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Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Artist must have "True Grit" and Know how to Use It!


My husband and I were searching for a movie on Xfinity; a cheap vintage one.  We settled for a 1969 John Wayne movie “True Grit” because my husband had never seen it. We were delighted and pleased with our choice. Good old fashioned values, humor, and the simplicity and perfection of John Wayne. What more could you want?

Curious afterward about the meaning of “grit” I discovered that it referred to courage, resolve, and strength of character; a perfect description of the main character who was determined to do something important for her family and for her dead father. Her quest was difficult and unpleasant, but she met each obstacle unafraid and with true grit.

That word grit stuck in my craw for days afterward. Another definition was “loose particles of sand, stone, salt, etc.” Things I had already used in some of my paintings along with paste and fiber. My purpose was to add texture and interest.

In my mixed-media painting “Broken” I used a fibrous paste to create the texture of a cement wall, and added shapes and symbols popular in the Sixties to look like graffiti. In addition I dipped a torn newspaper article of recent disaster into liquid paste and applied it in appropriate places. 

My drawing of mother and child was left untouched until acrylic color had been added over the background and then wiped off to reveal the symbols. The figures were then painted in oil.










“Moonlight Magic” began as an experiment in texture and various colors that were mixed with fibrous paste. When it was dry I began applying various shades of blue, wiping off raised parts with a cloth to allow some of the under painting to show through. 

I had no idea what the finished canvas would look like, but I kept moving and adding paint until I had the look I wanted. Raised areas defined the final color and design.


“Auburn Nights” (shown in my last blog) was the re-purposing of an old oil canvas I was dissatisfied with and had put aside. 

Wanting to engage in frugality and needing a rough surface to define the windy unpredictability of fall weather, I painted over the canvas in reds and browns. This is a simple canvas and didn’t take long to finish. 

I did most of this painting free-hand with brush and paint. I decided that if it wasn’t perfect, I would not go back over it, but let the canvas speak for itself. I think the texture beneath the surface added to the feeling I was trying to create.

“Queen of Diamonds” is a statement in textures, shapes, and angles mixed with a bit of realism. I knew from the first that I wanted a Harlequin theme to highlight and accent the figure as center of interest. Whether I was successful or not remains in the eyes of the beholder.








A Studio Silver Creek artist shows you step by step how to create a textured background using paste and shapes: 


Watching Michael Lang paint is a religious experience. When he starts slapping on simple inexpensive acrylics you’re never sure what it’s going to look like, but he does. His technique is hypnotizing. Using a combination of brushes, cloths, fingers, a squeeze bottle of white paint and a spray bottle of water, he dips and dabs until his masterpiece is finished.