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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.

Sunday Studio Visit – Elaborate Doodling!

As promised I am going to attempt to keep up the Sunday Studio visit blog posts at the very least! So today I will share with you an elaborate doodle that took me a few drawing sessions to finish.

I have been having fun subscribing to Scrawlbox, a subscriber art supplies box of goodies that I receive every month. I began this as a way to prompt me at least once a month to create an artwork, because I have been so overrun with the shop.

I hadn’t received my October box as yet (and still haven’t, so they are generously sending a replacement box – good old Australia Post), so I decided to create a doodle using the alcohol based markers I received in a previous box. I didn’t have any marker paper so just used my visual journal, but I didn’t mind because I wanted to retain the intensity of the individual colours in the doodle anyway (IE – I didn’t mind that I couldn’t blend the colours).

I was happy with the result, and my son loved it so much he wants me to get it printed on fabric and make a shirt for him – or get someone else to make a shirt for him! So that was nice 🙂

I still haven’t received that October box so today I have began a watercolour painting of Peeps, my shopdog, also using supplies from a previous Scrawlbox – this time a watercolour palette. I  have finished the sketch and layed down some colour, which I will continue tomorrow and during the week. I will finish with some finer detail – fur, etc – using some watercolour pencils which I already have in my art supplies collection.

So that’s it for today’s studio visit – see you next week 🙂

 

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 🙂

Ceramic Pit firing – New sculpture.

Hope everyone is having a great week 🙂

Following on from the previous POST I have now pitfired all of the sculptural works I made for the exhibition in ContainArt – yes I got the fire permit 🙂

 

It has been very warm over the past few weeks, so it was great that the day I chose to do the firing was only a 26C day… but, of course, we still needed a beer by the end of it (or maybe before the end of it!)

I have since installed the exhibition, but am a bit behind in my posts because – yes – I am still sick!! It comes and goes in waves and is driving me crazy!!

Anyways…. here are some pics of the pit firing, and the next post will be pics of the installed exhibition…. so stay tuned 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – a bit of photography!

Its been a while since I posted – I have been sick in varying degrees (coming good, then not) for a few months now. I started with insomnia a few months ago which left me run down. I then came down with a virus which I couldn’t shift and which developed from there to a severe chest infection and virus induced asthma! I have never had asthma, so it has been weird! Due to ll of this I have been doing the bare minimum of what I need to do, and now that I am starting to feel better (I think) I am in catch up mode.

I haven’t even posted a Christmas pressie reminder for my ETSY shop – so here is one now 🙂

As for today’s Sunday studio visit – I wasn’t in the studio today. Being a couple of weeks from Christmas we had a family Christmas lunch with a side from my partners family, which was lovely and relaxing. The weather was beautiful, which is only just starting to happen in Ballarat – so it was perfectly timed!

The hosts live a big warehouse which they are slowly converting in a gorgeous home, and there were some fantastic views from the outdoor deck of the surrounds, which included some great geometric architectural juxtapositions which I couldn’t resist capturing on my phone.

So, I thought these shots would be a great re-introduction to my – hopefully – more regular blogging life 🙂

Enjoy!

Sunday Studio Visit – community projects

What a busy Sunday this has been!

This morning I worked with the community from Scotsburn and surrounds as part of the ongoing bushfire relief project – of which you can see previous posts HERE. And then this afternoon I ran a workshop for the Ballarat branch of Yellow Ladybugs – a group that connects girl with autism – its been a great day!!

The Scotsburn group continue to create some fab ceramics – with a concentration on Christmas decorations this session. The bushfire occurred a week before Christmas in 2015, so there were lots of positive messages inscribed onto the decorations.

Scotsburn bush fire relief

And there were also some creative additions – all to be exhibited in the end of the year exhibition to coincide with the anniversary picnic in December.

In the afternoon the Ladybug girls produced some amazing treasure boxes – they so enjoyed it, and so did I !!!

 

Teepee Firing – experimental low fired ceramics

As readers may know I am somewhat a specialist in pit firing, having explored it extensively during my PhD and then writing a book about it which you can find on lots of online book stores such as AMAZON.

Lately I have been yearning to explore more methods of alternative firing. The idea arose when my pugmill decided to die leaving me with lots of clay I haven’t had time to manually reclaim. So I thought I would make an outdoor clay kiln – this is still in the planning stage, and I hope to get it up and running (so that it is ‘fired’) before fire restrictions come in this year.

In the meantime I decided to use some of this excess clay – mainly from buckets under the potters wheels which has a high water content – and experiment with a TeePee firing. I did the firing a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had time to post it till now – it seems to be very busy at the moment!

I am lucky enough to live on a 10 acre property with lots of trees, and it has been a windy year so there are lots of blown down branches scattered around. I began by constructing my TeePee using these branches and then lining it with fence palings which I reclaimed from a neighbour a few months ago. Before lining the TeePee though, I constructed a tripod with smaller branches within the TeePee which included seeweed, cow dung, salt and some copper sulphate and nestled my pots into it.

I had previously made a series of pinch pots which were were prepared using string and copper wire wound around the pots to hold on seaweed, gumleaves and cow dung.

Prepared pots

Prepared pots

After lining the TeePee with fence palings I dipped newspaper – in two or three layers for strength – into clay slip, which I had made by using my glaze drill to mix the clay in the potters wheel slag buckets. I then lined the TeePee with this paper making sure I left I left two holes for lighting the fire and a few draft holes to feed the fire. I also left a hole in the top of the TeePee for drawing.

The firing was really fun to do and visually splendid and I was very happy with the result for a first effort and intend to experiment with this technique more.

And here are the finished pots cleaned and polished 🙂

Pot One – when the paper slip fires it creates an almost low fire sculpture, so I rescued some shards the following morning and experimented 🙂

Pot Two – love these colours!

Pot Three – great copper wire markings here!

Pot Four – love the subtlety ….

 

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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