August 2 – Happy Birthday, Mark Tansey

Posted on August 2, 2016

I have never heard of an artist doing a scrape-off-paint painting.

I mean, clearly, you brush ON paint, right?

Well, Mark Tansey creates paintings in a very unique way: he applies a layer of monochrome (one-color) paint on a canvas, and then he alters the paint by, for example, scraping off the paint to create lighter and white areas—but all of the changes must happen before the paint becomes too dry to alter. In other words, he has six hours to work on the area he painted.

This makes his work a bit like a fresco painted during the Renaissance – fresco painters applied paint to wet lime plaster before it dried and locked in the colors.

Because of the six-hour window Tansey's method features, he paints in segments that can be finished in that time frame.

By the way, Tansey feels that paintings have to be different than reality – or why not just use photography? He's known for illogical or humorous paintings; he wants people to think about what they are seeing.

White on White
(Eskimos and Arabs dealing with a snow/sand storm)

Forward Retreat

Action Painting
Action Painting II

Try scrape-off painting!

 Finger painting is a bit like Tansey's scrape-off style. Of course, finger painting isn't only done with fingers; you can use a stylus or a comb or a piece of cardboard or a wooden block to wipe some of the paint away.

As a birthday tribute to Tansey, experiment by creating a layer of paint, and then forming a picture by wiping or scraping away some of that paint.

Finger Painting, How-to

I used to use liquid laundry starch and dry tempera powders to make finger paint, but you can also use specially-made commercial finger paints or any liquid poster or tempera paint. If you want to get really fancy, you can make your own finger paint (this involves boiling water, so no little kiddos on the making-paint part!). 

Some adults do high-level art via finger painting! Check out this work by Zaria Forman:

Not all finger painting is monochromatic:

Here are some more finger painting ideas. 

Also on this date:

Ilinden and Day of the Republic in Macedonia

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