“Painted sounds”

This series of painted panels are in their second or third reincarnation by now. They began as monoprints on primed plywood, put through a printing press with crumpled sheets of inked plastic–which marks up the surface and embosses the texture in an interesting way, and also wards off blank canvas anxiety! I like printing on wood, for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. If the piece works right away, you can just glue strips of furring along the back edges, and call it framed. If it doesn’t quite work, you can paint over it loosely with gesso, and let that first layer serve as a suggestive underpainting.  And if the next round isn’t really conclusive, you can always sand the surface down part way and repaint it, or  weather and distress it, to see what new ideas present themselves. Plywood panels don’t take up much storage space, or get too wrinkly, if you need to put them aside for a while….

When I recently rediscovered these pieces hibernating on a high shelf, they reminded me of the music I had been listening to in my studio while working on them. I thought that might be an interesting direction to pursue; but they seemed to need more detail. So I tried gluing on the tiniest slivers of patterned papers to reinforce the movement–using bits of papers collected over the years, as well as evocative images from old manuscripts and documents– scanned, altered, and printed. This is an approach I haven’t tried before, and one I look forward to experimenting with. I found that gluing the papers with matt medium works well, keeping the shininess under control, and–if applied judiciously–the printing inks from running. I found it easier cutting with nail scissors than Xacto blades (however I think I feel a tearing period coming on!…)  It will probably take a while to know which of these are actually finished, but here is where they stand today. 

(Note to Mom! try clicking on “view all images”…)






5 Responses to ““Painted sounds””

  1. I love what happens when you make art using the happy accident method. Makes me want to go and start gluing and painting. Glad to see you are back. Karol

  2. These are great. I don’t know what you are using but I love the surfaces. xx

  3. For me, teaching has been my canvas, tray, knitting, scraps of paper. It demands focus, experience, knowledge, work, empathy, and spontaneity. Planning and preparation are crucial but must be applied lightly, flexibly. Combining different pieces of information and skills in new ways is both fun and constructive. There are a lot of days that are good, a few that are totally frustrating, and, once in awhile, magic happens.
    Given all that, I am struggling with retirement. My hope is to work on special projects with schools – ones that emphasize applying and integrating the bits and pieces of learning that go on in the name of education. I have a few projects in the works and a few more have been proposed. I most hoping to do puppet shows of constellation myths and cut paper murals of Native American cultures. Have you seen the cut-paper illustrations of David Wisniewski? I’d love to hear your response to them.

  4. Betsy Lahaussois Says:

    Oh, your lucky students!–who doesn’t remember with love and gratitude the few inspired teachers who have shaped our lives? Your profession is the most vital, and you were surely the brightest star in the classroom as well as the teachers’ lounge! I look forward to seeing what interesting new trails you blaze during your retirement.

    I wonder if you can suggest a good link for David Wisniewski’s illustrations? I am finding lots of bio, but it’s the images we need!

  5. Betsy Lahaussois Says:

    I apologize for the uninvited “Superpoke pet” advertising that has suddenly appeared on this post…please note a barely visible X in the top right corner, to make it go away!

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