Last summer, I taught some private painting lessons for young adults. One of the skills I demonstrated was impasto, which is a technique that uses larger amounts of paint to create texture with its thickness. Van Gogh often used this technique.
These are a some acrylic experiment paintings I used to show examples of impasto to my students:
Geryon, inspired by Anne Carson’s story Autobiography of Red. Created with palette knife and brush.
Noontide. Memory landscape finger-painting.
Bunny Fantasia, created using a palette knife and brush.
This landscape was painted from memory with acrylic paint. My professor had challenged us to abstain from using paintbrushes, so I used my fingers and a palette knife.
Robert Rauschenberg is probably one of those artists you learned about in your high school art class, one of those artists you thought was more of a loon than an artist. I mean, he did put a tire around a taxidermy goat and stood it on top of a painting.
I confess, I felt skeptical at first of this man’s “combines” (his self-made term for his works, since they combine sculpture and painting) but the more I have gotten to know Rauschenberg’s works, the more I just love them.
He can interweave the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional. He printmakes like a boss. He knows how to take random objects of life or pop culture and apply paint and texture and pieces of wood and birds and old photographs and turn them all into a beautiful sensory explosion.
I am literally not Robert Rauschenberg. But I can pretend I’m an artist like him sometimes…
All of my objects came from a thrift store or a dumpster. Guess which ones came from where.
I had the best time whacking the remaining life out of the ukulele on a curb. Made me feel like a hipster rockstar for a brief 5 minutes.
I used an inordinate amount of spray paint, plus primer. I had to arrange a ride to go back to the store two more times. Fabric absorbs paint really well.
And can I just say that I love toy dinosaurs? They make me revert back to childhood and happiness in general.
I was pretty pleased with the end product, though after my art critique, I could design some adjustments for a better piece. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with any good ideas on what to do with it. I don’t have a studio…and rolling the chair a mile to my apartment that won’t have any room for it anyways doesn’t sound very romantic.
So the amateur artists realizes she might be getting a little ahead of herself by making large art for art’s sake. But feeling like Robert Rauschenberg in the process and getting to play with toy dinosaurs again? Yeah, worth it.