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


8 thoughts on “Abstract – After Simon Hantaï

  1. Pingback: Creativity from a crumpled state – Your Guided Journal

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