Having liberated myself from the cage of the walker, moving on to a somewhat more elegant and easier-to-deal-with walking stick (aka wooden cane), I thought I had to at least make a stab at some art play. [Don’t ask me what the correlation here is; it simply is. You can’t make art in a wheeled cage. Or at least I couldn’t.]
As I mentioned earlier, I bought Arthur Wesley Dow’s book on Composition, which begins with exercises drawing straight lines in square boxes. I believe he’s going to allow rectangular boxes in the next set of exercises. I have no natural talent for squares with lines — nor for exercises, neither.
Nevertheless, good faith required that I act in good faith. I did five sheets of these blasted boxes, moving away from straight lines fairly quickly, as you might note. Here are 3 of them:
So I picked up another “how-to” book that played with acrylic inks on various papers and moved into a slightly less rigid mode.Aaahhhhh. What a relief. And the nice thing about acrylic ink is it can do backgrounds like watercolor but once it’s dry, foreground lines can be overlaid with no mushing and smearing into the background. I tried to deal with line in this composition, so poor Mr. Dow didn’t turn over in his grave more than six or eight times. And in fact, I composed this ‘tother way round, but liked it this way better. This is about 8 x 10, I believe, and on some kind of really tough rice paper. I bought a roll of it some time in the past for some reason I can’t now recall, and cut some hunks off it for just this occasion.
Then, pawing through my pile of paper and fabric cut to use during my convalescence, I came across some sheets of newsprint that I used to wrap silk in when I was dyeing silk a few years ago. I had loved the way the newsprint soaked up the dye, so I sprinkled the damp sheets with baking powder, hoping to alleviate the acidity that would cause the newsprint to crumble in a matter of months, and stuck the results into a corner. The paper was still intact when I was looking for odd things to use with acrylic ink, so I cut some of it up, just in case I got tired of Mr. Dow and rice paper:
There’s nothing like pre-colored paper to inspire the lackadaisically-minded artiste. From two of these papers, I concocted two imaginary landscapes, using some of the forms that the dye had imprinted on the original papers.
In the first I was still trying to honor the line, albeit with the underlying mottled paper as a guide. In the second, I abandoned the line and just added color to emphasize form. That felt quite like the old days, and while the second one requires a bit of punch, it was certainly closer to my old habits of moosh than the first one. I may add black lines, just to soothe the Dow bones and give some edge to the slosh of dye and paint. Or maybe I’ll just move on to the next set of Dow exercises, hoping to get better at linear art-making.
That’s just about all I did in the first 12 days after hip surgery. But considering that I had to keep pulling Jerry away from Wikipedia to feed me chocolates and was also pushing that blasted cage around and around the living and dining room as ordered by the Physical Therapist, I’m not too unhappy. I still haven’t mastered the brush-and-ink technique, but right now I’m blaming it on the brushes. Well, OK, a stingy parsing out of the chocolates so they last longer might have had some effect too <snort>. –June