13 year old, mixed media
The above student was working on a self portrait in acrylic in the high school class and was at that point of frustration every artist feels now and again where you just have to put it away and go back to it at a later date.
In this case, that might be six months later, but the work is not nearly as disastrous as she believes it is and given enough time away from the painting, I believe she will see that herself and finish it.
But for now, I was either going to find my paintbrushes broken in half or give her a new canvas to start something completely different.
I had a half finished painting that I was working on and she has always been fascinated with the dripping paint effect on the canvas. She asked if I would show her how to do that and so that is how this piece started.
After choosing a color palette, she began blocking in a background and spritzing the canvas with water and letting the paint drip as it may. She then decided to paint a crow, but she wanted to paint it white.
I wasn't quite following the vision, but OK. Her work, her vision, her joy. She then spritzed it a bit more and created this really interesting result. I then gave her some stencils to choose from, some modeling paste which she mixed with black and she added it to the painting. Class finished and she was quite pleased with how the work was coming together. I was thrilled with the piece and quite excited for her also.
I figured the following week she would come back, maybe add some charcoal or pastel and call the work good. However that is not what happened.
She had been on Pinterest and had seen some pins with melted crayon. She asked me if I had seen this too and I told her that yes, I had seen some different things done with dripping crayons but in my head, I was thinking, "oh no. please don't want to do dripping crayon"
But she brought some old crayons she had at her house, all within the color palette she had already set, and asked if I would show her how to do it in the painting.
Well since I hate most of the work I have seen on Pinterest with dripping crayon and loved her artwork, I started trying to come to terms with how she could add this without it looking like a lot of that hokey stuff I had seen online.
I gave her a hot air dryer and set her up on an easel and she began to drip. Thankfully she also didn't like the original effect but started manipulating and experimenting with the technique on her own that ended up being quite beautiful.
As the crayon dripped and melted, she would add heat where she thought it was too thick or "drippy" and wipe it away with a paper towel. This left a transparent residue on the canvas that is quite stunning. I got quite excited at what she was discovering and how she was finishing the piece.
In the end, I think this is a beautiful artwork. I think it is one of her best to date. I love the emotion it conveys. The crow would not of been near as impactful in black, the white adds such a ethereal feeling to the piece. From beginning to end, this artist made great choices. She was so happy when she finished and it was so obvious how much she loved this work.
It is a completely different style for her. I was quite proud that she was able to let go and just see where the process took her, instead of having an end result in mind at the start.
Completely unplanned and utterly beautiful.