Tag Archives: Surrealists

Scrapings and Surrealists

18 Aug

scrapings

I’m very frugal. I was raised by the “waste not, want not” generation and I try to use up everything. I’ve been doing some painting practice through the lockdown and I’ve taken to scraping the paint off my palette and onto nice paper. It’s very good paint, Liquitex Easy Body acrylic, onto Bockingford paper. The early 20th century Surrealists  used to do random stuff to get inspiration. I don’t know if I’ll be inspired to take this one further, but at least it can be ripped up for collage.

 

 

Random Faffing

5 Aug

pastel 2

I’m trying to loosen up and be more spontaneous when I’m making art, I tend to faff around and fuss and get lost in detail and it’s hard for me to just let go. I’m taking a leaf out of the Surrealist artists book and doing some random creative exercises. I coloured a load of paper with pastels a while back, with a few other people, making random marks all over the sheets. I ripped them up and today I just threw them down and photographed them. Digital cameras – brilliant! The background is a sheet of paper I’d brushed with my home-made walnut ink. I don’t know what will come out of this. I’ll carry on and see where it gets me ….. or not.

 

Creative Exercises

15 Jul

collage 2 small

I’m working away on a pretty big work of art inspired by my experience of the pandemic lockdown, but that’s now a process – the original inspiration has come and gone, the ideas have been worked out and now it’s just cutting and printing blocks and sewing stuff together. It’s not particularly creative now. It’s just work. So I still need to keep creativity going.

collage 1 small

I’ve been meaning to experiment with collage for a while. I’ve got a load of hand coloured vintage papers in my plans chest so I got some of them out and laid them at random, first onto a sheet of white paper and then onto one I’d coloured with my home made walnut ink. Randomness was embraced by the Surrealists to ignite imagination and keep creativity alive, and collage and frottage were two of the techniques they used. I don’t know if anything will come from these, but it doesn’t matter. It’s good to get creative without a plan to produce a final work. I didn’t stick the pieces down so I’ll keep rearranging them until something grabs me.

Surrealist Drawing

18 Oct

RM6

A few weeks ago I did some live drawing at a spoken word event at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, with Rufus Mufasa, David Pitt and Eleanor Shaw amongst others. I normally work directly from life, but this time I let my hands be influenced by the rhythm and meaning of the words and music and just drew. This is similar to surrealist drawing and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I did this – almost – automatic drawing while listening to one of the contributor’s story about her nervous breakdown. Her words were graphically visual.

Cleaning Up

24 Apr

cleaning up

Cleaning Up. I’ve been doing some experimental printmaking onto some donated vintage paper the past few days, inspired by the random creative exercises of The Surrealists in the early 20th century. When I was cleaning up after the first day, where I used yellow ink (Caligo Safewash), I rolled my roller onto a large piece of paper to get the excess ink off. The next day, when I used red ink, I ripped a few strips of newspaper and put them onto the paper before I rolled the excess ink onto it. And finally, I did the same when I was cleaning the blue roller.

ripping up

I really like it. I get my roller clean enough to wash AND I have some nice paper to work on. I think I’ll draw onto it with something dark, maybe black conté crayon or black oil bar, or maybe I’ll scan it into my Samsung Galaxy Tablet first and experiment before committing myself to paper.

Waste Not, Want Not.

23 Apr

lino 2

After printing up all nine of my little brutalised randomised vinyl blocks yesterday in the final, blue, colour, I used up the ink that was left on a large sheet of Mylar, or Mark Resist, film. I’d already printed up the yellow and red leftover inks.

mylar

Waste Not, Want Not eh? I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it, maybe collage?

Surrealists, Semiotics and Fifties Frock Fabric

22 Apr

lino 1

I finally finished the random lino project I began a couple of weeks ago. I printed the final colour, Process Blue, today, using Caligo Safewash mixed with Extender in a 30:70 ratio. These were overprinted on two previous layers, Process Yellow and Process Magenta and I like the range of colours formed by the translucency of the inks. The purpose was to break through a creative block I’ve been wallowing in for the past couple of months and to take a chance with some randomness, following the example of the 20th century Surrealists, who often generated their ideas and concepts from creative exercises.

Has it worked? Well, I was hoping for something dark and insightful and what I have ended up with looks like 1950s frock fabric, but the process has certainly loosened up my approach to block (lino, wood) cut printing and germinated some ideas about developing my own semiotic imagery. Ooooh get me! This has taken me a long way to solving a particular problem I was having with one of my art projects, which was completely unexpected. RESULT!!!! 😀

The Tyranny Of The Border

7 Apr

borderless

Carrying on with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I took hold of the squares of vinyl I have been carving at random and started hacking away at the edges. I suppose like so many people I’ve been conditioned to think of two-dimensional art as something sitting neatly within a clearly defined square or rectangular border. I think this is particularly pronounced in printmaking, where metal plates and wood, lino, vinyl blocks come ready cut with nice straight edges. The tyranny of the border. So I took a hefty pair of scissors to them. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, it seemed unnatural to destroy those neat borders and also to do it at random, letting the cuts be guided by the way the scissors pulled against the vinyl, rather than directing the cuts according to some predetermined design, in the spirit of the 20th century Surrealist artists who deliberately tried to generate imagery through accident.

Scribbles On Scribbles

20 Aug

Step 7

Building on top of what I did yesterday, I scribbled randomly with a white Daler Rowney soft pastel, instinctively concentrating the marks towards the centre. Then I added small amounts of colour – yellow, rose and blue. I don’t know how I’ll use this yet, I might rip it up for collage or I might draw or paint on top.

I like the close up digital images I’ve taken. Of course, I could work on this digitally. It’s something I don’t often do but there’s no reason not to. I’m out of my comfort zone here but taking a lead from the Surrealists who used to do creative exercises like this to help them to work from their imagination instead of relying on working from life. It’s an interesting process.

 

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Faces From The Dark

26 Jul

faces

I have some lovely vintage papers and I’m trying out different ways of using them. I used a silkscreen squeegee to randomly coat a few sheets with acrylic paint, firstly in black and when that was dry, overlaid with a translucent bronze. Then I sat and looked at a sheet with a piece of willow charcoal in my hand. I had no idea what to do, I sketched a few lines, rubbed them out with a wetwipe (the acrylic surface wipes clean) and then lightly sketched some ellipses. I picked up a piece of chalk and then the faces began to emerge out of the dark without my bidding.

I don’t normally work from my imagination, usually directly from life, from my sketchbooks and occasionally from photographs, so it’s interesting what emerges without any references. The preparation of the paper and the method of random drawing without a stimulus is a bit like some of the techniques of automatic drawing used by Surrealists to develop their creativity. The painter, Gerhard Richter, also used a squeegee extensively in his work, to apply paint. I like using the squeegee, it’s so random.

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