The Ruthies – Layered Abstracts

Posted by laura on Apr 12 2010 | Fun, Making, Ruth Days

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted images from our Friday Ruth days. We’re still going strong and the girls are doing some fantastic work, so I thought I’d dig out some photos from weeks past and show what we’ve been playing around with here. These photos are from one of my favorite days – we were doing layered abstracts.

We started out by taking a look at some contemporary artists who incorporated different materials, images, text, you name it, into their work, and we talked a little bit about the idea of layering meaning into the work as well as color and texture. I’d pulled out tissue paper, paint, crayons, markers and everyone dove in.

Some were focused on color, and we talked about the technique of stepping away from your work to see how it reads from a distance.

Others loved playing with dimension. They’re ready to try anything.

I think this piece, though, was not only one of the best outcomes of the day, it remains one of my favorite experiences working alongside this group. This painter started out with multicolored circles drawn in crayon all over the paper. For a while, she really liked where it was heading. Then, all of a sudden she thought she’d gone too far and that it was awful. She wanted to throw it away.

At that point I said, well, what have you got to lose? Push it farther. When she asked me how, I suggested that she just dive in with some paint, but I thought she should try acrylics because then she could have some fun with texture. Layer after layer of paint went on, and at every stage, she said she thought it was awful and I encouraged her to really wreck it by going just one step further.

She came back to crayons, sometimes dipping them in paint and using them like pens, other times digging into the paint and to carve out a poem and more circles that played off the ones that had been there at the beginning – it was just so cool. The end of the afternoon found us all around the computer again, looking at Jasper Johns’ work. An absolutely terrific day.

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