Published: 1 September 2017
It is normal to absorb an artwork as it is, right in front of you. A painting or sculpture is readily observable, a physical object whose utmost purpose is to be looked at, thought about. The process typically goes: read, react, ponder briefly, move on.
Every now and again there will be supplementary text on the wall or in a pamphlet, providing the artist's biography and prescribed interpretation of the piece. Typically, however, little to no information is given on how the artwork was made.
In the spirit of learning different processes, here are 5 methods of artmaking from the Thompson's stable which will surprise you.
1) SINGLEHANDEDLY SCULPTING
Quite literally, sculptor Tom Greenshields created his works singlehandedly. His figures are already impressive for their detail and smooth rendering, but knowing each was crafted with the artist's non-dominant hand definitely ups the admiration. Greenshields served in the military and retired to farmwork afterward; ironically he lost use of one hand during his agrarian career, not in combat. With great perseverence and ingenuity, the artist took up artmaking and produced a staggering range of elegant figurative sculpture.
2) RAIN OR SHINE
Iraqi born, Scotland based painter Nael Hanna creates landscapes replete with mood, motion and atmosphere. Inspired by the drama of Scotland's coastal weather, the artist not only records these natural scenes but does so in the tumultuous elements. Through wind and rain, Hanna paints in plein air to capture the true essence of the moment, allowing rainwater to mix into and manipulate the paint on the surface.
3) NO BRUSH NECESSARY
Marion Drummond's still life's are smooth and smooth, like the flowers she paints. Her markmaking is deft and thoughtful, but can't be called brushwork. This is because Drummond uses everything but brushes to make her work. Instruments like knives, cloth, and even fingers are deployed throughout the artist's process.
4) SURFACE LEVEL
Peter Wileman's abstracted landscapes are popular for their brilliant hues and expansive composition. Although categorized as oils on canvas and board, Wileman's paintings are technically mixed media; the artist is known for adding in materials like gauze and cloth to achieve complexity and texture in his surfaces. Noticeable but not disruptive, these elements are glazed with coats of paint to blend into the overall image.
5) WILLFUL DEFIANCE
Johannes von Stumm was on track to become a lawyer when suddenly he realized that path wasn't his. He trained to become a sculptor instead, where his passion had truly lied all along. The prevailing methodology during von Stumm's student years preached resistance from combining certain elements in the same piece of work. Glass, wood, metal and stone, it was said, should never be altogether. Naturally, von Stumm formed his practice around the antithesis of the status quo. The resulting works are not only beautiful, but a symbol of willful defiance and ingenuity.