Week 10

Week 10 :

Wednesday, October 31

No Demo. I was very late today - I appologize. I did an informal demo of how to collage without getting buckling in your paper. I also demoed how to prepare a stencil.


  • In critique today I reiterated what I had intended with the series of paintings that we have been working on for the past two weeks. All of them were to be based on a single phrase or line of poetry.
  • Starting with this very narrow focus we first did a painting simply representing the quotation. For this weeks painting I asked you to collect scraps that related to your quote. Today you could have either used those scraps as reference for: color, images, ideas, shapes etc. OR you could have used those scraps as actual collage elements in your painting. Of course you could also do a little of both.
  • Next week I would like to continue this series by using the same quotation but rather than focusing on representing the quotation I would like you to focus on creating a context for your quotation. I am going to attempt to explain what I mean with examples below.

In our critique today I introduced that idea for next weeks painting by making an analogy to positive and negative space.

It is easy to get into the habit of not really considering how negative space is (or is not) working in a composition. For example if I am painting a portrait it is easy to focus only on painting the portrait and not think at all about everything in the composition that surrounds the portrait. This is a big mistake because every inch of the painting is equally important to the success of the over-all composition.

Similarly, we can think of our quotation as the positive space, the thing we are representing, the portrait. When we are focused on representing this idea or bit of narrative it is easy to look over the negative space, or context, that surrounds it.

Next week I want you to focus on painting a context for your quotation.

What do I mean by context?

A quotation I like: 

Human kind cannot bear very much reality.  ~ T.S. Eliot

I can dramatically alter what is communicated by these words by placing them in different visual contexts as I did below.

In these examples I have changed the context very literally by changing the image behind the actual words of the quote. I am not expecting you to be so literal - and not expecting you to include the words in your painting next week.

What else might be considered context?

If your quotation describes a boat in a windstorm - that is a very specific and literal narrative. What might be considered context that you could manipulate to affect the scene that quotation describes?  

Some ideas:

1. The material quality of the medium your are using (paint, collage, pencil, photograph etc.).

2. The surface you are working on.

3. The size/scale of the surface your are working on.

4. Your color palette.

5. The audience you put your art work in front of.

All of these things could be used to alter the context your create for the idea or narrative you are trying to communicate.