Why don’t they call it Art Blitz?
‘Artz Blitz’ when spoken aloud sounds like ‘Art Splits’.
When I mention this excellent annual Kingston City Council event in conversation I find myself pronouncing it with a kind of glottal stop to prevent people thinking I am talking about an Art Sundae served with a lot of cream.
Or some kind of gymnastic sequence involving a hand-painted leotard. (Cute… if only I could do the splits.)
But never mind. The theme was announced at 5pm Friday afternoon and it was ‘Connect’. I wasn’t keen at first. It evoked only mechanical thoughts for me. But a little warm-up-phone-text-brainstorming session with Juliet (thanks Juliet) soon got the connection juices flowing.
After a long day of drawing other stuff I felt like mulling over ideas for a while and going to bed rather than burning the midnight oil, so I didn’t do any blitzing yet. When I went to bed, my brainstorm page looked like this.
I was leaning towards the bottom right corner. (obscure pedantic note: ‘toward’ means something quite different from ‘towards’)
I was pretty certain I was going to do a skeleton of some kind, probably a collage or a twisted wire arrangement or an assemblage of found bones (yeah, right! but I did set the alarm for 6am to go trawling the local wetlands where we often do find animal bones…). The medium may have been undecided, but bones was the go.
6 am: the alarm went off.
I turned it off.
7.30 am: I woke and realised the boys were supposed to be leaving for sailing school in half an hour. Woke up Scott and turned over to doze through the chaos. (evil snicker)
8.10 am: phone rang and it was fellow Art(z) Blitzer Kerrie (hereafter referred to as Kezza or Kezzita) I heard Scott telling her I was sound asleep and probably not doing Art(z) Blitz this year… At this point I had to make my awakeness known, and also debunk Scotty’s theory. Perhaps awakitude is better? You might well ask how I can be so pedantic and then make up words…
Okay, so I could go on, but this is getting boring, right? So eventually after a nice chat with Kezza I got up and after the boys vacated, I re-distributed the dogs and chickens in a complicated way. My mum’s visiting dog, Mannie, the Fox Terrier (alias The Anteater) would kill our chickens if not well separated from them – by mind power alone if his teeth couldn’t get near them. Thereafter I could walk in and out of our house, studio and shed with my tape measure to collect appropriately sized (hoarded) frames, canvases and lumps of wood, without causing a feathery carnage. (horrors! I love my chickens.)
Right! That done, I spent the morning painting over failed artwork with white paint or gesso (which didn’t work – good learning experience), getting first, second and third choice media ready for action, and sourcing reference material. I had at this stage decided on umbilical cords instead of skeletons.
I imagined I’d be doing an oil stick sketch on a white canvas background. I was keen as mustard to get my hands on that black oil stick and draw (not paint) a baby in a womb with an umbilical cord in oil paint. What fun! Yeah! But I needed my gesso (remember it failed) and my white acrylic paint white-out to dry first, so I thought, ‘Skip to Medium 2 and do a few monotypes while I’m waiting for my canvases to dry’.
The first attempt looked like this. And after a long afternoon of drawing, I still think it might have been the best of them. You can tell me if you think so. But I liked it, so I kept on doing monotypes all afternoon.
Juliet helped me choose which one to enter in Art(z) Blitz and it was this one. (The very last one of the day)
But there were quite a few others. As I got used to drawing babies in the womb, they got too realistic, and then they got too cute, and always with this kind of monotype it is a very tricky thing to manage the amount of ink and how light or dark they come out so many were either too light or too dark and blotchy. And sometimes, the pencil drawing on the back of the page was better than the monotype on the front of the page, until I had to do the smudging to add tone, and then the pencil drawing got smudged.
Once, I accidentally used two pieces of paper at the same time and after I had separated them, there was no way of continuing my monotype or adding tone, because I would have been working blind. (For a tutorial on how to do this monotype technique, go here. It’s great to do with kids.)
At one point I thought of switching to the topic of breastfeeding. Also a good example of connecting. But I decided that even though Picasso got away with it, my own attempts might be at risk of looking sentimental. Can’t do sentimental. It worries me. I can be sentimental but don’t like to draw sentimentally. Sometimes I do it by accident.
Here are the monotypes from today in all their mixed-upness. Some could probably be improved with a bit of extra work, but I was working on Ingres paper and it’s pretty thin and won’t take much wetting. I liked the effect of the paper texture.
So there we are. Several hours of printing and a lot of fun really. But I just kept going, thinking I’ll do just one more. This next one will nail it. Right contrast, tone, line… Just one more!
That must be how gamblers feel on the dreaded pokies. Thankfully Art(z) Blitz has a time limit or I might be a slavering mess by now.