Impasto experiments

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:

IMG_1088Geryon, inspired by Anne Carson’s story Autobiography of Red. Created with palette knife and brush.

IMG_5722Noontide. Memory landscape finger-painting.

IMG_1092Bunny Fantasia, created using a palette knife and brush.

Painting: Rosalyn


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.

Pretending to be Robert Rauschenberg

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.