For this final exercise in the course, we are asked to look closely at a man-made object and derive an abstract from this observation. Suggestions like kitchen equipment and engine parts are given.
I admit to being a bit flummoxed by this exercise, which for me felt so weird. I have so been looking forward to these last two abstract exercises but I felt completely stumped trying to come up with a subject to turn into an abstract. Considering all my personal off-course work is considered abstract (it’s hardly ever realism or representational) I battled to come up with a solution for quite some time and was getting right depressed. I considered many different things – even Christmas baubles – but nothing kinda spoke to me. I wanted to steer away from the rather naive abstract created in my previous exercise and do something that incorporated some of the techniques that we’ve learnt so far.
I was clearing out my kitchen cupboards under the sink and there it was:
… a lowly well-worn steel wool ball. I could immediately see the potential for abstraction and started off. I used a piece of textured canvas paper that I had left over and covered it with thick applications of gouache in black, greys (mixed with white) and greys mixed with taupe.
I squiggled into the wet paint with the end of the paint brush. After it had dried, I took out some white inks, as I don’t have a high-flow acrylic paint to squirt in curly lines, and I figured the fine needle tip of the ink bottle would work best. Well, it kinda did and it kinda didn’t.
the ink didn’t come out in lines so much as splatters, so I again manipulated the surface of the dots of white paint with the end of a paint brush and then added more ink, black this time.
I was starting to enjoy where this was going. I found some white cotton, got out the glue and applied swirls of cotton onto the surface to mimic the curls of the steel wool. This is the final result:
I actually love this thing. it’s got some references to Jackson Pollock (splattering and dripping of paint), as well as collage elements (the cotton thread). It has movement and tone.