Sometimes you just have to put down the brushes and get back to basics. And it doesn't get basic, more primal, more hands-on than reverting to finger painting! For the final paint layer on this piece for the upcoming exhibition, Control Point, I used oil sticks. As the name implies, they are oil paint in stick form. They also take me back to pre-school days, with flash-backs of those big clunky crayons! Really nice to use, the best of both worlds of drawing and painting. They're direct and to the point, but can be pushed further with brushes and rags (and fingers!).
I stuck to 2 colours (Paynes Grey and a fortuitous stick of a 'Slate Blue' I found in my collection) plus white. Mixing is all done on the surface, much like using chalk pastels. The underlying warmth is achieved mainly by diluting the paint with medium (I use Art Spectrum Lean Medium) and wiping back to reveal what's underneath. You can see the colour of the untouched 'tiles' at the bottom of the painting (or is it a drawing? Does it matter?!). True to my agenda of using materials reflecting both the fire and our vulnerable dwellings, the hues comes from charred earth and ash and even shade-cloth...
Other materials used for this and another partner piece include a lace curtain and coarse linen, all given the fire-ground treatment. Then they're cut, arranged and glued onto doors (also see the Aug 20 post). The array of textures thrown up by each of the different tiles create their own interplay with the painted marks. It's intriguing to watch the oil stick line change its look as it skips over the different surfaces. Likewise, as I draw/paint, I need to respond to each texture on its own terms. Challenging and interesting: and a battle only if I let it :)
Control Point will be on from November 10 to December 10 2016 at the Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, less than an hour south of Perth, WA. It is funded by the WA Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts.
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