It’s all in the brush… or is it? Yesterday at the Red Bull House of Art, Round 3 artist Craig Paul Nowak demonstrated a painting technique that dispenses with the brush altogether, favoring instead dripping paint from squeeze bottles, and using a ruler and the non-pointy end of a skewer for only a few very minor adjustments. These are techniques that he uses in his own paintings that have been exhibited at the House of Art, Start Gallery and other galleries in Detroit and around the country.
Those who attended the workshop all took the opportunity to try their hand at making a drip painting themselves. “The nice thing about the [squeeze] bottle is that it [the paint] is so thick it will” move up to the boundary of another paint region, “and you don’t get those thin areas” as can happen by trying to push the paint with the ruler or the skewer, Nowak explained. “It’s about letting loose and making magic happen,” Nowak said to a participant who was overly concerned with dripping the paint very precisely.
The workshop participants had varying levels of artistic experience. Sibyl Morgan, for example, has much experience with mixed media artworks, but she did her first drip painting ever at the workshop yesterday. “I’m so emotionally connected, I want to stay connected,” Morgan said, having a hard time leaving the House of Art. The participants left their paintings behind to dry but will pick them up the following Saturday, during the gallery’s normal gallery hours.
Guillermo Tesorio Pindter, a retirement planner from Southfield, brought his three young daughters Ayana, Melia and Imani to the demo. “We just ran into the place,” Tesorio said, explaining he often shops at Eastern Market. Ayana, who has considered being a chef when she grows up, painted a pink and white abstract painting vaguely redolent of Kelly Guillory’s Cake mask.
Nowak continues to keep busy with his own artwork and has a few different shows in the pipeline throughout Michigan. Among others, on September 18, Christina’s World, which he painted for the Red Bull House of Art Round 3, will be exhibited at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids as part of the ArtPrize 2013, according to an ArtPrize venue page.
Nowak’s demo was the first such workshop at the House of Art. There will be other workshops with other artists in the future but none have been scheduled yet.
Update, June 20, 2013: Michelle Tanguay will be leading a workshop on June 29, at 12 p.m. The topic has not been announced yet.