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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sticking with it: Painting with Sticks?

“Faites des lignes. Faites beaucoup de lignes.” 
("Draw lines - draw a lot of lines")
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - 1780 – 14 January 1867) 

This was advice given to an art student named Degas very early in his painting career.  I think it is still worthy today for anyone who wants to make art.

my collection of "tools"

When I made the decision to pursue art I asked Sandy Johnson, Melbourne, FL,  for private lessons.  One day she sent me to her garden to find a couple of sticks.  That day she insisted I set aside the brushes in favor of painting only with sticks.  I wasn't quite sure at the time what I was supposed to learn, but I diligently complied and although frustrating, I painted that day using a stick.

So in my voyage to rekindle a spark, I remembered this class and set about collecting a variety of sticks to work with.  Yes, I put it off for a bit as I remembered how maddening it was to get the shapes I saw in my minds eye but I finally pulled out paper and paints and got busy.

scratch, scratch, scratch

found some buds that were softer

ok, not too shabby
I like the roughness

While I was in the mood (or mode) I kept on, changing out paper and reference photo.

not my favorite stick!  right about now I am having visions of
the cavewomen, using sticks to carve art into the walls of
their homes and realizing that altering the stick with
fire or pounding the tips with stones would produce
a slightly different mark for their work

I cannot be critical of the's from a stick for gosh sakes....

one more

I began making notes on the paper around me to capture my thoughts as I happily disposed of the sticks and here is what I jotted down:

  • use all parts of the stick, turn it, find the edges, try it flat
  • be content to suggest, details are almost impossible, stay loose
  • color mixing is not precise, can't be done very thoroughly but leaves an interesting combo of the colors used
  • select only the most essential parts of the subject to render, reduce it to the shape
  • this is messy, paint is everywhere and either wear gloves or be content with the mess

I think those are good notes for painting with a fact, they are critical things to remember.  Well, maybe not the messy part but all else should apply if, IF, the painting is to remain interesting and artistic.  Maybe that is what Sandy was trying to show me?

No more sticks but I certainly hope the notes I made stick with me.  (uuuugh!)


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