Last week I talked about how tools matter.
Some of my favorite tools are the ones I make myself. I’m not so fond of predictable patterns and precision marks. I lean more towards the randomness of unplanned marks that elicit a gasp. An OMG. Now what. Those are the two words that make me sweat and laugh at the same time. It puts me into the delight of fear. An opening for magic. A daring.
Little Blue Door on the left was painted with small brushes and gouged with a plaster tool from the hardware store.
On the right is a photo of an assortment of tools I use all the time. Three scrape, one scores and my favorite of all The Dental Pick. AKA hair removal tool.
My hairs, bristle hairs and even Lila’s hair. All my paintings come with at least one hair. No extra charge.
Down below is Big Red created with the Big Two Handled Brush (BTHB). A beautiful thing happens when this brush is loaded with wax; it skims across the surface unloading an expanding flood of color. A two handed backhand down the line. The crowd goes wild! Not sure how I got the idea of joining brushes but it worked. In turn, I needed to find a container a bit larger than the BTHB that I can heat. Hello Amazon. Think turkey roasters, large skillets, huge pancake griddles and roasting pans.
These are the big strokes, the fully body gestural movements that continue off the panel.
Big Red is 48″ x 24″ and as the painting developed it became human like in composition and weight. Notice how the large mass of blue center falls just about where my torso would be if I were standing next to it. Why could this not be called a figurative painting?
So what’s the wood thing with the nails? Right. There is a handle on the other side. I found this wood plaster tool in Brazil. I saw it in the hardware store while buying possibly a toilet seat. Wasn’t quite sure what I could do with it but it had huge potential and it fit in my carry on. Because it had a handle I realized it could contribute to the large gestural marks I was trying to achieve. It took a few tries to figure out which way to put the nails but in short time I made a companion to the BTHB! If you zoom in on Big Red you might be able to see some deep cuts and gouges. It’s the perfect tool when I want deep, visceral, of the guts marks.
There are no do overs with these big tools. No way to hide. They force you out of your comfort zone and to turn an error into a win, however gradually.