Saturday, January 23, 2010

Graphite Soup

This is the first piece from my new class, 'Abstract Represen- tation'. taught at the Yellow Barn at Glen Echo by J. Jordan Bruns.

It's big! 22" x 30", on a sumptuous piece of bright white Rives BFK. (I forgot how damn great this paper is.)

The assignment was to just let the thing dictate where it wanted to go. To just play with marks. Gee, that was EASY! Too easy?

We began by shaving dust from a woodless pencil -- I used a soft 9B -- with a razor and then rubbing that dust into the paper with a towel. Thus getting a ghostly-mottled, but somewhat uniform, mid-tone ground. Then we marked into that ground with erasers, kneaded and harder, to get back to the white of the paper. And then added areas of real dark rubbed-in graphite dust and pencil marks.

We were to be sure we did NOT (1) wander into any kind of representation and, (2) get too enamored of any passage or area and let it dictate to the rest of the piece. That second pitfall is called, among artists, letting something get "too precious". (UPDATE: I have unrolled this piece, taped it to cardboard and propped it on a chair where I can see it all the time. I am afraid I am becoming overly-attached to it. It is becoming "precious" right before my eyes. Damn!)

The assignment for next week is:
 -- Keep a journal of "ideas" that I'd like to express.
 -- Think about a way to turn one of those "ideas" into a "series" that is worth "exploring". (Try to get over the art jargon as well, if at all possible. Sheesh.)
 -- What idea or form or shape or notion is "haunting" me? What do I keep coming back to? (Pah-leeeze tell me it's not pears for heaven's sake.)
 -- Think about other artists and what I admire, i.e.
✱ Matisse: color (see especially 'Woman with a Hat')
Richter: layering
Shane Pickett: line
Creevy: on principle

1 comment:

Donna T said...

Oh this looks like a great class, Jan! I like what you've done so far (even though I can kind of see "things" in your shapes :-) If you do go for a pear theme I'll be cheering you on - you do the BEST pears! Thanks for sharing the notes from your class. I will try to apply that idea of not letting any area get too precious on the painting I'm working on.