Where Words and Pictures Party

Pretentious Art

Added on by Timothy O'Briant.

This week I took on a new art project to enter into the local art exhibit.  I've used sequential art in the show before, but Timothy has been doing a lot of painting and I wanted to tickle my creative itch as well.  This past June I bought a copy of Kabuki Reflections from David Mack himself.  Mack was a huge reason I got back into comics.  Reflections isn't just an art book, it's more of a series of meditations and notes on his process.  As exciting as his art is to look at, I never thought I'd work in mixed media.  After this "painting" I'm really glad I did.

I know this entry isn't much about comics, but I would like to just spend a little time going over what I did to create this.  It's been so much fun working through each new problem.


The first thing I had to do was paint over the old painting that I didn't want.  I grabbed a can of left over house paint I had used for my kitchen and bathrooms.  I poured this paint out in thick globs over the canvas and then used my fingers to gently push the paint over the edges, wiping the old picture away.  A handprint with fingers outstretched was put in the bottom left corner.

While the paint was still wet I grabbed the top of several anthills into my fist.  I practiced pouring a few lines out on the ground and then tried to evenly stripe the top two thirds of the canvas.  As you can see I wasn't very even, but the intent was still there.

I next went to the burned mark in my yard where I had recently cleaned up some pear branches I had cut down.  I picked up some of the sooty leftovers from ground and then carefully crumbled the branches into the  barest spots in the sand lines.  To add some balance to the bottom I crumbled more branches across the bottom of the painting in a broader line.

The theme for this exhibit is "trees".  From the moment I heard this my mind kept turning over the old saying "you can't see the forest for the trees".  You see a portion of this quote as well as another colloquialism.  I find the juxtaposition of the phrases interesting as well as the syllabic repetition.  I'm saying this on a completely process level too, but I find it very exciting that my poetry background got a chance to play a little here.  After writing these phrases and more (in charcoal) several times on a piece of notebook paper I covered them in the mornings old coffee grounds and let that sit and stain.  The phrases that were chosen were adhered to the painting with more white paint.

The black lines came next and I made them with my sumi ink.  Sumi is a type of ink made of soot and glue as far as I can tell.  Rather than use my brush I simply soaked the end of the sumi stick and drug it from the bits of peach tree up and over the top of the canvas.

The colored line came from boiling down blueberries and rasperries, I drained the concentrate after most of the water had boiled off and started experimenting with the color.  The stripe was made by dipping my fingers in the concentrate and dripping it down onto the canvas.  I trailed the drips up into a mostly straight line up and over the top of the canvas.  By dripping more juice on the bottom of the line it stayed a more reddish color, the thinner layers evaporated more quickly and left the bluer,reflective tones in the top.


I wanted to steer clear of the reasons I had behind my choices in this entry, but I promise nothing was done without a good deal of thought.  This is a process blog though, and the process for making this was a great deal of fun.  I added a couple other quick pieces I made with excess materials during this piece, I feel they're both telling of how much freedom I felt during this.  I have given myself free license to play.

-Jon O