About Me

My photo
Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Discovering Painting Tools From Nature

Sorry at this time my pictures are not publishing to this post and I hope the problem straightens out soon. During my twelve gorgeous days near Lincoln City, Oregon I luxuriated in the fine fall weather painting at least one acrylic painting a day. Most of my paintings were of the Great Blue Heron. The series was inspired by the Scottish poet Sorley Maclean's poem, "Heron". "She folded her wings close to her sides and took stock of all around her." I observed herons on the docks and along the banks of the Siletz River. Truly they land and stock. Their movements are deliberate and sometimes they hold for minutes their spring neck ready to pounce. The long neck and long hand-like claws have many expressions. The painting pictured here is of a heron unfolding exotic full feathered wings like a show girl moving in Chinese calligraphic gestures.
All the paintings were made with sticks and beach grass dipped in acrylic paint. A dorsal fin from a Chinook Salmon made fine shading. The fin was rubbed dry with a paper towel and then dipped in the acrylics. The feel of the fin on wet canvas was like the slippery, sensual feeling of oil paints. I was enchanted and the fresh fish did not smell too much. I did not even notice the smell after the paint dried. The physical feeling of applying the paint is different with each fin type. The pectoral and dorsal are fan-like making wonderful water like swirls and the adipose is rubbery like a paint shaper. I never anticipated the fun of using natural things instead of brushes. The original reason for using discardable found objects is to save the environment from dumping paint tainted water. In the past I tried to evaporate the waste water until it was useable as paint. this is not a so much fun guarding the waste water from occasional spills and smelling the paint getting moldy. But as I worked almost waterless painting using these objects I became attached to these new tools. Sticks did not completely dry over night and I could draw with them on water sprayed canvas. Paper towels were useful in removing the excess created by mixing paint on the canvas. The rags stayed wet over night in Oregon rainforest dew. So small adjustments in the painting could be made with no need to mix more to match. When I wanted to add more in the gray distance I just used the whale spout was added the next day. First I rubbed the towel with the still damp gray on the canvas and then I could more smoothly bend in the water spout.

1 comment:

Martha Marshall said...

What a great post! This issue has been on my mind very much lately. There has to be a better way of working that doesn't involve adding to the poisons in ground water. More and more I'm using disposable painting tools. Sticks and paper towels are great, and actually can be reused a few times before they are discarded!

I'm now saving all of my dried pallette paints as well. They can be peeled off and incorporated into other things.