Explore, Learn & Play!

by Lisa Larrabee

One of my favorite things to do is use my teaching demos for artistic experimentation. In this example, I started with a painting demo that I created in one of my Power of Color classes that used a limited color pallet. I brought the demo into my Creative Pathways class and used it to further demonstrate additional painting techniques.

In my original demonstration, I added colors based on the values of my limited palette, not the color of the subject. The demo was quick and served its purpose, but it became more fun when I made a big mess over it! The second image shows how I used white oil paint with cold wax medium applied with a brayer roller to create a semi-opaque haze. I demonstrated using a variety of tools to create marks and scribbles into the surface (as well as how to smooth out marks you don't like). There was no plan or intention beyond experimenting with the surface texture.

I dipped a large brush into OMS (odorless mineral spirits) and painted a bold "clear" stroke across the top of the head.  The brush was loaded so there were many drips.  I also added additional spatters of OMS. These marks were not initially visible; they just look wet. The OMS dissolves some of the binder in the cold wax medium.  After a few moments, I used a large silicone scraper and drug it across the painting from top to bottom.  All of the cold wax and pigment that had been affected by the OMS squeegeed right off.

Although I did not have a clear plan (and the painting served different purposes for demonstration) I was intentional about not revealing the mouth with the application of OMS.  I felt that it would be poignant to visually silence her.  The effect also has the look of condensation wiped away, creating a sense of vulnerability like being in a shower behind a glass door.  

Through much of my art education and studio experience, I created artwork with a thoughtful plan that was developed before painting began.  Experimenting has allowed me to open up my process to becoming more responsive in my work and I am learning to trust myself in that process.  Even a technique demo on top of a previous demo has the potential to communicate something much greater.  It is an exciting lesson to learn!

~ Lisa