Spatter Painting No. 40…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like the sound of a spade hitting a buried rock.
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Spatter Painting No. 40. Acrylic paint and black ink on watercolour paper about 27″ x 19″

Yes, I did a series of these things last year, but after recently featuring one of them in this blog I had a sudden urge to do some more – you know what it’s like, every now and again you really need to get your hands dirty and chuck some brightly coloured sloppy paint around. I think everyone should do this once in a while – perhaps we could call it Uncle Dave’s Spatter Therapy?
The process is quite cathartic (is that the right word?). There are three separate stages in making these works:
1) Carefully preparing the paper; soaking it in water and stretching it on a drawing board using Gumstrip tape. You don’t have to do this of course, but I find that because the paint is water-based you tend to get a bit of unwanted cockling in your paper – Oh, cockling is so annoying, you can see it creeping in and you can do nothing to stop it. Doh!… Damn that cockling!…
2) Masking off parts of the (now dried) paper with bits of cardboard or placing shaped objects on it, say a cut-out plywood ellipse (as above). Mixing up some little pots of colour, adopting a carefree mindset and a flamboyant style (if possible) and then cheerfully slinging the contents of the pots at the waiting rather frightened paper.
3) After the masking has been removed and the paint left to dry (and the paper to cockle!) I like to spend quite a time going around all the little islands and fjords and spatters with a nice black ink drawing pen to delineate the forms. (Delineate the forms? Does that sound a bit pretentious?)
So you see, the process is a sort of emotion sandwich.
‘An emotion sandwich Dave?’
Yes, the bread, the careful preparation of the paper, the masking, and preparing the paint; then the enjoyable slapdash stuff in the middle, the lovely strong cheese, tomato and pickle, and then, after a wait of a day or two, more tedious bread, the careful, boring, time-consuming, listening to the radio, shall I break for a cup of tea? No, I’ll just do this squiggly bit round this pretty island of orange. Oh, and maybe I’ll just encircle these pointy droplets – the inking.
You see, the process a very nice mix of slow methodical stuff and quick outrageous aggressive silliness. It is quite addictive – you should give it a try dear reader…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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9 Responses to Spatter Painting No. 40…

  1. Oh I think I could manage one of these today – I do like the idea of masking off areas. I usually just spatter and see what happens…..spatter some more maybe. But I like the sharper edged look – especially at the top where the curves are overlapping the define line. It looks like the larger lemon “figure” on the left has a cigarette hanging from his lip and about to kiss the little bird (right hand side) that he caught. Oh my addled mind is adrift with possibilities!

    • Dave Whatt says:

      It’s great because the ‘masking’ nearly always leaks – and lets ‘nature’ creep in.
      Hang on Scribbler, let me see if I can see the cigarette smoking lemon figure…
      Oh, yes, there he is, but he seems to have the look of D. Trump about him – and the bird looks to me like a roast chicken…
      If you do use cardboard or plywood masks, it’s a good idea to weight them down with something – of course masking tape can be useful too – I often cut a couple of holes in the middle of the cardboard and stick the tape over the hole and down onto the paper through the hole…

  2. ktz2 says:

    the frightened paper. . . hahahaha

  3. ktz2 says:

    Really, I don’t hear voices of inanimate objects.. no, really….

  4. bobcomings says:

    Your “splat” process is exactly what I do when I am “announcing the flaws.” I first celebrated or announced flaws consciously in 1968 and have done a lot of it every so often ever since. When every little speck, splatter or flaw is outlined (announced), the surface becomes a portal to what I call “flaw space” and it completely captivates me. Thanks for explaining your process. BTW I am also very involved with decalcomania and have been since 1976. I first encountered it through the work of Max Ernst and then started my own investigations. A related technique that I call “pressage” involves using homemade rubber stamps via polymer clay. Doing lots of stamping on paper, then treating the resulting surface as a “hallucination field” much as when responding to decalcomania. Long live decalcomania and all related art forms!

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