Week 5

Image from HERE

We started our second project today. I asked you to come prepared with ideas about a subject matter that was more difficult to address. Perhaps something like sadness or loss - generally something that isn't comfortable for you.  

The reason I suggested this is because I think it is important to remind  you that those uncomfortable aspects of our life experience can be very generative. Some of the most compelling artwork is born from difficult or uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes at Emeritus I think we get into the a very narrow mindset of what art can be about. Using art as a means to work through heavier subject matter can be enlightening for both artist and audience.

The artist that I mentioned in this context was Lee Bontecou. I didn't attempt to tell you what she has said or others have said about her work. I merely shared what I feel about her work which, very generally, is that they have a lot of emotional and psychological gravity. They address and evoke difficult or uncomfortable emotions.

To start our second project I demonstrated "frottage". This word has other non-art related usages that I won't mention here (just in case you google it - be aware). In art it is a technique where you rub graphite or some mark-making material on paper as it sits on a textured surface thereby capturing a similar texture on your paper.

In my demo I used a palette knife to apply a thick layer of Utrecht Gesso to a piece of paper.  I then used the palette knife to dig lines and patterns into the wet gesso. When the gesso dried I put a piece of tracing paper down on it and used a graphite stick to pull rubbing of the texture. You can also pull textures from found surfaces and objects like leaves and rocks etc. I emphasized that you can intentionally create specific textures and even text or images to make rubbings from. 

Next week we will continue this project by using the textures we captured with frottage in a collage. So bring the textured surfaces  you created today with gesso and the pieces of paper you used to make rubbings from those textures.