Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Museum Visit Project: Howard Hodgkin's Brushstrokes

Here is a great project that will show you how to do paintings using brushstrokes. 

Did you know that you can create shapes with your brush?. See how the artist Howard Hodgkin creates shapes with his brushes.

Tape down a piece of paper. Dip your brush in some paint. Wipe it on the side of the jar. Press it on your paper. Then splash, slap, splash, slap. 

Just look at these lush prints of Howard Hodgkin, the contemporary British painter.  I discovered them online at  the Metropolitan Museum of Art's fabulous web site. (Imagine being able to visit an exhibition online.) The original prints were on view in the Print Collection galleries.

I like the "marks" Hodgkin makes using a thick brush and short stubby strokes. His brushstrokes often run right onto the frames. His paintings sometimes look like brightly-colored landscapes; sometimes pure abstract bursts of color. His paintings seem naïve, but they are actually highly sophisticated, strong statements of simple ("minimalist") ideas. After all, they are "purely" brushstrokes.

A terrific Hodgkin-inspired painting project that explores the shapes brushes make.
Buy some brushes in different sizes and shapes at the hardware store. Buy two 2 inch wide foam brushes. Buy two 1 inch bristle(?) paint brushes. Buy some large sheets of colored construction paper at the art supply store.

Tape down a sheet of construction paper. Pour some tempera paint into a saucer. Dip the front edge of your 2" foam brush in the paint. Drag it across part of the paper. Dip it again. Take a little more paint this time. Try painting a curve. Try painting small dashes. Do the same thing with your bristle brushes. Tape your painting to the wall and let it dry. Wash your brushes and dry them.

Tape down a new paper. Pour another color into a saucer. Dip the tip of your 1" brush in the paint. Drag it across part of the paper. Dip it again and try painting curves and circles. See what your brush will do. Let your painting dry. Add another color. When your painting is dry, you can add another color. You can do this with up to four colors. Remember to let each color dry before you go on to the next one. Make sure you wash and dry your brushes between colors.

You can put your artwork in pre-cut white mats and mount them on the wall. (You'll find them at the art store.) Or you can mount your paintings directly on the wall. Use the picture-hanging goop. Invite your friends and family into your "studio" to see your new art work. Arrange a playdate with a friend and do some Hodgkin-inspired paintings.

A link to the Howard Hodgkin prints at the Metropolitan Museum{5A77FEEC-17F1-47FA-95B6-5EEA279A349B}

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