Studio Diary: 18/10


Extracts from the blue studio notebook 2017


Pieces intend to explore & further investigate the process and application of paint of Pollock’s late pour techniques.

After staining a sheet of rice paper with an ochre / burnt sienna wash I allowed it to dry before applying the dropped black ribbons of the pour and turkey baster technique.

Having returned to the piece it was clear the rice paper i have is too absorbent, and the pigment simply bleeds and runs into the fibre of the paper – the piece subsequently becomes soft with no areas of sharp pigment or mark to cling to to produce any depth or layering of any great extent.

To address this i rolled out a stretch of Fabriano and stained the paper in the same manor as before. Instead of immediately applying the turkey baster technique of dripping the paint as before, i would leave this until later and attempted instead to build up layers of paper and transparency to the piece. 

I stained rice paper with a pigment wash of varying colour and tone and tore pieces away to then apply and paste onto the backing Fabriano paper.

I then added to this, torn piece of Fabriano and further coloured paper to add a variation and greater depth of tone to the pieces. By adding various colours and types of paper i intend to create a patchwork of collage to the support, that when the black paint was applied through the pour technique it would react in different ways with the varying types of paper (bleeding, seeping, pooling) creating different effects.


On return to the studio i observed that with the pieces now dry they had lost much of their vibrancy and subtle variation in tone and as a result had become rather flat. I proceeded to attempt to add more pigment and contrast of tone to the pieces, trying to produce areas of sharper and softer focus and tone.

Along with their loss of vibrancy now dry, the pieces had also lost much of the interest and attraction that had earlier drawn me to them. I wanted to add more ‘attitude’ and ‘substance’ to the pieces.

I did this by applying pigment of strong colours (crimson, and cobalt blue) directly onto the surface before then adding a little water and employing a roller to shift the pigment around. Due to the water i was able to produce further veils to the pieces and layers of tone whilst emphasising and enforcing edges and textures of the underlying areas of paper, creating further areas of interest and sharper attention.

Whilst the pieces where drying i then added black atop employing the turkey baster technique. Immediately certain areas began to bleed whilst others pooled.

I will reflect further on my next visit.

On closer inspection once again of Pollock’s ‘Untitled 1951’ on Japanese Mulbery paper, My mind was drawn to a pack of sugar paper textured brown drawing paper i had acquired a number of years earlier. I proceeded to stretch the sheet out onto the bench and applied Pollock’s lesser known pour technique once more.

The brown texture of the paper acts as a real complimentary tone for the deep black of the flow enhanced acrylic. On first reflection I think this simpler, refined use of pure mark and technique is far more successful, and eloquently delivered over the alternative layered pieces i have been working on also.

Where do these pieces fit in once again to the wider narrative of my practice and the academic concerns and requirements of the PhD? …


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