Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I am excited about the challenge for the month and have already started my small trial painting. I hope you all get excited about it as well and give it a try.

The challenge has 3 parts. You may choose to include all 3 elements, 2 of the 3 or only one of the elements. Remember that this is something to get you started. There are no right or wrong solutions or ideas.

SELECT ANY SUBJECT YOU WANT. I like to work with figures and faces but the challenges can apply to any subject.

COMPONENT #1 INCORPORATE A GRID IN THE DESIGN OF YOUR PAINTING. Keep in mind a grid doesn't need to be even divisions or straight lines. I am using a grid based on a landscape painting by WOLF KAHN. I decided to turn it upside down for my painting. If you are not familiar with this modern master, check him out. He works mostly in pastel and the landscape is his subject matter. His use of color is beyond magical. His work has a strong abstract quality to it. Another interesting source for a grid is quilt patterns. I was at the library today and checked out the book "The Quilts of Gee's Bend". There are some very interesting divisions in these quilts and I think I will record them in my sketch book for future use. These quilts were a major exhibit recently at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. One of my portrait students did some great paintings of these wonderful women who created the quilts. But I digress! Of course, you can create your own grid in any way you see fit. The Kaupelis creative drawing book has some wonderful ideas for working with a grid. I have posted the grid I created and you will see a little of how I am working with it but I don't want you to copy how I am using the grid. You can use the divisions to change color...or value..or texture...or image...or shapes...orsize. You can have a drawn line, an implied line, an ivisible line ...the ideas are endless. You can do an entire series where the changes you make each painting is by changing what you do with the grid.

COMPONENT #2 USE A COLOR SCHEME BASED ON A FAVORITE PAINTING. Pick a color scheme that is atypical for your subject matter. Again, I chose a WOLF KAHN painting - the same one I took the grid from. I decide which watercolor pigments will recreate his colors and then stick to those. I do make mixtures from them that don't appear in the Kahn paintings but limiting the pigments sets up a harmony in the painting. I can create a more unusual portrait or figure by using colors from a landscape painting. His colors aren't typical landscapes anyway. This time I am using Ultramarine Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Transparent Orange, Quin Gold and Permanent Green Light.

COMPONENT #3 COAT THE PAPER WITH A DILUTED MIXTURE OF OX GALL. (read the side of the bottle for ratio of ox gall to water) I decided to use the mixture on alternating segments to see if I would notice a difference. I brushed it on and then waited for it to dry before proceeding.

I drew my grid on the watercolor paper with a red Elegant Writer pen. Then I painted the alternating grid pieces with the ox gall mixture and let it dry. Then I drew my figures with the red Elegant Writer pen. These figures are taken from the photos of the John Wayne sculpture I described in the last post. I then started to paint. I am experimenting with several ideas to see how it looks. I will then do a full sheet painting. Doing the little painting is so freeing. When you don't care what happens, you are willing to try unusual ideas. "I wonder what would happen if......?" puts the mystery and excitement back into painting.

I look forward to seeing what all of you come up with. Keep the drawings and paintings coming.


Anonymous said...

Wow that is both scary and demanding I can't wait to get started, I am such an impulse painter this will be a real challenge.
I am so loving this blog, thankyou so much Myrna


Myrna Wacknov said...

Of course it's scary! It was posted Halloween night!

Mike said...

November only???? This is an extraordinary challenge! I can see that this idea could carry an artist for a long time . . . .delivering results that would make anyone's eyes pop!

This is so good that I think I will jump on the wagon in a day or two, Myrna, and have a go at it. I am really interested in the effects lent by the ox gall. . . .I haven't the slightest idea what will happen, but am now dying to find out. Thanks for doing this! We'll all learn a ton from it!

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