Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In the Zone: A Demo Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe

By Cyn Gagen

On last night’s In the Zone, we did a 4th of July salute to American art.  Roberta chose to focus on Janet Fish while I went with Georgia O’Keeffe.  Both female artists who brought a different spin to traditional representational American art and who demonstrated a love of colour.  That’s where the similarity ends though as Fish is a contemporary realist artist and O’Keeffe’s paintings, considered part of the American Modernism period, bring more of an abstraction to them. Her ability to blend representative and abstract art in one is what made O’Keeffe one of the most distinctive and innovative artists of her time.


For my demo, I showed how to make these simple little flower pictures inspired by the close-up flowers O’Keeffe painted.  To begin, you need a thick white glue.  I’m creating these on basic black construction paper but you can do this on a canvas as well and you can choose whatever you want as your background colour.  For the glue, I prefer something like the Crayola No Run School Glue http://www.crayola.com/products/list.cfm?categories=GLUE (I get a similar one at Dollarama here in Canada) because it’s nice and thick.  You can use Aleene’s Tacky Glue as well but it’s not quite as thick. http://www.michaels.com/Aleene's%C2%AE-Original-Tacky-Glue%C2%AE/gc0040,default,pd.html


You can lightly pencil on your outline or just freehand it with the glue.  Let this dry really well before proceeding.  I find it takes a good 12 hours give or take depending on how thick you apply the glue.  You can use chalks (just regular coloured chalk such as you would use in school or the chalks that are sold for scrapbooking and rubber stamping) or pastels (soft or oil – the ones I used here were called Water Sticks – they’re very much like pastels but if you add water to them you can get a sort of watercolour appearance to them).  I used a combination of both.  The pastels work really well to go over the glue outline and to add a little definition to the piece.  In places where I got a bit of the pastels onto the actual petals instead of the outline, I left that because I didn’t mind the punch it gave to the flower.  For the colours on the petals, I applied the chalks – I found using my finger gave the best appearance. 


For more information about Georgia O’Keeffe, check out this blog post:  http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/in-the-zone-a-demo-inspired-by-american-art/

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