor),
This painting was one of two that I submitted to Tesia for critique. We will meet up again on Thursday night in our virtual classroom to look at everyone’s work and discuss the results of last week’s assignment. Then we’ll receive the new week’s challenge. Each week we’ll study a different artist and create our own works as we solve a specific challenge. Check back each week to see my results.
I’ll post “Movement #2”, the second piece I submitted for this week’s challenge a little later… I’m not completely satisfied that I’ve taken it as far as I can go, so I may work on it some more. In fact, in “Movement #1” I think there’s too much going on and may work on it more to simplify the movement…
© deb davies thorkelson | Image: Acrylic on Canvas 16″ x 20″ – “Movement #1”
You can see Painting Challenge Week 2 here
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