BIG PAINTING WITH DEREK SPRAWSON
Recently we had workshops at Uni! Hurray! For those who aren’t on an art course, being an art student means we are paying a huge amount of money for really not that much; a bit of wall space and the occasional tutorial, so when we have the opportunity to ACTUALLY LEARN SOMETHING we get all excitable and irrationally secretive to guarantee we get a limited place on the workshop we wanted. Being so ‘chilled and whatever’ I wasn’t too fussed about which workshop I got, after having experimented with painting a bit, I thought ‘big painting’ would be an appropriate one and I luckily got on it (crazy-fast drop-boxing)
Anyway, BIG PAINTING! It was taken by Derek Sprawson, a fine art tutor who has his own really beautiful painting style.
We were each given a 9 by 5ft piece of canvas to work with. Obviously this was ridiculously daunting, but a challenge and who doesn’t like challenges. The workshop was first contextualised with work from other ‘big painters’ such as Tauba Auerbach, Caroline von Heyl and Katie Pratt as a starting point.
|Untitled Fold Painting 60 x 45 inches 2010|
|Untitled Fold Painting 60 x 48 inches 2010|
Auerbach’s work is incredible; she creates the illusion of folds and depth on a flat surface by folding the canvas and spray painting from an angle, a really simple but ridiculously effective way of working. The outcome is so beautiful and hypnotic. Having been made flat and then stretched, the illusion of ridges and folds is so remarkable. So we began with this process ourselves, as a quick and simple method to get colour onto the canvas.
I folded up my canvas to create this almost sculptural shape, curious as to what effects would come from it once sprayed.
After spray painting, I laid out the canvas out, to see what effect i had, not exactly Auerbach, but interesting enough to expand upon.
|laid out in the Conservatory of the Waverly Building|
|Hung in the studio space with initial paint additions|
I began to just paint within the areas but it looked a bit dull and mundane. I wanted to make piece of work that was interesting. I began to impose structure within the piece by marking off areas.
Derek wanted to impose on us that it didn’t have to solely brush paint on nicely, we could scratch into the paint, scrape it on, layer it, many different techniques to create interesting effects, and it was an experiment after all (just a pretty massive one)
This is the final piece, exhibited in the Bonington Atrium
|'Untitled, Tessellated' 2013|
|detail of 'Untitled, Tessellated' 2013|
Although I’m not massively in love with it, there wasn’t a huge amount of paint to go around so there are some areas where the paint is quite thin, but overall I think it is a pretty successful experiment and I really enjoyed making it. I had imposed a short time limit on myself and working within that constraint had enforced in me a real urgency that I’m sure would have only been detrimental to any of my previous practises.