Sunday, 6 October 2013

Honest steel versus servile paintbrushes. A cautionary tale. Acrylics on canvas, 30 cm x 40 cm (Destroyed)

I was told many times in the past to avoid comfort in creating pictures, to vary the media and the tools I was using. This would help me avoid habit, reflex-laden responses to the surface in front of me, be it paint on canvas, charcoal on newsprint or even the good old pencil on paper. At the moment I use the scraper a lot, or a palette knife to move the paint around with. Paintbrushes invariably seems to lead to the same handling of the paint, and it's too easy to drown in effect-making. A steel implement has a lot more resistance to it, it resists my attempts to control it, and thus often makes the end result become more of a compromise between me and the tools I use. Here I have used paintbrushes, and the result is troubling. I shall have to work into this anew, but as a starting point it will have to do. A selection of both artists paints and household paints have, however, added some interest to the texture, and undone some of the linear damage the weak-willed paintbrush has wrought.


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  2. With metal tools try working flat or large scale canvas. I know what you mean about learning to "master" a new tool. Me I want to run then walk, but then I slow down and then start to run the other way. It will tell you what it is good at when you understand what it is not good at. Give information to your brain and then feed it back to your arm and eye. Experimentation and not replication is the key. Then you use it in the "olsson" way.

  3. I have some larger canvases coming up and I'm very excited about attacking them, especially with metal tools . I find myself likening the process of pushing paint around the surface with a scraper to that of a plasterer skimming a wall or indeed a ceiling. This association always links the work to a workman-skill rather than all the lyric sensibilities connected with the brush. Judging on my "skimmed paintings" I'd be a pretty mediocre plasterer, but it's an addictive pursuit! The struggle and its results are a lot more exciting to observe than what happens with the brush. I think the "Olsson" way is evident in all the work I undertake, the happy accidents as well as the lukewarm debacles that appear. :)