Thursday, September 17, 2015


This is not my photograph. I have no idea where I got it but I love the LINE that the lightening strike is making. 

I am taking an online class, one I mentioned here a few days ago. I have always liked the childlike look of some of Lynn Whipple's word work. It isn't my style but it is refreshing and joyful to see.

As with any class I take I am trying to distill the information that she is giving and its application to her work and apply it to my style. This can often be difficult when you are watching a Youtube and the artist is demonstrating her words in connection with her physical movements.  I love Lynn's enthusiasm for words and then each letter of the word.  I love how she regards each letter as a possible painting in itself. 

I found that I can sit back and enjoy the video while drinking my morning coffee but then I need to go do something else.  I go to the gym, I work in the yard, I let her words swirl around in my brain for a bit.

Then I come back to the video with a notepad and pen and I just LISTEN to her discussion on the video.  I don't watch what she is doing. I am listening to the WHY she is doing what she is doing. Why does she want me to retrace the letters in the word with crayon? Why does she want me to paint around the word with small strokes? Why am I supposed to ask myself "What if you were writing this word while standing on one leg?" 

What is the purpose behind those questions. What is her intent.  I see these questions as ones that should direct me toward what I want to learn. I don't want to learn to copy her style. I don't want to mimic her design applications.
I do want to get to the essence of what it is I am drawn to in this class.

I like the light heartiness. I like the joyful, playful, smudgy and slightly sloppy look and why because it represents a looseness that I would like to have. 

My work will often bounce back and forth between Hundertwasser and his childlike style to detailed and layered abstract collage. When moved to tell a story I might use words within the painting but the words are there to impart information.  The painting or piece does NOT revolve around an individual word.

I'm thinking out loud here, folks.  I use line as a design element.  It is an ingredient within the recipe, the composition. She is suggesting that I view each letter, composed of lines as the main composition. Each letter has a relationship to the next, they come together to spell a word to give the viewer information.

So what kinds of lines would each letter have? Actual lines, implied lines, mental lines and are thick, thin, short or tall?

If the LINE is the star of the piece when what kind of values am I going to use, light, dark, high-contrast or low contrast.

Where is the visual weight in each letter?

What is the rhythm that should be used. It might very well depend on what the word is, static, alternating, smooth, uneven, dancing, well you get the idea.

Then there are colors, warm/cool or bright and dull.  What about contrast?

I've looked at value, color, size then how about texture, pattern and line direction.

Am I working in monochromatic, analogous, complementary or triadic color scheme?

Lynn's words that she uses for demonstration purposes are happy, joyful, cheerful words.  They all fit with the chosen style she is showing us. She can surround a letter with crayon, smudge it, trace it multiple times with a pencil and then paint it white completely around the letter or each letter because it FITS with the word. It's a happy negative space that she is filling in. And, her happy is sprinkled with flicks of pen ink, dots of paint, scratches of charcoal.

If I want to take anything away from this course I need to understand my relationship to the word that I might have chosen. I need to truly understand what the word means to me. 

I was talking about this class to Riley in the car, on the way to school yesterday morning.  I asked her what short words were her favorite ones.  She replied, "I like words that end in a silent e because they fool you." 

I love words. The right word can tell you so much. Each word comes with not only a definition but almost a series of images in our minds that will conjure up a meaning in our brain.

I suspect Lynn would tell me I am over thinking this and just relax and have fun, let go, just play.  And, I truly will, I soon as I decide HOW i like to play.  As soon as I see what kind of play will best help me loosen up, get lost in the play and not just repeat what she is doing and hope that makes me happy.

Oh dear, you look befuddled.  Too much information for you? Well, go PLAY, GO CREATE while I work this one out.


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