Tag: Quick Study

Gesture Drawing: Figure 1

Figure-1 (c)1983, by Terre Britton

Figure-1 (c)1983, Conté on paper.

In our college life-drawing class we’d begin with quick gestures before getting in to the 30 or 60 minute poses. This is one of those gestures.

It’s also a drawing that has seen a few miles–wrinkles retained for sake of character.


Begone Dull Care

Begone Dull Care

“Begone Dull Care” (c)2012 – Acrylic on Canvas Board, 12″ x 9″

This is a quick study inspired by my memory of this short film by Norman McLaren–the NFB-renowned Canadian (yeah!) animator and film director–that I saw in my UVic film studies class.

You might remember McLaren best for his exquisite, fluent Muybridge-like “Pas de deux,” but I hope you enjoy this snappy little video of animated drawings on film. It’s an abstract visual description of jazz–at its finest–by the  legendary Oscar Peterson.

Begone Dull Care by Evelyn Lambart & by Norman McLaren, National Film Board of Canada

Quick Study: Ugly Apple

"Solo No.3: Ugly Apple" (c)2012 - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas, 4" x 4"

“Solo No.4: Ugly Apple” (c)2012 – Acrylic on Stretched Canvas, 4″ x 4″

Solo Series, No.4

This image is part of my Quick Study Series and part of my Quick Study Challenge.


"Solo No.3: Ugly Apple" (c)2012 – B&W Digital (photoshop)

“Solo No.4: Ugly Apple” (c)2012 – B&W Digital (photoshop)


“Ghost” (c)2012, Acrylic on Canvas, 12″ x 9″

“Ghost” (c)2012, Acrylic on Canvas, 12″ x 9″

Groans emanate from my studio when foreign particulate–dust, cat hair(!), and such–gets in my brush or on my canvas. Depending on how visually fresh or immediate the stroke is dictates the tone of the groan. The higher the impact of retrieval–a greater likelihood of ruining something wonderful–the lower the pitch.

This piece, however, is one of those devil-may-care  Quick Study Challenges, and it was painted with a clean but tattered paper towel to deliberately create a crumby-canvas texture. As Wendy in my previous post “Identity” commented, it’s liberating to try something new. I’ve actually been painting with paper towels for years, in particular circumstances but not very often.

No groans for the Ghost from me.

Pickled Ginger

Follow me on Twitter @TerreBritton

"Pickled Ginger" (c)2012 Acrylic on Canvas

“Pickled Ginger” (c)2012 Acrylic on Canvas, 20″ x 24″

Although I’ve named these paintings “Faux-Rothko . . .,” these actually are not Rothko imitations. I’ve obviously used a formal resemblance, but that’s where it ends.

Mark Rothko was an abstract artist whose signature work was his body of Color Field painting from the late 40s onwards. Many of these works consist of hundreds of thin, translucent layers of pigment, brilliant color intensities and varied hues. The visual mystery in his work is amplified by his use of the “turpentine burn.” This is a technique where pigment is removed or blurred along the edge of two adjoining colors by scrubbing the canvas with a solvent-soaked rag. The resulting ambiguity of boundaries causes the fields of colors to “float.” Combine these visual undulations with the monumental size of the canvases and you can begin to understand why the art has stirred the meditative side of viewers for decades—his chapel in Texas being a most sacred example.

Considering his work, it’s not a surprise that Rothko was deeply concerned with the spiritual emptiness of man and is quoted, saying: “The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them.”

He is very much the complex root system reflecting the magnificent tree you see above-ground. Rothko is a fascinating artist, and man, and I look forward to writing about him in-depth in the future.

But for now, let me restate that my images are not true Rothko imitations. There is no deep philosophy, extensive methodology or deliberate techniques behind them. They are also tiny, relative to his. Rather, think of them as “palette cleansers” that function like the Japanese palate cleanser: pickled ginger. They are merely exercises in minimalism (relative to my usual work) and restraint (see my comment on restraint here) between working on my real canvases. But I had much fun with them and plan on exploring his techniques down the road.

I did use a modified turpentine burn in “No.4” and “Light” consisting of rubbing the acrylic pigments with a sea sponge.

Also, in this online image of “Light” the contrast is so faint and the color differentiations so difficult to see that I created an enhanced version by throwing on a digital color-burn gradient to reveal their existence.

The images appear in the order I painted them.



Faux Rothko No.1

“Faux Rothko No.1” (c)2012, 11″ x 14″

Faux Rothko No.2

“Faux Rothko No.2” (c)2012, 11″ x 14″

Faux Rothko No.3

“Faux Rothko No.3” (c)2012, 11″ x 14″

Faux Rothko No.4

“Faux Rothko No.4” (c)2012, 11″ x 14″

Faux Rothko Light

“Faux Rothko Light” (c)2013, 16″ x 19 3/4″

Faux Rothko Light (Enhanced)

“Faux Rothko Light” (Enhanced) (c)2013, 16″ x 19 3/4″

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