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mixed media

SketchbookScribble.09.Buziak.2

I’ve had three Canson A3 (appx. 16 x 12 inches in size) 100-page sketchbooks “on the go” since early 2013, two of them more or less filled now with what I think of as “expressive abstractions” using acrylic paint, watercolour, Conté crayon, soft pastel and oil-crayon… sometimes combining more than one as in mixed-media.

Around a dozen have been for sale on my ETSY shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/SketchBuzz? for the past year amongst other works (around 40 pieces to date) with compositions and colour combinations more easy on the eye, as well as larger pieces of more recognisable subjects… and four, maybe five, have sold… although not anything resembling the above scribble.

I use the word “scribble” because that is what this is… daubs of different acrylic colours with wax crayon overlaid afterward, all in random strokes which, now I can recall more clearly, was one of more than a dozen similar works made shortly before my wife died last November after a very lengthy illness. Was I influenced, or frustrated, by what was happening in my personal life? Probably!

When I try to do similar work now – by allowing my mind and hand to wander in sympathy, although not necessarily synchronicity – I’m hesitant and feel I cannot achieve the same freedom. At the moment the only conclusion I can come to is that artistic scribbling is not very easy to do… despite what casual viewers will imply when mentioning their children’s primary school efforts during art lessons.

But I know there is more to it than that, and a number of artists have achieved world-wide fame, or notoriety, with artwork which has evolved in styles which baffle many people… there being nothing new with that when one considers how Impressionism, or many of the other -isms, created shock and horror at the time because they changed and challenged the accepted safe concepts of art. However, two artists I admire greatly are Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly…

Notes from TheArtStory.org… “Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognizable image, but to convey emotions. Mitchell’s early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognized. She referred to herself as the “last Abstract Expressionist,” and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992.

Inspired by the gestural painting of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell’s mature work comprised a highly abstract, richly colored, calligraphic manner, which balanced elements of structured composition with a mood of wild improvisation.

Mitchell rejected the emphasis on flatness and the “all-over” approach to composition that were prevalent among many of the leading Abstract Expressionists. Instead, she preferred to retain a more traditional sense of figure and ground in her pictures, and she often composed them in ways that evoked impressions of landscape.

Mitchell’s abrasive personality has been a key factor in interpretations of her painting, which critics often read as expressions of rage and violence. Yet, almost as often, they have seen lyricism in her work.”

And from CyTwombly.info… “Some writers have concentrated on the materiality of the artist’s mark as aggressive, often illegible graffiti; others have followed the classical allusions to ferret out the references. Two elements might serve as metaphors for the predominant interpretations… However, Twombly’s painterly palimpsests trace the progressions through which form and content, text and image are inextricably linked.

Cy Twombly arrived in Manhattan in 1950 while the New York School painting of Pollock and de Kooning was in full swing. Upon Robert Rauschenberg’s encouragement, Twombly joined him for the 1951–1952 sessions at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina – a liberal refuge, a site of free experimentation and exchange in a nation growing increasingly conservative during the Cold War. Among the influential teachers present at this time were Charles Olson, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and John Cage. Building on the freedom afforded by the previous generation, the younger artists emphasised libidinal energy integrated through experience.

They focused attention on calligraphic gesture and word/image relationships resulting in work that was more syncretic, less spontaneously automatist.In the statement, Twombly describes his process: “Each line is now the actual experience with its own innate history. It does not illustrate – it is the sensation of its own realisation.”

With their works achieving millions at auction, can I put mine on ETSY or Saatchi Art, my two sales sites, for a hundred or so dollars? Or, as Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers” wrote, “…researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” do I need to do those 10,000 hours of pure, creative and expressive work before I can get away with my scribbles? There are many creative types who think you do, and the Ten Thousand Hours website at http://www.10khrs.co show this with a recorded interview series about craft, creativity and putting in our time.

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

Quiz.Collage.Buziak.2

As I wrote yesterday, collage – from the French word coller, to glue – is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

And after a productive month in the studio – and preparing to throw-out the scattered newspapers and out-of-date street advertising posters used for paint spills and splashes – I looked at some areas of accidental spills and splashes with deeper interest and thought of a collage arrangement.

It took the remainder of the day to measure, select, tear and paste the three basic elements of this piece into place; carefully wrapping each piece of pasted paper around the edge of the canvas’ frame and then stapling in place for a permanent fix. Then I added an air-gun target, found at a fairground a few years ago and kept in my bag of printed ephemera, old maps, tickets, labels and wrappers, before finally dropping more blue paint “droppings” to tie the three bands of torn paper together.

I must add that visually and experimentally I am very excited by this piece. Although some viewers will look upon it as “grunge” I feel very encouraged by progress in a different direction with my artwork… maybe it is a seminal piece. Obviously I hope it sells… but if it doesn’t I will be equally pleased to have it hanging on my own walls for a long time to come!

This artwork is for sale at Saatchi Art…

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Collage-Quiz/395193/2160101/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

StudioCollage.3.Buziak

Collage – from the French word coller, to glue – is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

A collage may sometimes include newspaper and magazine clippings, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.

The term “collage” was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.

According to the Guggenheim Museum‘s online art glossary, collage is an artistic concept associated with the beginnings of modernism, and entails much more than the idea of gluing something onto something else. The glued-on patches which Braque and Picasso added to their canvases offered a new perspective on painting when the patches “collided with the surface plane of the painting.” Furthermore, these chopped-up bits of newspaper introduced fragments of externally referenced meaning into the collision… the juxtaposition of signifiers, “at once serious and tongue-in-cheek,” was fundamental to the inspiration behind collage – “Emphasizing concept and process over end product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful congress with the ordinary.” – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collage

And so after a productive month in the studio I thought it time to tidy-up the scattered newspapers and posters (out-of-date street advertising posters) I use as floor protection against paint spills and splashes. But, the more I looked at some areas of accidental spills and splashes the more I thought they could be used in some form of assemblage… or collage.

After much selecting, measuring, tearing and overlaying, I mixed a small bowl of wallpaper paste and carefully glued the three strips to an 80 x 60 cms stretched canvas. I then weighed the covered canvas down on each corner with my hand-exercise weights to make sure the wooden frame stayed true and flat whilst drying. By tomorrow I will know whether or not, or perhaps what, to add to the assemblage.

The finished artwork will be for sale at Saatchi Art in 24-hours…

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

Red Chairs ~ Ed Buziak (1977)

I have been drawing seats, sofas and chairs since studying at art college in the early ’60s. I have also been reworking some old ideas including this drawing dating from 1977. I can’t remember who the furniture designer was (Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni perhaps?) but I liked the curves very much and the sometimes smooth, sometimes confusing mélange of overlapping shapes.

In this working study the shapes on the paper background were drawn with a soft 4B lead pencil whilst the overlapping shapes on semi-opaque tracing paper were drawn in red and yellow crayon. Using a semi-opaque overlay I was able to make drastic changes in the overall design by rotating the support through one or more 90 degree steps – or even reversing the tracing paper – and also make slight changes with millimeter by millimeter shifts in vertical, horizontal and/or diagonal alignment.

Image © 1977 Ed Buziak

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