As an artist, I am typically about one inch from most paintings and sculptures in a museum, deconstructing the brush work and surface texture. The above detail of a De Kooning painting is a prime example of why I stand so close. The tactile effect is heaven to me, I can almost feel the brush moving across the canvas.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have visited the city of Baltimore. It was cold, real cold, but full of fine friends, food, and culture. We visited the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Museum. We also had time to take in a trip to Anthropologie (my favorite) and the Blick Art Supply.
Rothenburg’s work almost looked, up close, like it had sand added into the paint. I bet the guard was a bit nervous with my nose almost meeting the surface. I know better than to run my hands (or nose) over original art, but I sure wanted to when that guard wasn’t looking!
I experienced texture at my feet in Baltimore while walking across salt and ice encrusted sidewalks. I made my friends promise that we’d only be outside as long as it took to get from the car to where we were headed. After all, I do not own a coat.
Texture, I got to thinking about it and what draws us all to this very tactile experience. More of than than not when I present my art to school children, they just want to run their fingers across it. Even adults want to experience my work a sense of touch. What is it about the texture of collage and other mediums that is so appealing?
I first experienced the sculpture of Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (above) at the Tate Museum in London, UK as a study abroad student in 1988. For me, Giacometti’s work was love at first sight. Silhouettes of his elongated, pencil thin figures showed up in some of my early pastel paintings. I loved the texture of the surface of these extra thin, cold metal figures more than anything. You can imagine how thrilled I was to turn the gallery corner and see “Man Pointing” at the BMA.
What I love about this Matisse (and there were MANY of them in the BMA collection) is the presence of the artist’s pencil drawing. The painting has a relatively smooth texture, but the patterns and pencil lines add much visual texture upon examination, both up close and from afar. Matisse loved combining mismatched and uncommon patterns to provide color and texture in his work.
This is how I dress. Just saying’.
I was up close and personal with some Andy Warhol Skull paintings from 1976 for quite some time, trying to figure out his combination of synthetic polymer paint and silk screening. The paint was laid on so thick, and then the silk screening on top, multiple layers of glorious texture, you could even see the texture of the canvas substrate when you got this close. Fantastic. Thank you fancy iPhone photographer.
After our tour of the BMA we enjoyed lunch at Gertrude’s Cafe inside the museum. When Jessica got her cup of soup, I was taken with the texture of both the chopped basil on top and the doily sitting beneath the cup. What a stunning and vibrant visual. After I snapped my photo, Jess was happy to hand over the clean doily. For collage, of course.
In the mean time, I was drawing on the table with crayons, only to find a fun texture being infused into the art from the metal table below. It was like the texture rubbings I teach in my Paper Paintings Collage Workshop! We make crayon texture rubbings of any surface that appeals, and then we wash them over with fluid acrylics. The paint is resisted off the wax from the crayon, only taking to the white paper and adding to the texture of the crayon pattern. One of many techniques for creating your own hand painted collage paper.
I truly enjoyed venturing out of my temperature comfort zone in Baltimore this passed weekend. It’s not often that I travel purely for pleasure, and that’s exactly what it was!
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
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Meet Me in Italy!