Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Learn a Thing or Two in a Pigment Stick Marathon

The three-day workshop with Lisa Pressman at R&F Paints in Kingston, NY involved a 3 a.m. wake-up, packing about half of my studio into my van, and a four-hour drive. But from then on, nothing but positive. Lisa Pressman, a facebook friend that I hadn't yet met in person, is a phenom in the classroom. Knowledgeable, concise, able to tailor her comments to the individual, and funny! We got The World according to Lisa Pressman Capsule as a bonus.


I've used R&F pigment sticks in my work, mostly as a glaze or incised wax. I generally put them down or a layer of wax medium and wipe it off again. I wanted to learn everything I could about using them on their own.

We worked on small bits of paper to start learning about how the colors went down, how to wipe them off, layer them, or impress textures into them. We did a huge blind swap, and worked on our neighbors' pieces. I used unaccustomed colors and marks, abandoning all expectations and just played.  Then we all looked at the results--immense changes-- and returned the pieces to their owners. The next task was to make it our own again. This was an invaluable reminder that we each have a personal and unique iconography, independent of style or genre.
My first larger piece was on 300lb. watercolor paper. Here's a shot of the final version. It was a bit of a revelation to me, even after all the years, I've been painting, that obliterating your carefully assembled images could be rewarding, giving the picture depth and resonance with a sensation of accumulated memories.

As a lark, we did an "Exquisite Corpse", which is a collaborative piece in which a cover is placed over all but a small portion of the piece that the next artist will respond to and continue. No one sees the whole work until it is complete. I could only see about four inches of the work-in-progress when I added my section. We worked horizontally, but I'm going to post it here as a vertical so you can see the whole piece.


Learned a lot, had some great meals with new friends, made some interesting new pieces (which I didn't photograph), and will do it again soon!

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