One painting, three works

I sat down to paint an abstract self portrait yesterday and ended up with three artworks for the price of one.

My plan was to paint on canvas using a technique I’d seen recently. I knew I wanted the end result to have a woven effect and lots of color, but I didn’t have a strong plan of exactly what it should look like.

So I grabbed my favorite mark making tools (forks not brushes), a roll of plastic wrap, and a canvas board. I brought out my new tubes of paint, but mostly ended up using the last bits out of old tubes instead.

The new technique involves blobbing some paint onto the canvas, then covering with plastic wrap and smushing the paint around. You peel the plastic back to reveal a thick film of irregular shapes and organic blends. It is a good base for exploration.

I used a fork to stripe the paint into a roughly woven pattern, but the design was too forceful and regular. It didn’t feel like “me” so I put the plastic wrap back over it and smushed it again.

I liked the results better and went to town with a comb, dental floss, a business card. and the fork to create texture and movement on the canvas. I wish I could say that it was thoughtfully planned, but of course it wasn’t. I simply let my intuition guide me and when I did something I didn’t like, I changed it.

It turned out very well, indeed. Looks just like me! How I see my self, anyway. If you are curious about what that means, I’ll give you a interpretation next time we meet.

Self Portrait: Dilettante’s Tapestry

I promised three artworks for the price of one. What about the other two?

Well, there was so much paint stuck to the plastic after the second round of smushing and it was so pretty that I rushed across the studio to grab a sheet of black paper and spread the wrap on top. I let it sit while I did the self portrait and later on, I peeled the plastic off and drew in it with a toothpick. It’s lively with flowers, shapes, and even a few words: hope, care, act. Tod thinks it looks like reverse scratch art.

And for the third artwork, I flattened out an octagonal sheet I’d prepped for a triangle book. I wanted a colorful background for the pages, so I used the last of the paint clinging to the plastic, smearing and texturing it with the now crumpled wrap. I made a few toothpick marks and stamped it with an empty pill pack to bring up the under-layers of color and base paper. It looks a hot mess when opened out, but transforms into beauty when it’s folded. Each triangle is a glimpse into the whole. Very painterly! I am excited to finish this book now.

Art is fun when it’s random and full of chance.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.