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Painting with Words

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Tonight's painting technique is "painting with words", using acrylic paint

& gesso on canvas.

 

We'll once again draw inspiration from the Holy Trinity Cathedral's stained glass windows, plus from of NZ's most significant wordscape artist's, Colin McCahon.

 

Looking at "painterly words', "dominant" & "contrasting" colour, & "layering up"

painting theories.  

Thought for the evening: Matariki - New Beginnings

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Warm-up exercises:

Contour lines:  Draw MacArthur, shown above, in contour lines.  Draw slowly, thoughtfully and positively, try not to shade, simply draw with lines, curved & straight

Music to words: Taking advantage of the Cathedral's wonderful acoustics, take your board, sheet of A3 & your pencil.  Pied Piper style, follow the musicians, absorb their music, write down any words that spring to mind, let your pencil waft along the page, sketch any shapes or symbols too, try to represent the music...

Ref Sheet key words:  read the ref. sheet, underline words & sentences that jump out at you

Visualise key words/sentences:  in your minds eye what do you see when you read this mixture of abstract paragraphs - draw this in simple "symbolic" shapes

Artist Focus 

Colin McCahon (1919-1987)

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Colin McCahon  is not only considered NZ's most significant but also our most soulful & searchful of artists.  He was a painter obsessed by words. 

 

What fascinates in his many 'wordscapes' is the fact the words are usually not his own (despite being a wonderful writer) - many of his pieces include biblical passages presented creatively in strange new ways, which illustrates his questioning mind. 

 

McCahon painted words 'painterly' using many different writing styles, cursive, capitals & lower case, colourfully layering up the letters etc. 

Part 1:  FoNt-creative writing....
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  • Identify 4 unique writing styles you'd normally never use: eg. cursive, slanting or straight (a mixture of both?); CAPITAL & lower case. 

  • Start each letter where you'd normally finish it effectively writing bottom up.

  • Write/draw the following paragraph using these a mixture of different styles.

  • Don't write in lines, try koru style, wavey, diagonal.  Deliberately write off the page...  make some words THICK, & others wafer thin...

  • REMEMBER:  Your writing doesn't have to be legible...

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Part 2Symbols
  • Identify 4 words in the text provided & develop a symbols for each. 

   "Waterfall" [Colin McCahon]

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Part 3:  Painting Techniques 
  1. Dominant Colour: for a painting to have harmony there must be one dominant colour ie. more than 50% of the painting.  

  2. Contrasting colour:  using opposing colours on the colour wheel also helps achieve harmony.
  3. Layering Up: paint up a background using gesso & paint (not too thick to help it dry quickly); overpaint this with painted words (symbols?) perhaps multiple times.

  4. Painterly words: painting words is not like normal writing.  Mix up different fonts & styles, play with capitals & lower case, use different colours in a single letter...

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Consider the Shane Cotton painting below (left):

 

a. Can you identify the 2 contrasting colours?

b. Which is these is dominant?

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Part 3:  Paint the Background 
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Part 4:  Words

Painterly words: painting words is not like normal writing.  Mix up different fonts & styles, play with capitals & lower case, use different colours in a single letter...

It doesn't need to be legible... write/paint off the edge of the page....overlap words... put a line through any 'typos'...layer individual letters up with different colours... there's limitless options...

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  • Refer to your warmup sheet, paint these words atop your background.

  • Remember: use different writing styles that you'd normally never use:

  • eg. cursive, slanting or straight (a mixture of both?); CAPITAL & lower case. 

  • Start each letter where you'd normally finish it effectively writing bottom up.

  • Don't write in lines, try koru style, wavey, diagonal.  Deliberately write off the page...  make some words THICK, & others wafer thin...

  • REMEMBER:  Your writing doesn't have to be legible...

  • Layer up each letter, use multiple colours on each letter, as if the light is hitting it on a certain spot...

  • Try giving a certain word a shadow...

  • Paint a new words partially over the top of another...

Have FUN with the words & the colours

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