Over the past few weeks classes have been working on paintings based on fairly unattractive pieces of machinery. Rusty tools, greasy engine parts, barely identifiable bits of old technology.

The reason for this is to break away from a reliance on the subject and place more importance on design and composition.

To start this exploration of design, students concentrated on reproducing small areas of texture from the various pieces of industrial junk.

We then focused on small areas of the machinery - magnifying rotating and distorting in order to loose the identity of the subject. Allowing the abstract qualities of the design to take precedence   over the subject as seen in the first example below.




The final two examples above are made up from details found on the different pieces of machinery. These were drawn and arranged into a design emphasising the nature of the machinery.



The next step is to shift further away from the subject The image becomes more abstracted, while still reflecting the colours, textures, shapes and feeling of the original subject

Working on unusual and unfamiliar subjects like this encourage you to experiment and help to focus your attention on proportion, composition and the elements and principles of design.

Too often the subject clouds our judgement of the abstract qualities of what, after all, are simply marks on paper.

The final stage in exploring these industrial subjects was to do some painting on location, keeping in mind what we had discovered through working in the studio.

Neumanns - a large Gold Coast company, kindly allowed us to invade their concrete batching plant. A huge old timber and steel structure at the back of the complex made a fantastic subject to finish off this exploration of "industrial stuff"

So head out into the garage, gather up some old pieces of junk and have some fun. I used watercolour, gouache, pastel, ink and charcoal on these little 1/8 sheet demos. They were all done on 300gsm Cotman paper

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Copyright John Lovett 1999

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