I've been making some quick paintings this week, using acrylics, chalk pastel, ink and other drawing materials. My interest in doing these came in part from the 60-second drawing exercise that Lisa Pressman
introduced to my class during the week we both taught at Cullowhee Mountain Arts (some of my drawings from this exercise are below, and a description of the exercise here
I was also inspired by Steven Aimone's book
, Expressive Drawing
, which emphasizes an intuitive approach. The rhythm of working that he suggests in several of his exercises is appealing--making spontaneous marks, then stepping back to view them just long enough to feel the next move coming on--and not long enough to ponder or analyze. It is a relaxed and playful dance with the art materials. He suggests reaching a stopping point with the drawing (or painting--it's kind of hard to categorize these as one or the other) by simply going on until there is nothing more that the work seems to need, without much conscious decision-making involved. In this way the artist allows the drawing to capture the energy and forward motion of its emergence, embracing even what may seem to be imperfections or awkwardness.
The emphasis is on the process, rather than a finely calibrated finished work, with results that are often delightful, surprising and which may open the way to new ideas and ways of seeing.
I have enjoyed doing these paintings as exercises, though I'm not ready to abandon my more thought-out pieces, with their highly developed surfaces and textures. I find I am thinking of these more as sketches and explorations, and wonder if they will stimulate some new ideas in my "slower" paintings.
I'm also thinking of pursuing this quick, spontaneous approach when I return to Ireland in October for a three week residency at Cill Rialaig in County Kerry. It seems to fit well with my idea of taking a light load of art supplies. It is also in line with a realization I had after my last residency that the work I do on site tends to be only a beginning, and it's fitting that it have the aspect of sketching and experimentation. The more developed work comes along once I am back in my own studio, and delving into sensory memories of my stay.
A couple more of the quick paintings from this week--all are about 10"x8", untitled, on paper with mixed media.