"Don't Google Frottage!" he said.

If you do, you'll be in for a French rubbing surprise of sorts....erm....but the assignment is about rubbing one thing on top of another though, so how do I find out more about it without getting bombarded with naughty things? Type in FROTTAGE for ART....Oh. Ok. I'll save the other meaning for a rainy day ;)

So remember when you would take a piece of paper and place it on top of a textured surface, like tree bark or coins perhaps, and you'd use the side of a pencil and rub over top of the paper to slowly reveal the image beneath? There is a place at Animal Kingdom in Orlando Flordia where we did this as well, but had no idea it had such an elegant name. It was called Frottage all along, and this week's assignment in the Mixed Media course I'm taking at Emily Carr University is: Frottage, Grattage, and Décalcomanie. It's not all new to me, but knowing the proper names for art methods makes what I've been doing all along in my paintings sound extraordinarily FANCY.

Usually I like to work fairly large on canvas or wood panels, but for this assignment I chose 5 mini canvases that have been kicking around in boxes for many years. I'll confess it was just so that I can get on the bus comfortably without bumping in to every single person with a giant plastic bag full of larger canvases. I don't drive...yet...(I know, I know I am in my 40's and it's embarrassing) and so I must live with the fact I have to go across town to get to school on overcrowded public transportation with a huge pack on my back, and supply bags in both hands, add a coffee to go, a few things picked up for dinner from Granville Island Public Market before class, a bottle of wine balanced on my head for post class painting,  and you have a vision of my ensemble for Tuesday nights.

Wee canvases should be easier and faster to finish than one giant one, but I've found out that's a lie I told myself. It was the Gollum in my whispering, "but the bus will be easier, you can buy more wine and art supplies my precious, take the mini-canvases". Simmer down goblin voice! I've started the project though so now you can witness the struggle with many small surfaces.

Step 1:

(By the way I only have a vague idea of what I am doing with this project and the steps are experimental)

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired by my true home: The Alberta countryside.  'Landscape' is the theme. I started 5 canvases that I'd like to turn in to prairie pieces, using a combination of the methods mentioned.


I've had this old Casper comic from 1965 kicking about for many years (no I'm not that old yet, but I had a box of old things from relatives passed on, and garage sales) and it made its second debut cut to bits and gelled down as a base layer for 6 canvases. I love the old adverts in comics that promise all sorts of riduculous things to kids. Today's kids would see right through them. There are also other sepia toned scrap materials and metal bits and bobs on there. I'm hoping this will become useful in the Grattage method, when I scratch back to this layer later after paint application. Fun! Fun!

Step 2:

Applying the frottage samples (Rubbings, I made in colored conte, from around the studio). Painting the skies a mint green that's the color of the moment for me. Experimenting with decalcomanie in areas. (pressing various objects in to tacky or slightly wet paint). In this stage I am building layers to be able to sand and scratch through, as well as working loosely with the compositions in the old photos I am using for inspiration.

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

Step 3:

Starting to try the Grattage (Scratching or sanding back the top layer to reveal a layer underneath)

This photo of an elderly woman holding a bird cage with no bird in it is from the 1920's. It had a story in it that I find interesting, and also the foliage around her is so dense and prickly that it seemed like the perfect setting to try out some of the methods we are exploring in class. I think I will add her, and also have her setting a bird free from the cage. An action that is heartbreaking for the woman but also an act of utter selflessness because the bird has been a close companion but she knows in her mind that it's cruel to keep the bird caged. It's an act of love.

 

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

Step 4:

The old lady painting was rubbish in the end I almost lost sleep over the fact that I had hastily posted it, so I painted over her in one giant satisfying stoke of yellow, and created a Bird of Paradise in her place. Now I actually like this little piece.

 

Afterwards I struggled over a more representational piece that I worked from an old photo I had of a man on a tractor in Alberta. It was such a challenge working small like this, and I found my little brushes kept disappointing me because of the spay and stray hairs that would create a mark that I didn't want. I'm not used to trying to copy light and shadow anymore, and so looking from photo to canvas over and over gave me a headache, and I was longing to get back to creating spontaneously and abstract. I did find this whole project I set for myself highly challenging and somewhat satisfying in the end. Here is another piece from the 5 I started:

 

Garage Masterpiece Collaboration

Last summer, from the heart of my garage in Edmonton Alberta Canada, a colossal project was initiated between myself and multi-talented friend Adriano Aschenbrenner. We had the outrageous idea to paint a 32 foot x 5.5 foot canvas under the summer sun, with fast drying acrylics, good tunes, and a small gathering of neighbors as cheerleaders. No small undertaking, but exciting nonetheless!  We chose to collaborate by painting at the same time which was a new and challenging concept to me on it's own, as I normally prefer to work alone. However, it's always good to challenge ourselves and keep open-minded to new opportunities, right? This felt like the RIGHT time to jump right in brush first and experience something fresh and maybe even exhilarating.

 

The sheer size of the surface we were creating upon also posed some interesting questions. To give you an idea, 32 feet is the length of a large cross-country moving truck, and just under my hieght in width if I lie down next to it. However I prefered to simplify the daunting length by thinking of it as a science fact: On Earth, a free-falling object accelerates at 32 feet per second. So, I thought, if I were to throw down my paint quickly enough this could be merely 1 seconds worth of work. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Not so scary anymore.

Before pouring paint to canvas, Adriano and I met up a couple of times for coffee and free-thought discussions about the idea we were going to tackle, with some timed concept drawing sessions tacked on to our early stage development as well. I prefer to work in the moment, but when working with a canvas of this size and with a new partner, and a thousand dollars worth of paint, I think the little bit of pre-planning connection and concept discussion did us a favor. Plus concept design is a lot of fun on it's own.

 

We started our painting adventures one sunny noon-hour with yerba-mate, a tango playlist, buckets of paint, and hopes of visionary grandeur. I was buzzing with over-stimulation like a 5 year old at Disneyland for the first time. As soon as we mixed the first colors on a makeshift palette, I immediately forgot all the concept and pre-painting discussions shared between my painting partner and I, and my mind began swirling and vibrating with a multitude of color and forms all competing to be the initial contestant on the art project of the year: The Garage Masterpiece. I had to calm myself down a bit and give the selfish side to my brain a talking to. Afterall, this was about sharing, fun, and collaboration, not to satisfy my greedy solo creative needs, haha!

Next step: As we combined efforts our individual work and ideas began to overlap. We didn't judge what the other was creating or lend much advice. Instead it was more interesting to see what the other would do in the moment. We chose to stay open minded with color, media and brush strokes, that were rendered under the influence of a hot sun, and music that invited dance steps to go along with color application, and a light conversation about worldly things. We chose to work partially in the garage, and also with our art project rolling out and down the driveway as well, which lured the neighbors in to watch and ask questions. After several sessions the garage masterpiece has evolved in to something highly interesting and although not completed is already considered a success and achievement to me. It was (and is) a highly exciting and ambitious project we took on and I regret nothing. I discovered that I really get SATISFACTION from working with the right partner.

 

My hope was that our final creation would become cohesive, and at the very least our styles would stand up or even relax in to a parallel partnership that would play off of each other. With confidence I can say that was attained. Thank you for your time, patience and inspired creativity on this project Adriano. I am a better artist because of it.