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Part 5: Project: Adding other materials page 129

October 15, 2013

Exercise: Preparing a textured ground page 130

Texturing canvass board with gesso and jointing compound

Texturing canvass board with gesso and jointing compound

raised bed for printing/ embossing

raised bed for printing/ embossing

raised bed stained, patinations sanded scratched and painted

raised bed stained, patinations sanded scratched and painted

alternative- gouging and refilling with coloured acrylic mediums.

alternative- gouging and refilling with coloured acrylic mediums.

Stained textured surface stained and painted to look like a Mevlana

Stained textured surface stained and painted to look like

Mixing materials into paint

Painting on a textured surface: Mixed media canvass

Exercise: Mixing materials into paint page 131

I have been wrestling with the notion that; “we are symbols and we inhabit symbols” Ralph Waldo Emerson from “The Poet”. Recorded thought is symbolic in form as we have ascribed meaning to sound to create speech, and graphemes to represent the words we speak to articulate thought and conventions to regulate both. We invented a periodic table to record the elements that are the building blocks of the universe in a curriculum subject that is entirely theoretical. The word theory, ” an idea waiting acceptation of rejection” is an abstract concept and the word and its definition are symbolic in nature.

I decided to create a piece that shows my interwoven relationship wife my wife defining ourselves using astrological symbols by mixing symbolic materials into a white paint gesso concoction.

Shredded text to represent mincing words

Shredded text to represent mincing words

Because of my birth date I am a Piscean and Pisces is a compound sign. Two fishes swimming in opposite directions. Accordingly, I am supposed to be in two minds about most things. I can apparently see both sides of the argument. Great for diplomacy lousy for decision making. Arty or scientific I am simultaneously a visiting science and technology specialist and visiting art specialist in Primary school just North of Inverness.

emblem for pisces

emblem for pisces

The sign for this is also a simplified compound sign. The shape may be entirely arbitrary but has become universally accepted as with most symbolism. I used shredded words to symbolically represent mincing words appropriate for indecision. When mixed with gesso and acrylic paint it formed a gloopy paste that was easy to mould into shape. It reminds me of a dancing figure and has given me ideas for development later.

symbol for aquarius superimposed using nuts

symbol for aquarius superimposed using nuts

My wife is an  aquarian because of her birth date. The emblem for aquarius was superimposed on top of the pisces symbol. This symbolically represents our marriage union as we are inexorably linked together through love and because of our children. Aquarian’s are often eccentric and so her symbol was created using nuts embedded in heavy, carvable modelling paste. Eccentric people are often considered nuts and with her wacky sense of humour, acknowledges the pun. The nut shells were blitzed in a blender, or crushed with a pestal and mortar or used whole to give a variety of textures. When the nut shell faced upward it offered opportunities to fill with other gels. Latterly, I pasted black lava gel judiciously in these “pores”.

Heart symbol lentils and bran

Heart symbol lentils and bran new symbol from old

Pisces are spiritual creatures that search for meaning. My wife discovered the heart shape created by our union. It suited me to use red lentils for texturing as they are classified as pulses. A beating heart is responsible for our pulse so the visual pun was hard to resist. Bran, the sand in the mix, is great for a healthy heart and so the personal symbolism and significance continues. I think when textural complexity is the order of the day, that colour should be kept simple. At this point I was planning ahead and yet searching for the opportunities that the piece would afford.

Heart pulses with rice and broth mix

Heart pulses with rice and broth mix

My OCA studies have taught me to try to be responsive to the piece and let the work talk to me as it is developing.

It was harder to apply these thicker pulses such as split peas etc. in broth mix. I used a stippling motion and tapped these into place just exploring the positive and negative spaces our symbols had created on the substrate. Often I cleaned the brush by wiping on the surface just enjoying the feeling of using the media and the experience of being creative.

Food of love pasta

Food of love pasta with glass bead gel and black lava medium

Italian pasta is considered romantic food for dining out. We are both foodies and so I incorporated pasta pieces.  Along with these I included non food items such as glass bead and black lava gels. My wife pointed out that her emblem is more evident now and to me that is fitting  to me. I feel that my wife is the most prominent part of my life and I am happy to be eclipsed by her prominence. That said, the whole lot may be gesso-ed over and a gloss medium used to draw attention to what is meaningful. This will, it is believed, bring visual prominence to the peaks and troughs if I prefer a monochrome finish.

second gesso layer

second gesso layer

The gesso has a levelling effect where all the “drawing” has been lost except for the waves signifying the water carrier. Stains and pattinations are needed to draw attention to the relief aspects of the work. Most of my work is over thought and I realise I like complexity. Perhaps I should merely stain the piece with a glaze and let the media do the work. I know I have not learned economy but I can try to address this.

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