1 happening by chance, unintentionally, or unexpectedly
2 incidental; subsidiary
3 Philosophy (in Aristotelian thought) relating to or denoting properties that are not essential to a thing’s nature.
A Nature Post With Flowers and Trees, Really
This post explores the accidental nature of artistic techniques. Methods so simple, that anyone can do them. The only limitation is that of the artists themselves. The combination and execution of materials is aided by the imagination of the artist.
I enjoy creative expression in many differing mediums. Much of my life and work is anything but accidental, though. This is a term to avoid at all costs, because it usually is costly in my profession if it occurs.
But, in artistic expression there is a type of art that is all about happening by chance, unintentionally occurring, or unexpected result. A book by James F. O’Brien entitled Design By Accident is a type of art anyone can do and do successfully. I could have used this book as an example for the last W4W post on Texture and Pattern, because the resulting art has much of both.
Foam on the Niagara River Actual
I will show some examples and include the way in which they are done. The techniques are explained and show in grey, italicized type under the appropriate painting. Fire in The Forest, above, is noted at the end of the post. All examples are from the book and all photos are those I have taken.
I have produced art using these techniques that I have previously sold. My work, using these techniques, was combined with actual drawings and fine art paintings, but the techniques can stand on their own and can easily be mounted and framed if desired. Can you see any of these pictured hanging on a wall?
Coat your board with black showcard (poster paint) color. Then drop small amounts of white showcard color which is diluted with equal amount of water from a brush or medicine dropper. The black paint is still wet when you drop the white. Let the board dry in place. Do not move wet on wet pieces.
And it is all by accident, a trial and error kind of art. Many of the techniques result in forms from nature and with a little imagination, you can produce contemporary images of trees and flowers. What is of utmost interest is how these designs are all found in the natural world. I used photos I did not specifically take for this post for the examples. Just imagine if I had the time to shoot them just for the post or conversely, paint them to realistically mimic what is in the photos. They would be very, very similar in life and art.
Use a small brush to make a heavy India ink line which forms a thick puddle across the bottom of a painted panel. Air brush the line with just air at 25 lbs. pressure, blowing the air in an upwards direction at about 30° to the horizontal surface of the panel. Trees will sprout from your puddle.
The artist prepares the conditions which will produce the accidental compositions, but there is not complete control by the artist, resulting in accidental effect. These techniques are not paintings unto themselves necessarily, but are tools that prove useful for the finished work.
Coat illustration board with a coat of clear lacquer or spray with white enamel. Let it dry. Place your board in the sink and elevate it at one end by 2 inches. Use a brush to brush soapy water over the surface. The dish soap is added so the water is not repelled on your lacquered surface. In a ratio of 2 to 10 of black color to water, brush the wetted surface of your panel with the color mixture, allowing it to run on the slanted surface. Repeat this to the desired number of trees. Leave in the sink until completely dry, then spray fixative over the piece.
A great idea is to use them for greeting or note cards. Make them small enough to be adhered to a card for a personal and artistic touch. Add a few simplified stems and leaves to finish!
a change-up from using your photos on note cards try to go graphic with Accidental Art. The recipient may just smile for the extra effort put into their card with a piece of your original and unique art.
Some techniques use an air brush, but you may be able to use a squirt bottle filled with air. Another way is to use a straw and blow air through to push or spread the ink. It just will not be as predictable an outcome as an air brush. I have an air brush, but use a straw also on occasion for quick convenience.
This and the next piece are done with the same method, only an adjustment of the angle of the air brush. Using 25 lbs. pressure and India ink in the well, holding the nozzle close to your board in a vertical orientation, squirt a few flowers.
The Accidental art has an organic feel to create a contemporary piece. Garden on a Bristol Board by growing flowers with colored ink. No need to use only black, but black and white lends sophistication to the piece. Remember, you can brush on stems and leaves if you desire to complete the piece, but just be loose and free with the brush.
I have combined this technique with illustrative art to create pattern and texture in fashion ads (a long time ago, when ads were hand drawn and I worked as an illustrator to help pay for my schooling). It is quick to simulate a textile rather than draw exactly. The flowers here are a good example in our nature themed post.
If you feel creative and want to paint some art of your own, these are simple projects and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Let your creativity flow with your paint and let your inner Jackson Pollack surface! Be a kid again and throw, splatter and drip that paint or ink. Experiment with a two-dimensional garden.
Another air brush technique, wriggle the nozzle while holding the air brush nozzle very close. You get yourself a little centipede.
This one uses a squirt bottle filled with ink. But the opening has to be small in the bottle. Tape your paper onto cardboard so you can maneuver your art. Squirt across the top edge of the paper while the cardboard and art are placed against a surface at 45°.
Coat your illustration board with Elmer’s glue. Arrange your board to position it vertically, add more glue and let the glue run down the panel. Let it dry. India ink is brushed over the panel and let to dry again. To finish, you lightly sandpaper the surface with fine sandpaper to reveal your ‘water’.
Some of the techniques require the use of oil floated on the surface of a pan of water, like the algae interpretation below, but these methods are much more complicated, so I did not get into their explanation. Some other materials to use are rubber cement and japan color. Most that I showed are accomplished with just black and white paint or ink.
In the first illustration with the orange forest, this is the simple method.
Coat illustration board or Bristol board with Elmer’s glue, brushing the glue lengthwise to the board. With the glue still wet, flow or drag red drawing ink in the same lengthwise direction as your glue strokes. Let your art dry.
Simulated Pop Art Mass of Tree Branches
They only thing to be concerned with is warping your substrate. Just don’t soak the boards and make sure they dry flat or adhered to a stable backer board. If you do warp the board and have a very nice design, just scan it in the computer and print out a fresh copy.
Join in the meme and picture the word accidental, or do a post with words. This weeks word seems much more suited to wordy explanations. Click Mr. Linky to join and also see the other posts tackling the word, Accidental.
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