Monday, April 23, 2012


By the latter part of Wednesday and all day Thursday, we were still learning new things but we were also itching to paint - to try out some of those new things in our own work.  So we did (some of the students were doing this from Day 1 but I thought I'd miss something Myrna was teaching if I just sat and painted all week without watching her demo, writing it all down and then trying it later on scraps).

Here are my favorites from the end of the week.

This is the black gesso print technique - you brush black gesso on aluminum foil and then lay it gesso side down over your surface (this one is on watercolor paper).  Trace around your photo or drawing or free-hand it to transfer the black gesso to the clean surface.  I did this on the right side of the paper (painted with a palette of only 3 watercolor inks after the transfer); then I had that open area to play with on the left, so I took a tissue collage piece I'd stamped and put it on.  This is Harry Kent.  Those of you who know him through his blog, know Harry is a Tasmanian Devil who paints like a demon, but also suffers from Meniere's Disease (something that comes and goes but gives him horrid vertigo when it becomes an unwelcome visitor).  I was trying to capture the dizziness/vertigo in color, with those wavy lines, and with his right eye that was a bit of a cut-out paper I found on the floor.  I saw that Harry has been posting more in his Brett Whiteley series and he's abstracting the portraits even more - just color, shape and texture!

This one was also done with the black gesso print technique.  This is not Harry.

You have to time the drying of the gesso just right and I got brush marks in mine from using a sponge brush and leaving lines in the gesso layer which added more texture (I liked it better than the clean black lines some students got) to the piece.  Do not put your hand down over the foil as you trace or draw - it will push the black gesso into the paper or board as a blob of black.

I will probably do more to this as I don't like the limited palette I had to work with at the workshop and I can now put in more bold colors.  The paint was the Dr. PH Martin Hydrus watercolors.

This one was painted directly on Tyvek and I will definitely go in and darken it.  I just looked at the piece of Tyvek and saw a face there so began with the face.  Then I put a bird on the left - perhaps a bluebird on her shoulder? ha ha

And another one of Harry Kent. 
What can I say?  I had his photo and it looked so interesting I just had to try it when it came time to paint portraits. 

Of course, this doesn't look much like him - but it was fun to play with the lines and colors.

This one was drawn with the hydrus watercolor inks and a roasting skewer I cut in two and then cut one end to have a bamboo pen-like tip.  I did the drawing free-hand and then painted watercolors over a piece of watercolor paper that was gessoed and stamped.  You can see some of the bubble stamping but not the texture on the piece in this photo. 

I really like drawing with the stick and the hydrus watercolors (which are so bold and like ink).  I may try this again since there was a real freeing feeling when drawing this way - now I can see why Myrna draws with coffee stirrers!!  I may have to get bold and try India ink, too. 

Myrna even draws with diluted red gesso!!  But she's very brave - and very good at drawing.

Hope you enjoy the show.  Other than one I drew on Yupo and painted with acrylics, that's the bunch for the week - but I have so many materials to play with now!!

And Sweetie took lots of crow photos for me (they are all around and outside the balcony each morning while I was in class).

Thank you, Myrna, for a wonderful week!!!


Meera Rao said...

Great post on your week and wonderful experiments !!!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Meera. Looks like you got to take a workshop from Myrna, too - hope you enjoy experimenting with the textures and patterns!! I liked your beginning work on portraits on gessoed paper (I think that might become my favorite technique taken from her workshop).

Christiane Kingsley said...

You must be so full of great creative ideas after this workshop. I am really looking forward to seeing more of your "Myrna-inspired"work.

Tim Robinson said...

Interesting process. Looks very experimental.

Harry Kent said...

Faaaantastic! You've really been having fun! Love the sense that these images emerged as you worked. That's what makes them fresh and lively - an artist living dangerously right before our eyes.

I'm much homoured that you chose me as a subject, Rhonda. Great idea with the wavey lines for vertigo. Wonder what would have happened if you'd let them obscure part of the face so that we had to struggle to see. The red comma for an eye is inspired.

The bubble-wrap print is a terrific idea. Like enlarged newsprint. Has a touch of Andy Wahol.

I particularly like the direct painting with its diffuse image that haunts the surface - eyes that strain to see us while we strain to see them. Seems to say something about interpersonal communication in these digital times.

More, more!

CrimsonLeaves said...

Absolutely fabulous pieces came from your listening so well to Myrna. I love each of these, Rhonda. Your work just shines.

RH Carpenter said...

Christiane, stay tuned for more things a la Myrna :)

Tim, yes, very experimental and fun!

Harry, I'm so glad you liked my portraits of you :) I also like your idea of taking the wavy collage piece over the face - just didn't think of that at the time but workshops are not the places to make finished masterworks - just places to throw paint and collage and gesso and ink and...everything but the kitchen sink around and explore :) I will definitely do this one again since you were so gracious about the outcome.

Sherry, thanks so much!


thanks so much for sharing your experiments ...i esp like the second one ....not to mention the crow stamp . ..your so lucky to have attended myrna's workhop .

Myrna Wacknov said...

Rhonda, I am finally home from my wanderings. No time to blog or comment until now. So delighted that you had an informative and fun time in the workshop. A thrill for me to get to know you in person and a fun workshop indeed! Great feedback for me from your comments and descriptions on your blog. I can't wait to see what else you develop that was inspired from our time together.

Cathy Gatland said...

Fascinating techniques and interesting results Rhonda - what a great workshop!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Jane. More fun to come as I sort through new things I created there and with new materials I brought back, too :)

Myrna, what a great week - wish we had another couple of days (after a rest, of course! ha ha) to come back and do a show and tell of all the things we tried in our own art rooms/studios :) Jerry liked the atmosphere and art stuff all week that he now wants me to go to Springmaid in Myrtle Beach :) ha ha I think he's hooked!

Cathy, thanks. It was so much great information and fun and it was a really sharing, open, talented bunch of artists all soaking it up and sharing over meals and breaks and just plain walking around and seeing what others were doing. There are such talented people in the world and Myrna is definitely in the top tier of those artists (see Susan Roux's blog post today about tiered cakes). Seeing her work up close and personal was a real treat - you really don't see all the texture and pattern she gets in her portraits because she pushes it all back so it's not too obtrusive. I hope I can learn to do that.