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Experimenting with Paint and Junk, part 2

Experiments with Paint and Junk, part 2

Nancy D Lane describes working with Deidre Ogilvie

I invited Deidre to join me at River Studios so that we could share our respective mediums. I am not a painter, so it was fun to experiment with her paints.

While Deidre chose to paint on glass and metal (see her blog), I chose to experiment with ceramic tile, sea glass, metal and plastic.

Nancy D Lane’s workbench at River Studios

Brooches with bright bursts of colour

Normally I make brooches that are fairly muted, as my palette reflects what I find on the street: junk that is silver-coloured, rust, black or wood-grained.

However, I tried painting some nicely shaped thick pieces of wire yellow, orange and red, to match a cute flowered button that I’d found. The resulting brooch, mounted on white plastic, is called Button Up.

I also experimented with some brooch backings. On a chunk of grey ceramic tile, I painted blue and green. Once the paint was dry, I added two small pieces of metal to create Bird in Flight. Is it flying over blue-green mountains – or the ocean?

Finally I painted shades of green and lime on a slightly rounded piece of brown sea glass. To this ‘alien’ landscape I added two very strange looking bits of metal. This resulted in the brooch Take Me to Your Leader.

Button Up
Bird in Flight
Take Me to Your Leader

Then I became more adventurous

I also wanted to try something a bit larger on a piece of hard clear plastic about postcard size. The colours I liked best were orange, pink and red. Unlike Deidre, I had no idea what I would paint, so I started with some random, flower-like splotches.

Once the paint dried, I added random small pieces of orange, pink and red junk. The best were some pieces of chandelier glass that a friend had found and given to me.

Although the work was fun to make, it seemed insignificant and not worth exhibiting anywhere. In the weeks that followed, it started expanding.

Bigger seemed better

Firstly, I decided to mount it on a large black matte tile, but it then seemed too small for the backing. I added some more pieces of black tile, shiny ones this time, that had been cut in various rectangular shapes.

So far so good – but still a bit boring. That’s when I decided to create a city and light up the sky with fireworks, all in shades of red, orange and pink.

Luckily, I had lots of small beads, diamantes and sequins, as well as lots of rectangular pieces of plastic, in these colours. The work started exploding in colour.

Our agreement as a group is that we’d frame all our works, but it’s hard to frame a tile. Luckily, among my piles of junk, I had a piece of black metal from the back of some appliance, as well as a black grid, which created the ‘frame’.

Then we went for the big one

After out day of experimenting with each other’s materials, we decided to have a go together at a very large work – recreating the Melbourne Arts Centre spire.

Our group had been donated frames, and I chose a large silver-grey one, 156x80cm. My initial plan was to use a background of my existing found boards for Deidre to paint on.

I tried this, but it was difficult to figure out how to hold them together securely and how to glue materials to them across different levels. It was also quite heavy even before I glued anything to it.

Chosen frame with background of various pieces of board

Change of plans

So I made the trip to Bunnings. Before that, I didn’t know what MDF board was, but now I do. I also know how to get it cut to size.

My idea was for the spire to run diagonally, to maximise the size. The corollary to this was that the frame would also have to be hung diagonally.

Is that a smile on my face, or gritted teeth?
The amazing cutting machine
Trolley to the car park
Playing around with the diagonal

Next step: Sky

Deidre applied gesso to the MDF board at River Studios. When it was dry, I delivered it to her house to create a not too bright, not too cloudy sky.

Deidre applying gesso
Deidre pointing out how she created the sky in a range of blues and greys

The spire rises

Then it was time to sort through the piles of junk in my studio, to find the parts to lay out and then start glueing. I tried various bits and bobs – some more successfully than others.

Finally, ready to hang

Gluing always takes longer than expected. What might look okay lying on a surface may prove difficult to glue, in which case substitutions are necessary.

To see the spire in relation to the rest of my works, check out the exhibition blog.

Waiting, ready to hang