Art Experiment Ideas: Playing with Drawing and Clay
Screenprinting on Clay
Now that I regularly paint, I am suddenly interested in trying many other things. I had never done much around ceramics but was interested in seeing if I could somehow incorporate this medium into my painting. In June, I signed up for a workshop by one of my favorite ceramic artists Cathy Terepocki. It was about screenprinting decals on ceramics at the studio of Dear Human. I knew that I was a little ahead of myself considering that my last foray into clay was a coil pot I made in high school–well actually it looked more like an upside down clay sombero. Anyhow, I thought it was worth looking into and see what was possible to do with existing ceramics also.
I have a little more understanding on how much layering there is using decals and glazes. It was fun to see how Cathy directly transfers the images to clay. Exposing and using silkscreens felt less intimidating. I loved making decals to put on thrift store dishes and got to decorate my thrift store dish to my heart’s content. My first stab at using decals is pictured above. I think it will be a great catch-all dish for my drawing materials. Every time I learn something new, I want to switch gears and I have even more ideas of what I can try next time.
So before I go rush out to play with clay I thought I should really try to expose my own silkscreen and see if I could try it in my painting. I had procrastinated long enough ever since my friend Kerry showed me how he does his fabulous screen printing over a year ago! I made some simple images on acetate to expose on the screen. I then got a screen, washed it, air-dried it and followed the instructions to coat the photo emulsion on the screen. I was too impatient to try and find a proper bulb socket so I exposed the screen with my images under the midday sun. The screen appeared to turn out well but not sure I was able to wash all the emulsion out that well. As it turned out when it came time to pull a print onto my panel, nothing happened. I washed the screen out and even used very runny ink to see if it would make a difference it but I could see it was dry on the other side. The only thing I can think of is that I left the emulsion a few days too long and so it didn’t come out as easily as I had hoped. Sigh. Time to redo the screen and cross my fingers that will work next time!
Drawing was another thing I started experimenting more with. I came across a book about Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone. I didn’t have any expectations and treated each drawing purely as an exercise. Some of them didn’t work out but others really surprised me as final products. I used to find drawing a bit restraining but this book had detailed exercises that focused on loose gestural drawing. It was great to feel excited about drawing again.
Doing these drawing experiments helped open me up to trying new techniques in my paintings. For each exercise there are several variations that you can continue to build on. I found that I needed to find ways to just “play” and not worry about the outcome. I liked the immediacy of drawing using chalk, graphite and charcoal together. In a short period of time, I could already see some progression. His book is chock full of examples of artists’ work as well as student work illustrating the various concepts and drawing exercises. Many of the activities don’t take much time and I can see myself doing some of them to “warm up” before painting. I love that I drawing can feed into my painting and vice versa.