Miro a Miró

Miro a Miró - student project

Hoo boy, starting a project off with a pun—I'm just asking for it. In Spanish, "Miro a Miró" would roughly translate to "I look at Miró."  You know he had to get that joke once in a while.

So Miró was one of those artists that I knew of, but didn't actually know much about. I spent quite a bit of time looking through the different kinds of work he did; the interesting thing is how they are different styles and media but there is still something that is essentially his. They all connect together somehow. His experiments with automatic drawing—just letting the pen wander, letting the drawing develop organically.

So these are the paintings I came back to as I started sketching and doing some quick iterations.

Constellation the Morning Star, 1939 

Woman with Bird, 1968

Stage 2: Sketching and Quick Iterations
I've developed a method of working while doing these workshops with Nicole. I pull out the pieces that are particularly memorable and use them as heavy reference for sketching, mainly to get a feel for how the artist used these elements, color, and composition.

This is a brush ink pen. I let the ink dry a little to get the textured lines.

This sketch is oil pastel and my first trouble spot—how to create the line work over the pastel backing. I really wanted to use pastels: one, because I haven't used them in a long time, and two, I like the texture and gradients I can get with pastels.

I moved on to small, quick iterations. these are 3 x 5 inch canvas board. I try to work as fast as possible, but this time I spent a little more time working with the materials and ironing out bugs in the process. I experimented with laying down different grounds—gesso, fiber paste—but ended up getting what I wanted with Golden Pastel ground. It's a fine sandy texture which eats up pastel sticks but works like damn and whoa.

This is fiber paste ground. It took a lot of work to blend in the gradients I wanted. For the line work, I used Posca markers in medium and fine nibs.

The one on the left is pastel ground and is still unfinished; I've used a dark pencil to sketch out the shapes and will go over them with Posca. The one on the right was gesso-based. Meh. Blending is a lot easier if you sit outside on a summer afternoon in Florida. Everything melts. Even me.

This is one that's at step 3 of the process. I am really gravitating to those humanoid shapes, odd eyes, and some of the circle and line elements. In the background you can see part of another test sketch with little building-like shapes.

My weekend plans: I bought more tiny canvases and the plan is to prep them with pastel ground, some tinted with acrylics, and give traditional dry pastels a go. Oil pastels are hard to seal and more prone to getting scruffed up, so I'm trying to find a solution to that.

Final Project
Woo hoo! Made it!

I went with a slightly different technique for these 2 x 2 inch canvases. I liked the oil pastels, but I sort of stumbled on this alternate by accident. I was experimenting with different materials that I could use as a base to layer oil pastels over, so I tried watercolors. By chance I started playing around with a new set of gel sticks I bought and hit on something I liked.

Gel sticks worked like a soft pastel meets watercolor. You can lay down some texture, blend it with your finger, and spread the color with water. I got some really neat textures and colors that I liked.

I painted the edges of the canvases, then cut watercolor paper into squares, and used heavy gel to paste them down to the canvases. I used an ink brush to draw in some of of the shapes I'd been working with so far and added color using the Poscas.

I ended up making six of these little guys... Some are fully colored, others I left with just ink. I'd prepared some of the watercolors with a granulating medium and I liked the texture.

The bunny isn't exactly Miró style, but it just sort of popped up out of the background. :)

The thing that I enjoy about these classes, and this workshop, is how each time I've walked away with something I want to keep pursuing artistically. Motifs popped up as I worked—eyes in particular—and helped solidify some of the methods in which I like to work.

Thank you again for a fun workshop and class! 

Art and More