Sunday, 22 February 2009

Waterways Project Hits Pay Dirt

Lake Michigan/ Gary Indiana Winter 09
watercolor, ink and mud on paper

My endless love affair with media took me to the banks of the Des Plains River this week. Yes, Waterways is getting down and dirty. Playing with mud, mess and all, evokes childhood mud pies and I had absolutely no expectations. As a result, I was rewarded with a new direction for my project. The way the mud granulates and shifts when I tilt the paper, suggests geology to me. I'll be investigating the bed rock under our area waterways now. Thoughts of geologic time compared with the very tiny human structures, places things in their proper perspective. Helps me to remember humility in the face of natural forces.

Vivien has suggested stabilizing the mud by mixing it with PVA. I'm going to try this and perhaps a spray matte finish. Any other ideas?

If you'd like to see one other mud experiment, I have one posted on my blog heree.


Jeanette said...

Mud! How novel! I have heard of another painter using Missippi mud but can't remember the source. This adds a whole new dimension, quite textural, to the piece.

There could be a whole level of experimentation just on alternate painting mediums, couldn't there?

How to stabilize it? Good question. Some sort of glue like substance perhaps or it may disappear as it dries out. I'll be interested to see how it reacts.

Vivienne said...

I love your mud painting. You could look at Australian aboriginal art for ideas on earth as a medium... red and ochre soil is used a lot by artists like Rover Thomas.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laureline said...

Lindsay, your post and painting have excited me very much because they brought to mind an artist I haven't thought about in years: Richard Long! I saw one of his circle paintings made with mud from the River Avon at the Heyward Gallery in London, round about 1993, and was moved, deeply and inexpicably.
I would love to do a post on his work, but will have to consult with Katherine first re issues of copyright and that sort of thing.
I 've tried to post a link to his work in this comment, but am not allowed to do that. If you do a google image search on Richard Long mud paintings, you'll find many examples of his work.
There's lots to say and think about this artist and I thank you for rescuing him from the muddy deeps of my memory ;D.
I applaud the direction you've taken with this new work of yours!

Laureline said...

Whoops, I thought my first comment had not gone through properly, so I posted another one with my Blogger identity. Lindsay or Katherine, could you delete that first comment? Many thanks!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Wow - different! (I used to love mud pies!)

How about producing pictures which demonstrate how clays in different places have different colours?

Laureline said...

Following on Katherine's comment and question: there's a fascinating, beautifully illustrated book that addresses just that topic of clay color and related issues of colors of ochre, brick, and paint throughout the world. It's called 'Colors of the World: a Geography of Color,' by Jean-Philippe and Dominique Lenclos.

vivien said...

I have used sand in mine when I've been at the beach, deliberately incorporating it into oil paint - mud looks interesting - I think in the nicer weather I may have a play with this :>)

Lindsay said...

Wow, thanks very much for such helpful and supportive responses!
Jeanette, if you ever think of that painter using Mississippi mud please let me know. Sounds like a kindred spirit.

Vivien recommend PVA and that glue is used in book binding. I'll have to give that a try as well as the oil paint.

V, I'll look up those artist's too as well as Laura's suggestion of Richard Long. Using sand would also really allow for use of pastels on top of the oil paint too. Good idea!

Laura, you comment reminded me of just how important the issue of media is. How evocative it is and how much it can support the message of the artist.

Thanks again one and all and in the spirit of the academy awards..sniff sniff...I'd like to thank my kindergarden teacher.
I'm off to do some research now.

Armella Benton Studio said...

shHave used Utrecht's New Temp, Modeling Past and Extender mixed with sand, painted with pallet knife on my oil canvas with great success. You can model and push as you please, let it dry and apply paint over same.

Gesa said...

I saw a Richard Long exhibition in Edinburgh a while back and he's done fascinating experiments with mud from different rivers. With a friend we did a series of experiments with mud/sand and emulsion paint and trying for different flow, speed etc.

As for different coloured clay: Yes: that should be very interesting : almost like colour record.

I really like the one on your blog, too, Lindsay!

muddy red shoes said...

I love the mud painting on your blog, feels really deep. Paul Lewin, an artist from Beside the Wave has been using the clay from where he is working to draw with
I think adding a bit is a little bit of magic, giving a sense of place on another level, even if it is just water.

Lindsay said...

Gesa, I wonder if that emulsion paint is the same thing we would call resin here in the US? Thanks for the idea.

Thanks Sarah for the link and the compliment.

Jeanette said...

Lindsey, here is a link to one artist that uses Mississippi mud to paint with. Its not the artist that I was thinking of, but can't remember the guy's name.

It also explains how she bonds the mud to the painting.

Lindsay said...

Jeanette, many thanks for this link. If you were here, I'd give you a great big hug.This is really useful!

It is a really wonderful thing to have such excited, interested and watery friends here.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

I've always admired the ease with which you play around with different media Lindsay and here you go again...mud! It also reminds me of the bushmen(san) rock paintings, where they've used mud as a painting medium, bird droppings for white, charcoal for black rock and blood to colour their "paints"...some of their many materials. And how about egg white to bind the mud? Or even beeswax as you would do with restoring furniture. Great work.

Lindsay said...

I'm putting 2 links to Richard Long's work that Laura recommended. The mud paintings are amazing and yes, very evocative. Thanks so much Laura. He reminds me a bit of Andy Goldsworthy.

Ronell, I like your idea of both egg whites and furniture wax. Egg whites will really stick solidly! The wax will add an additional trnsparent-ness to the layers!!

Yesterday I used a thined layer of matte medium and that seems to work too.

Sarah, that artist you mentioned with the link above is amazing.

Lindsay said...

One more Richard Long link with a really nice review of his show in Scotland a few years back.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Another couple of Richard Long links for you

His website

and a Richard Long newsletter - which lists all the permanent exhibitions

Laureline said...

Seeing his work in person is an experience you won't forget---obviously, I haven't!
I thought of Goldsworthy, too, when I read of Long's walks through forests and his turning of stones and photographing the process.

Sydney Harper said...

I love how this painting turned out. We have a local artist, Jean Schulman who does batik paintings with different colors of local clay. This is the only web site I've found for her.