Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Part two : Ruth Armitage's WORKING TOWARDS ABSTRACTION Workshop - paintings during and after workshop



Workshop Exercise on Texture


First day:  12 inch square watercolor with textures and gesso that morphed
into a linear dominance when I tried a pipe cleaner for texture making thin parallel lines. Delighted with the effect of the pipe cleaner, I was easily distracted changing my focus from non-objective to what I frequently paint -
the movement of water.

Workshop Exercise on Color

Second Day: Color expressing one title selected from a list representing a series about one subject. 
Dance theme!!  I identify with dance because I am a frustrated dancer who can't keep time and think of my painting process as a dance. When I was a child I selected a Degas dancer to hang in my room. From time to time I have painted dancers beginning in high school.

From the list of  dance titles, I painted a series of small color sketches.

 
 
 
My painting for the day focused on square dancing in a barn.
I  kept to my focus while thoroughly enjoying
 the process of watching the watercolor flow. 
 
 
 
Workshop Exercise on Line that I carried farther at home
 
Day 3: Line expressing my feelings about a title from my list on dance
 
 
Experimental practice with found objects useful for making lines

 
Line painting


 
My painting of the day started by selecting "Syncopated" thumbnail.  However never liking the results of making something slavishly copied larger, I wanted additional interesting choices so I mostly ignored the thumbnail. Subconsciously I must have been influenced by Ruth's larger than life dancers and the use of line in back lighting. Also I felt  influenced by the expressive edges of  Face Book friend, Portuguese Varatojo's simplified figures on black backgrounds. And of course the animated gestures of Walt Disney drawings.

 Diving with gusto into painting my linear piece for the day, I got into trouble with focus on my title.  Syncopated morphed into tango and then jive and back to tango.

 Making radical changes in my focus causes me to move from making choices with happy smoothness. Loss of focus can cause frustration like having to judge whether I should make the woman's left foot disappear or suggest the woman's fast tango flick between the legs of her partner. I chose to go back to making the painting theme of Tango. The woman looks like she wants to lead as she twists his arm. I decided to keep this confrontational dialogue between them.

 I like the process when paintings challenge me to develop narrative even if that change means pictorial problems. Well at least some of the time I like the challenge. Some challenges overwhelm me.

Taking from Ruth's workshop, I was kinder to myself  walking away from this painting several times, I developed it working on it a week after the workshop.

Paintings and Works at Home after the Workshop

At home I was eager to try again to work from the "Syncopated' compositional thumbnail. I wanted to keep the lines straighter than in the thumbnail.  I discovered even with straight lines I can space them to imply a curve. I discovered that I am very heavily set in my painting ways. I should try only a few Ruth's directives which are aimed at more focused personal involvement.


Second new painting at home, "Curved Form Dance" started as a ball and a box developed with out dominance of either color or texture. To express my feelings when almost done I couldn't resist adding line as that is my long standing comfort zone habit.  I recall adding line as a resolution to a painting was encouraged by PSU Professor Fredrich Heidel's class in 1965 and Mr. Clark my art teacher at Portola Junior High School in Berekely, California in 1957.


 
At home I was eager to try making curved form suggested on the hand-out but not actually covered as an exercise in class. I started with a ball divided into facets of reds in three tints and a solid dark purple box above it with no value or hue changes.  Texture and color was suppose to be dominant. But in the end phase I wanted more whimsy and just had to add white lines. With the completion of this painting, I decided I would definitely continue in the direction of making color and line my expressive signature. 
 
The third new work at home is "Broken Line Assemblage" of glass littered on our neighborhood road
 along with pebbles and shells from the beach that I pick up when I go for walks.
 
 
"Broken Glass on Textured Color Lines" inspired by jazz dance
 

I plan to go on longer walks to find more glass. Last Friday the Sanitary collection of glass was cleaner and little glass was scattered on the road. Tuesday the street vacuum sweeper did a good job at picking up glass too small for me to pick-up.

I plan to continue to journal  here as well as privately.

I plan to make small changes in my process with the goal of keeping a focus on expression of meaningful symbols to me including old standbys of dance and water. I hope to continue to have a greater awareness of when I am being to harsh with myself. When I feel frantic to prove to myself that I can conquer a painting, I will change the pace and sit to make more controlled strokes. If keeping to my focus is not working and my own Judge is bullying me, I will walk away for awhile.

Tomorrow when I am plein air painting, I will for the first time start with a list of titles, selecting one but allow myself to change in response to the journey. Maybe moderated intuitive painting will work for a smoother painting process of a stream impacted by dry weather. Maybe not!

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