Friday, January 29, 2016

Snow Day activity

On one of my snow days off I tried my hand at painting with  watercolor, baking soda and vinegar. I saw this on Pinterest and was bored enough to give it a whirl. It's the kind of thing you do to entertain your young children, but why not? I was pretty much alone with nothing else to do except shovel snow.   First you put a couple spoons of baking soda in a cup and then you add about a quarter cup of water. Then you can add either liquid watercolor or food dye. I had a 20 year old box of Pentel tube watercolors so I used them.
Then I began painting, the paint is kind of thick and needs stirring.

I made three different pictures on watercolor paper, one with squiggly lines, one poured, one squares. I also drew a little in my sketchbook. Then I used a dropper to add the vinegar.

Hisssssss, it makes a cool sound.
It was fun, but eventually all the colors ran together. I guess if I did it again I might tape the paper to a board so that I could pick it up and swirl it around more. 
Here is a detail. Hours later I could drop more vinegar on it, it would fizz some more.  The sketchbook was the least exciting, probably because the paper is thinner. It is definitely about process instead of product. 
I highly recommend doing this if you are 4 or 5 years old.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ode to Ellsworth Kelly reflected on Ellsworth Kelly on his recent passing at age 92.  I had never liked him, I found him incredibly boring.  "Why do museums devote so much space to someone so boring?" I'd gripe aloud.

 A giant bronze sculpture of his work in the National Gallery's sculpture garden particularly incensed me.  "I don't get why you would reproduce a shaped color painting in bronze.  What is the point? There is no color and the shape is not that interesting."

I'd gripe away, not that anyone cared or bothered to listen to me. But it was my opinion, and I was entitled to it.

Then one day I read an article about him in the New York Times. I don't know why I read it, I probably flipped past it first.  But it was interesting and made me appreciate him as a man and as an artist.

For starters, he doesn't use assistants for his painting. He has a strong clear vision that he has persisted in following; keeping notes and sketches that he revisits for inspiration, but never repeating himself.  He has ridden popularity up and down, plugging away in his upstate New York studio. He has had a successful life doing what he loves.

I softened on him.  Oh Ellsworth Kelly, I have been so harsh and judgmental.  You can keep that wall space, far worse art crimes have been committed.

And then in December, on possibly the day that he died, I was walking through the High museum in Atlanta.  Short on time. I peered into a room that held four or five Kelly's.
"F***k that, I'm not going in there." I thought as I passed by.

Sorry Ellsworth.