Artists are always asking each other "so what did you use to make that line ?" Lines always seem to look better on someone else's work. The truth is that oftentimes we are admiring the work of an experienced artist who has developed a certain degree of confidence in their line making. Don't get me wrong, product does indeed matter and I of course have my favorite fine-liner and heavy liner pens and products, but the key to making line and marks is practice not product. Once you have mastered the ease at drawing or scribbling a variety of lines you are probably ready to obsess over the "blackness" of these lines....that is another conversation.
I just discovered Cretacolor charcoal stick (chunky). What an intense black you will get when mark making with this product. As you can see you can produce a variety of applications with this Cretacolor stick from very thick bold lines to thinner and medium value lines and strokes. Turn the stick on it's side and you can cover the paper with sweeping shades of the charcoal allowing for a background covering. Have plenty of paper towels or rags on hand when drawing with charcoal as this is a messy process but also a very exciting way to draw in an abstract expressive way. Cretacolor charcoal is packaged in a variety of ways including just black sticks or other sets which offer a variety pack of colors. You can also buy single sticks. While you can of course wear surgical gloves when working with Charcoal art materials, some artists like to have direct contact with their drawing tools. Be prepared however, to look in the mirror and see your "work" on your face!
Just like Picasso, I enjoy working on newspaper as a pleasant change from painting or drawing on a plain piece of white paper. There is nothing more satisfying to me than the rich black lines you get from using a Sharpie pen directly onto newspaper. It's fun (and relaxing) to outline the newspaper columns or create new forms and designs covering over photos and advertisements. After working at my drafting table for awhile, the smell seems to knock me over and I know its time to open that window and to take a Sharpie break. Then I might add some acrylic paint to the newspaper shapes using the end of a piece of cardboard, a plastic credit card or even a brush to smear or apply the paint. When the paint dries I might bring back more marks with the Sharpie. Painted papers can be used in collage or as solo pieces of work.
When you are making painted papers for Mixed Media collages or working directly on a support (paper, canvas, art board etc.) you may want to add texture to your piece. In MIxed media, many different types of wet and dry media are used to offer a variety of marks, strokes and textures. A really cool way to create texture is to roll your brayer into a puddle of paint and than to roll the brayer again over a remnant of plastic mesh before finally rolling the brayer onto your work. The result will be the creation of nibs on the brush that will create a wonderful pattern once the brayer is rolled onto a Mixed Media piece. You can also try rolling the brayer (with paint already on) onto other interesting objects that you use for texture such as corrugated cardboard or patterned wallpaper samples.
When I am making Mixed Media artwork I like to keep a pre-cut Mat "window" nearby to help me isolate parts of my work in progress that may actually be more exciting than if I kept the "whole" piece intact. I have been criticized for giving up too soon on "resolving" a whole piece and I understand that comment. I even at times feel a little guilty for reaching for my mat window, but I also appreciate that I respect my visual eye and if cropping is what is called for....that is what my artistic intuition tells me. Some guidelines that I use when I am making this decision to crop or cut up a piece of work is does the section I have highlighted show more composition integrity and or excitement than the piece as a whole? Sometimes eliminating "noise" or complexity is helpful. Are the color relationships keener in the smaller section chosen? Do I get more drama, serenity, mystery, movement etc. in the portion of the artwork that I have chosen to feature. These are some ways to think about should you crop or not.
Random Acts of Color
Contemporary Abstract Mixed Media
C. Dianne Zweig
Inspired by 1950's colors, shapes, and designs, “Random Acts of Color" features C. Dianne Zweig's Contemporary Mixed Media abstracts which are anything but "random" as Dianne playfully re-works Mid-Century style for today's collector. You will find almost 50 works of art on display assembled in Dianne's first Solo Show. This playful collection showcases Dianne's bold use of color and Mark making.
Opening Reception with the artist:
Sunday, December 11, 2016
December 4, 2016 – January 15, 2017
For more information visit: JCC 860-231-4571
WINTER CLASSES 2016
MAKING YOUR MARK IN CONTEMPORARY ABSTRACT ART AT THE WEST HARTFORD ART LEAGUE
C. Dianne Zweig West Hartford Art League 6 Weeks Level: Beginner to Advanced Abstract artists who would like to add more spontaneity to their artwork will explore a variety of mark making approaches to help reinvigorate and “morph” their contemporary styles into more interesting and finished works of art. Emphasis will be on the language of line and spontaneity, chaos and control, figuration to abstraction, action versus quiet, color, shape using both traditional and unconventional art products, materials and tools. Assignments will integrate the use of wet and dry media, pen and ink products, painting and collage. Emphasis will be on resolving artistic dilemmas in creative ways which incorporate innovation as well as group critiques. All levels of students welcomed. A materials list is available at: http://www.cdiannezweig.com/workshops/ C. Dianne Zweig is a Contemporary Mixed Media abstract artist whose artwork is influenced by the organic shapes and abstract designs of 1950s textiles. She is a member of Connecticut Women Artists and a founding member of Mixus, a group of women artists who work in Mixed media. Dianne is also enjoys teaching art classes and workshops to all ages.
DZ312|Wednesday, January 11th – February 15th|1:00 – 4:00 Clubhouse Classroom Fee: Member $138.00 Non-member $163.00
To register visit the West Hartford Art League
As an artist I have very little patience, but I have learned over the years to work with that quirky trait. If I absolutely had to sit and render a very carefully executed vase of flowers sitting on a table, I'm betting over time and practice (and some skill building) , I could truly pull that off. But I'm thinking that I would frankly be worn out and not energized while TRYING to create a painting of flowers. In contrast to drawing or painting realistically, when I slop around in my studio experimenting with colors, products and applications in all the "wrong" ways I'm "unglued" but satisfied. I really do like the idea of accidentally falling into a project with little preconceived notions and few expectations (ha ha). I really have to get back to stop trying so hard, that's when my best work appears!
Mixed Media artists are always using their tools in quirky ways. While the average painter holds their brush upright choosing to paint with the bristles of the brush, others have learned to get very interesting applications by using their brush handle as a roller or brayer, spreading the paint across the paper in accidental and blotting types of layering. Thank you to Peter Ganick for demonstrating this lovely technique during an exercise on Visual poetry.
Just in time for Halloween, some thoughts on our fear of the other, the people in the shadows, or merely those that don't look like us.It's tempting to rile yourself up about the 'other'. But that's not the real challenge. The challenge is inside. It's the self-sabotage. The projects not shipped, the hugs not given, the art not made. The real boogeyman isn't the other. The one we're afraid of is with us all the time. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/10/fear-of-outsiders.html
A great way to learn about cool design when making abstract art is to take a look at Jazz album covers from the 1950s for examples of hip style, design, color and composition. Many people get STUCK in making the same shapes and sometimes even make the same size shapes over and over. That is not art, it is wallpaper. And I should know, because I have been a member of that club for years. So I began going online and looking at lots and lots of album covers form the 1940s-1950s. This album cover shown, was designed by Burt Goldblatt for American jazz tenor saxophonist Don Byas. In particular I am interested in Goldblatt's use of the very large pink/white boomerang shape (a very common 1950s) element and it's relationship to the green background. Take a good look at this album and notice how line, shape, color, value relate to each other. You can indeed learn so much by exploring old jazz albums for inspiration for your own artwork.
Do you know how excited I was to "inherit" this plastic covered cardboard support I used for painting laundry dryer clothes (the things you use for softening clothes in the dryer) ? I didn't exactly "inherit" the thing, it was given to me when my friend Lynn Gall downsized her art studio as she left for a very long stay Abroad. So when you want to add texture to a Mixed media collage you paint these fabric softener sheets, let them dry and incorporate them in your pieces! Thanks Lynn for teaching me about this technique, it's one way to get me to do laundry! Visit Lynn at http://www.lynngall.com/
UPCOMING SPRING CLASSES
Contemporary Mixed Media-Collage at Dick Blick Plainville CT. MAY 2016
Let Loose With Collage & Mixed Media: Leave your inner critic home and join others in the art of creating Mixed Media artwork and collages using painted papers, print making techniques, textures, mark making, dry and wet media. Emphasis on helping students “loosen up” and work more spontaneously with a variety of art materials and products. All levels of students welcomed. Day/Time: 4 sessions on Wednesdays 1:00 - 3:00, May 4,11,18, 25. Fee $120.00.
The beauty of Mixed Media collage is that you can use every thing and the kitchen sink in the process of making art. While I have my favorite products, you are welcome to bring to class what you already have and to build materials and supplies as you discover new ideas. My favorite essential materials are Canson Drawing paper ()or similar) in a gummed pad (any size works); Acrylic paint; brushes of different sizes; Sharpie Markers; Crayons; oil pastels. Other materials to collect and bring include products that can make textures such as mesh bags from onions, bubble wrap, corrugated brown packing paper that have different kinds of ridges, wallpaper that has raised texture, combs, inserts from candy boxes that have patterns and interesting surfaces etc. BTW, I also smear paint with old glossy post cards or card board that i fold to size. We will discuss adhesives in the first class. http://www.cdiannezweig.com/workshops/
When I paint papers to use in Mixed Media collage, I use many tools and gadgets to create interesting textures and surfaces for my painted papers. A fun way to work is to apply paint with a painters putty knife of a palette knife. I have a very durable painter's knife that I picked up at a tag sale which has become one of my favorite tools. It is much stronger than some of the products out today, Try experimenting with applying one color at a time to your papers or see what happens when the putty knife picks up several colors in the process. After the painted papers dry, I am ready to tear them up and use in my next abstract collage.