Abstract – After Simon Hantaï

Thanks to Sally (@ArtQuartet) for telling me about the work of Simon Hantaï. He folded his canvases before he painted them. “In 1960, Hantaï developed his technique of “pliage” (folding): the canvas is folded and scrunched, then doused with colour, and unfolded, leaving apparent blank sections of the canvas interrupted by vibrant splashes of colour.” (1)

This unconventional means of painting reminds me of the dripping techniques of Morris Louis, (a contemporary of Hantai, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning) who dripped and spilled paint on large canvases.

Previously, in my painting on crumpled paper, I always unfolded the paper before I painted it. Today I adapted Hantaï’s ‘pliage’ technique to watercolor paper.

My process began with a crumpled up ball of paper.

Hantai - Step 1

Unpainted Crumpled Paper

I painted around the edges on the first pass,

Hantai - Step 2

Crumpled Ball of Paper – 1st Painting Pass

and continued with different pigments after the first colors dried.

Hantai - Step 3

Crumpled Ball of Paper – 2nd Painting Pass

Finally, I opened the paper to its original conformation (except for the residual bumps from the crumpling, that I couldn’t flatten out).

Watercolor: Abstract - After Simon Hantai - Crumpled Paper Painting

Unfurled Ball of Paper
14″x11″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

The painted areas stained the outer regions of the crumpled paper; the white space, untouched by the pigments were inside.

I rubbed the high points of the paper with charcoal for the final configuration of this study:

Watercolor: Abstract - After Simon Hantai - Crumpled Paper Painting with Charcoal

Unfurled Painted Ball of Paper with Charcoal
14″x11″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

 

Grid Position No. 9

The ninth position in my grid is directly above grid #8, and is the last of the three portrait-oriented grid entries.  It is also the final painting on the perimeter of the original grid of 11 paintings.

Combined with the painting in grid #8, we see the continuation of the gentle curve of the red-gray-blue arc. The texture however is different, since each of the 11 paintings was crumpled individually.

I like the strange rainbow-like effect seen at the bottom of this study.

grid-9

Grid #9
5″x7″ 138# Mix Media Paper

grid-pos9

Position #9 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Circles and Lines

I blotted some transparent earth colors on a wet sheet of watercolor paper. I had previously folded and creased the paper in different places. I then drew several sets of partial circles. The arcs were actually scratches made by a divider, a compass-like device with two sharp points, instead of steel point and a pencil point. I made them visible by introducing ink into the minute crevices with a small brush.

Finally, I splotched some pools of Prussian blue and quinacridone nickel at intervals along the paper, and joined them. I enjoy the colors they make when combined.

Watercolor: Abstract - Circles and Lines on Folded Paper

Circles and Lines
14″x11″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

 

Grid Position No. 8

The eight position in my grid is to the left of grid #7 (at the 7 o’clock position) continuing  in the clockwise direction on the original grid of 11 paintings.

Out of the eleven individual paintings, #8 is one of three that is oriented in the portrait position (where the short dimension is the width and the long is the height). The paper in each of the grid positions were crumpled individually. Other than the orientation, another distinguishing feature of this painting is the intersecting lines made by charcoal  accenting the folds of the paper.

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Position #8

Grid #8
5″x7″ 138# Mix Media Paper

Highlighted #8 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Position #8 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Sister and Brother

Today’s experiment is another palimpsest, although the underlying art was just a light pencil drawing.  I was trying to draw my granddaughter and grandson. In previous studies, I creased the whole length and width of the paper. Today I didn’t crease the paper all the way across. I preserved the posture of brother and sister and used the lines as borders for different color patches. Finally, I used white charcoal for the wavy lines.

Watercolor: Abstract - Palimpsest, Sister and Brother

Sister and Brother
14″x11″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

 

Grid Position Number 7

The seventh position in my grid is directly to the left of grid #6, continuing to move in a clockwise direction on the original grid of 11 paintings.

The design on this grid entry stands on its own, but is also part of the whole. However, if this grid entry was a jigsaw-puzzle part of the bigger grid, I venture to say that one would have to put all the rest of the pieces together first before realizing where #7 fit.

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Position #7

Grid #7
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper

 

Highlighted #7 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Position #7 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Grid Position No. 6

The sixth position in my grid is directly below grid #5, continuing to move in a clockwise direction on the original grid of 11 paintings.

The design on this grid entry stands on its own, but the red curve is a continuation of the line begun in the previous sequential grid entry.

[Note: I didn’t think that grid #5 stood by itself. It is different than many others in this series in its asymmetry. It has been getting a lot of attention on another forum. I see more in it now when I look at it.]

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Position #6

Grid #6
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper

 

Highlighted #6 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Highlighted #6 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Can’t Forget the Past

I came across some unfinished drawings made by my granddaughter, in scouring my stash for paper.

I began my folding process and used some watercolor crayons to mark the creases. I didn’t have much of an idea about how to treat the original sketch, so I filled in the boxes, made by the intersecting lines, with low-key tones, with the exception of one of the cat’s eyes. I painted that red, to attract the viewer’s eye. I painted over the orange cat’s paw with the same red. I highlighted some of the pencil lines with charcoal.

The drawing peeked out from the bars separating us from the past, but the it still appeared to be new and fresh.

Watercolor: Abstract - Can't Escape the Past

Can’t Escape the Past
14″x11″ Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

Below are a couple of unadulterated sketches from that time:

Pencil Drawing: Cat and Dog 022017

The Past
14″x11″ Cardboard

Grid Position No. 5

The fifth position in my grid is directly below grid #4, also moving in a clockwise direction on the original grid of 11 paintings.

We have a somewhat different design in this module. It reminds me of a solar eruption. It is incomplete and unbalanced. This design doesn’t make a lot of sense unless paired with the next grid entry.

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Painting in Position 5

Grid #5
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper

grid-pos5

Position 5 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Abstract Pyramid 021817

I got the idea for the composition below from Paul Klee’s Quarry, 1945, in a round-about way. I had Klee in mind when I folded and scored the paper first, in columns, then in irregular rows. Then I thumbed through one of my books of Klee’s paintings and found Quarry.  I couldn’t quite get the perspective of Klee’s blocks of stones, so I changed the design to represent the component blocks of the great pyramids.  I drew lines in charcoal where fault lines of the paper folds did not exist, hoping to create the illusion of a pyramid from different angles.

Watercolor and Charcoal: Abstract Pyramid 021817

Pyramid Abstract 021817
14″x11″ Vellum Mix Media Paper

I like this one.

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