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Sunday Studio Visit – Exhibitions & More Acrylic Pouring

Happy Sunday!

Remember my art installation Earth Blanket exhibited as part of The Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA)? Well it has now been accepted into the North Sydney Art Prize – which is great…. but now how to get it there! What was I thinking – haha….

I also have an artwork on display, Symbiotic, at the Post Office Gallery in Central Ballarat as part of the annual Ballarat Arts Foundation Alumni Exhibition. The exhibition runs through till the end of the week, so if you are in or around Ballarat there are some great artworks to see – plus there is a peoples choice award – nudge nudge wink wink 🙂

My latest acrylic pouring painting was my best yet, with lots of cell development in different sizes and good colour formation – very happy with this effort, and will be having another go with the same colours and pouring medium – the trick though is getting the consistency of the paint correct….
The painting was created over the top of another painting I was not a fan of … I didn’t gesso the canvas, so we shall see – so far so good! I used the flip cup method, and just look at the colours in the cup! Looks good enough to eat…

That’s it for today – hope to see you next week 🙂

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Sunday Studio Visit – Experimenting with Fluid Art : Acrylic Pouring

Since my first post about acrylic pouring a few months ago I have had another few plays with the technique and it is quite a fun spontaneous method. As you experiment more there is a certain amount of predictability to it – the colours you choose, the order that you layer your colours, things like that – but once it is on the canvas the paint takes on a life of its own. In this way it is a bit like pottery – you can control the form you make, apply your precisely measured glaze design and recipe, but once in the kiln the flame will take over and the kiln goddess will have her way!

Previously I have experimented with flip cups* and dirty pours*, so this time I thought I would try a couple of different methods I have seen while losing hours to You-Tube!!

Firstly I tried pouring from a jug in which I layered my paints. I poured in a circular motion onto a larger canvas … I videoed it, but have just a screenshot of what it looked like, because I can’t upload a video directly to WordPress and I don’t have it posted somewhere else to add via URL – anyway the screenshot gives you the idea (I hope). The pic next to it is the end result after some titling.

Next I lined up three toilet rolls and poured my paint into them directly on the canvas. Again, I can’t show the video, put a still pic, and the end result…. I enjoyed this method, and it is a good way to cover a more rectangular canvas.

Finally I did a colander pour! it was a fun method, and I will definitely try it again now that I know – sort of – what to expect! Finally I can show you a video of this as I posted it on my Instagram page. Watch the vid, then keep scrolling to see the final painting.

Dawn Whitehand - acrylic pouring

Acrylic pouring can be challenging in that you are pouring – usually – from a circular object onto a square canvas so that it can be hard to reach the corners without losing the integrity of the pour and “cells”. To counter this I tried pouring a little paint on the corners and then blowing through a straw so that the paint would flow and blend with the other colours resulting in a more integrated effect and not just a blob of paint in the corner – I think it worked quite well.

*Dirty Pour – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and poured onto the canvas.
*Flip Cup – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and flipped onto the canvas.

The Making of Earth Blanket

Sorry for the absence of late! Followers may know I have opened a shop in Central Ballarat which consumes a huge amount of my time. On top of that, currently an event – the Biennale of Australian Art – is happening in Ballarat, and I have work on show… which means I had to create it … which also took a huge amount of time, though pleasurable 🙂

My artwork, Earth Blanket,  is a ceramic installation comprised of over 20 individual pieces sited at Lake Wendouree as part of the Lakeside Sculpture Work, a component of the Biennale. In total there are 36 sculptures installed around the lake from around Australia.

During the making of the art I wanted to create blog posts documenting the progress, but just kept running out of time, or was too exhausted! So, here we are in hindsight – keep scrolling for pics and videos 🙂

Throwing the enclosed forms:

Manipulating the freshly thrown orbs:

Opening the glaze kiln:

 

The concept of the artwork is to trigger a re-connection to the Earth via an organic contemplation within the environment using a medium which is of the Earth herself – clay. It is only through a re-awareness of humanities symbiotic relationship to the Earth that we can stop consuming her and begin living with her.

I was very happy with my site at the lake; the site being an important conduit to delivering the artwork’s message.

BOAA is well worth a visit if you are in or near the Ballarat area – in fact it is worth planning a visit even if you are not! Besides the sculpture walk there are also lots of solo and group exhibitions, performances, music and much more happening, with a combination of both free and ticketed events. And there is plenty of time to visit as the biennale runs till November 6th 2018. You can check out the program on the BOAA WEBSITE.

Stay tuned for a post showcasing the fab works of the Sculpture Walk!

 

 

Finally ….. An Arty Weekend.

As some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted on this blog for months!! This is because I opened a shop in Central Ballarat where I am teaching pottery classes amongst other things.

Regular readers may know that I taught for years from my home studio which had been renovated and even extended…. but I kept outgrowing it. So in October I moved the whole shebang to the shop/studio and have been flat out ever since. The shop’s window display features locally made giftware, there is an exhibition space, art and pottery supplies, casual studio space hire, kiln service, and classes by myself and other guest artists…. you can check everything out on the ClayMotion website.

Even my weekends have been taken up lately with preserving all the goodies from our garden.

Dawn Whitehand preserving

But this weekend I decided to get back into a bit of art. One of the guest artists this month is running some acrylic pouring workshops at the studio, and being inspired, I decided to have a bit of fun at home. So I watched a few YouTube vids and plunged in!

I used coconut milk as my additive to achieve cells on all of last nights paintings, and I am going to use nail polish remover in the next batch, which I am hoping to tackle tonight. I didn’t pour my canvases over a try, but instead lay grease proof paper over newspaper. This is so that when the excess that poured off the canvases dry I can peel them off as acrylic skins. I then want to cut them into shapes and mount them in glass dome cabochons to make jewellery. So stay tuned for that blog post 🙂

Below I will explain my process for each painting … so read on!

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

This was the first painting I did, I applied the paint by layering the colours in a funnel allowing for more control of application, however I didn’t pour enough paint for it to be fluid enough. The paint was also a bit too thick, and perhaps I didn’t add enough coconut milk. So I had to spread the paint manually which blended the colours together a bit too much and no cells developed. So I decided to try a technique I saw on YouTube called the String Pull Technique, and I think it worked out quite well. After pouring the canvas a piece of string is coated with paint laid on the wet canvas in a shape – for me it was a squiggle – and then pulled off the canvas in a downward motion. I did it with white first, then black and then two with glitter gold. I then pulled a craft stick through some of the wet paint to create different effects. Here’s a vid of what I did (its quite big so keep scrolling down for more info):

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

The second painting I quite like and I created it using a dirty pour. This is when you layer the paints in a cup and then turn the cup onto the canvas and leave it to run to the bottom of the cup. Although I thinned the paint down a little it still wasn’t quite enough and I think I still needed a little more coconut milk. Although there are a few nice cells and quite a few really small ones I do like the colours and the way the overall composition turned out.

Here’s a vid of the dirty pour (again it is big, so keep scrolling):

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

The next painting had much better cell development. I thinned the paint down much more and added more coconut milk. Again it was created with a dirty pour.

Dawn Whitehand fluid art

And the final painting had even better cell development – not quite enough, but better. It was also created using a dirty pour. I do like the middle swirls too. It looks a bit galaxy like.

I enjoyed the process and liked how it is very similar to slip marbling and feathering on pottery. This has set my mind racing to try the string pull on a plate!

And now I am off to do some more playing!

National Poetry Writing Month – NAPoWriMo

April is National Poetry Writing Month and I have been participating over on my Poetry blog where I publish a poem and a drawing inspired by the poem.

My poetry blog has been going for a few years now, but I haven’t published much this year, until this month – so hopefully participating in this daily challenge will get me back into a more regular routine!

Following is a sample of some of the drawings I have been publishing – but you’ll have to visit my blog to read some poetry!

Happy reading 🙂

April – National Poetry Writing Month #napowrimo

April is National Poetry Month where poets from around the world write a poem a day and post it somewhere on social media – Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, Tumbler, the choices are endless (although one could participate as a personal challenge and not share on social media, of course). The idea behind social media, though, is to network and connect, and also read some of the great work of others working in this literary space.

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As regular readers may know I also have a Poetry & Drawing blog. It began as a poem and drawing a day blog, and after one year of posting I scaled it back to posting weekly. But in April I try to write daily for the National Poetry Month.

So far I have been successful in posting daily (despite extending my studio, which will be the subject of this weeks Sunday Studio Visit, so stay tuned)!

My poems are always accompanied by an original drawing by me inspired by the poem. The drawings range from abstract art to realism to digital art. I will leave you with a small gallery of drawings, and to read the poems that accompany them check out my Poetry Blog 🙂

 

 

Sunday Studio Visit – new sculpture

Today in the studio I am creating a new sculpture. It’s been a while since I created new sculpture – not sure why, it seems so many other things get in the way!

So why am I creating a new sculpture – some motivation, I guess!! Recently I was invited to create a work for a micro exhibition for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in response to the bushfires that occurred on Christmas Day in the Wye River area. The brief was positivity and regeneration.

I was really pleased to be asked, as only a month before I had experienced a large scale bushfire near my home where some close friends had been affected, but thankfully had kept their house and business, though unfortunately many other homes were lost! And three years ago the mount I live at the base of had been on fire. So, in a way, making a sculpture for the Wye River bushfire also allowed me to communicate the emotions I had felt in response to the other two fires.

Photo: Dawn Whitehand

Mount Warrenheip fire 2013 Photo: Dawn Whitehand – View from my backyard

Photo : Dawn Whitehand Scotsburn Bushfires 2015

Photo : Dawn Whitehand Scotsburn Bushfires 2015

So with these thoughts in my head as a starting point I started out in the studio with a pre conceived concept, but – of course – ended up with something completely different.

Now, this above thought is not be taken lightly, and I am intending to write a post about this in the future Why was I able to change my concept/design on the run? I believe the arts cultivates dynamic thinking which can drive innovation and be flexible upon need…. this is why STEM needs to be STEAM in our education system (*see below).

But back to my sculpture… I am not going to post a completed picture of the work, that will come at the opening or after, however, I will post some progress pics from the studio today …. cheers 🙂

*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
*STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Mathematics

 

Exhibition Opening – Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award 2015

Regular readers will know one of my ceramic sculptures was recently accepted into the biennial Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, an award that has become a fixture on the ceramic awards calendar in recent years, The award is open to all Victorian artists, and spans functional ceramics through to sculptural and conceptual works, as long as the main medium used is clay.

The exhibition opening was held on Wednesday evening at the Mannigham Art Gallery in Doncaster, so now I can reveal my sculpture and give you a bit of information about the conceptual underpinnings of the piece.

So what is this artwork actually about?

I’m glad you asked…here’s my Artist Statement:

Much of the artwork I create addresses environmental issues, sustainability and the need for humanity to reconnect to the Earth and realise their symbiotic relationship with the landscape.

Landscape 1 is the first in a series of sculptural artworks that capture this ethic in both the making process and the finished form.

The sculpture was press moulded in two halves using the polystyrene end packaging of a radiator heater. Polystyrene is especially bad for the environment in its manufacturing process and in that it doesn’t break down and so remains a permanent waste product.

With some creative thinking, however, this material can be used to model artworks or can be turned into artworks itself.

The surface of Landscape 1 is achieved through pit firing, a method of firing ceramics in the ground using organic materials to achieve the mottled coloured surface. When pit firing I only use materials which are found on the ground – old branches, sticks, pine cones, cow dung and leaves.

Given the fragile state of the future environment this method of firing is also a sustainable way of finishing sculptural and decorative ceramics

The exhibition runs until the 29th August and there are some fantastic ceramic artworks to see, and buy, from over fifty Victorian artists, emerging through to established. So if you are in or near the area it is definitely worth a visit.

Below are some images from opening night….enjoy 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – Catching up

Today in the studio I am finally catching up on polishing the ceramic sculpture I fired last weekend in the pit firing, which was the subject of last Sunday’s studio visit.

The piece in the middle of the picture is the sculpture I have had accepted into the Manningham Ceramic Awards which i have to send off tomorrow, and the other two sculptures i need to photograph as proposals for anther two upcoming art awards – fingers crossed.

That’s about it for today in the studio…. yesterday my son & his girlfriend visited, and we had a bit of a late night watching movies and chatting, so it was a bit of a late start to the day!

Hopefully I will be organised for more updates mid-week 🙂

Dawn Whitehand Pit fired Sculpture

Sunday Studio Visit: Pit Firing

Oh Dear…. a few days late again!!

Sunday was a bit of a busy day….. we visited friends on Sunday afternoon for a low key housewarming party, and didn’t get home till quite late!

The day before, Saturday, I did a pit firing to complete a few pieces I am thinking of entering into some upcoming ceramic awards, and had grand plans of unloading the pit on Sunday and writing my Studio visit blog post – but all I got in before we had to leave for the housewarming was a sneak peek, which I dutifully shared on Instagram.

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Then yesterday, Monday, I had to go to Melbourne for a catch up dinner with my mum and my two adult sons, and in the process i just get around to getting anything much else done!!

So today, Tuesday, I am writing the blog post I wanted to share on Sunday – sorry for the delay!!

The artworks I had in the pit include a piece already accepted into the Manningham Ceramics Award, and two other pieces I am planning to enter into other awards whose deadlines are looming.

My pit is quite large, and I alter its size, depending on how much work I have to fire, with fire bricks. In this firing I also packed some smaller pieces (which make up one artwork) within sawdust in tin saggars as I wanted to get as much smoking/black firing as possible.

The colour responses I attained from the pit are not the best I have ever achieved, but the nature of pit firing is the lack of control and the random nature of the fire based on so many variables, such as the temperature, the season, the wood used, the clay used, the condition of the pit (where I live I can only do pit firings in Winter due to fire restrictions, and it can be really wet  cold where I live) and other combustibles introduced to the pit.

Overall, however, I am happy with the results – it is the nature of ceramics that one must be happy with what the kiln gods delver, otherwise you would go insane!! (well i would anyways)

Following is a short photo essay of the procedure I took for the day, but also check out the book I have written about pit firing (yes, unabashed self promotion!) available on Amazon and other online bookstores, plus some brick & mortar stores.

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