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The Space Between Columns (Blue)
oil, lucite on canvas, where to begin a painting, inspiration for an artwork, repetition, balance, blue, contrast, representation, representing structures, abstraction, essence, picture plane, looking at perspective, depth, space between, space, properties of colour, colour intensity, light and colour, focal point, columns,change,
description

In an interview he gave in 1984 Shadbolt talked about looking for “a take-off point” to begin a painting. “I can start anywhere,” he said. “The start can be very trivial; someone walks by in a red sweater and suddenly I’ve got red in my mind.”

Shadbolt obviously had blue in his mind when he began  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  The Space Between Columns (Blue). However, as the title indicates, he also wanted us to look at the forms – and the  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  - within the intense blue space he has created. In another interview, given in 1994, Shadbolt talked about how painting changed after the Industrial Revolution. Once objects, such as jugs, for example, were valued because they were handmade, but mass production changed all that. Once you knew how to make one, you could make a million of them. All you needed was a diagram of a jug.

start quoteAnd you know all about the jug, but you got no jug. In other words, the essence has replaced the object.end quote-- Jack Shadbolt (Henry 1996)

“ And then I realized something more fundamental than that: that the  picture planeThe surface of a drawing or painting.  has its own dynamic, its own imperatives. The emphasis is not now from  foregroundIn a painting or drawing, the foreground is usually composed of images at the bottom of the frame. They give the appearance of being closest to the viewer.  to middle distance, to one-point perspective. The emphasis: no perspective, no single point, but also that the experience is above and below, not depth, not front or back; you pull the thing up to the plane.” (Henry, 1996)

Does The Space Between Columns (Blue) fit the above description? Is there a single point to focus the eye? It seems not. While you might expect the columns to be identical, a close look shows that they are not. This is not a diagram or an architect’s drawing. In fact, instead of having us focus on a single object in the foreground, or something highlighted in the distance, Shadbolt seems to be asking us to scan across the painting, from the more intense blue of the column on the left, to the objects floating away from the right-hand column, perhaps connecting with a third column which is suggested at the right-hand edge of the picture frame.

In an article titled “A Year in the Sun” in ArtsCanada magazine, writer Colin Graham commented on the changes in Shadbolt’s work during a year spent  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  under the intense light in the south of France, as compared with the muted light on Canada’s West Coast. “Space is mainly created through the advancing and receding properties of colour, and it is  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  which plays the major role in these paintings,” Graham observed. Perhaps through varying intensities of blue Shadbolt is inviting us to explore the space between columns. (Graham, 1958)

additional resources Things to Think About Advanced Activity

Watercolour

Here are two  watercolourAny paint that uses water as a solvent. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolours. What carries the pigment in watercolour (called its medium, vehicle, or base) is gum arabic. An exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints, which employ water as their solvent, but are actually oil paints. Colours are usually applied and spread with brushes, but other tools can also used. The most common techniques for applying watercolour are called wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet, along with the dry brush techniques dry-on-dry and dry-on-wet. Colours can be removed while still wet, to various degrees by blotting. Most watercolour painting is done on paper, but other absorbent grounds can also be employed. The papers most favored by those who paint with watercolour is white, very thick, with high rag content, and has some tooth. (Artlex.com)  and fabric art techniques to try:


1. Wet on wet technique (see below for visual examples of this process).

  • Use watercolour paper.

  • Wet the surface of the paper (you can wet the whole sheet as shown in the illustration, or apply a wet sponge on the the paper when it is already taped to the paper.)
  • Set the paper on a small board or heavy cardboard.
  • Carefully tape down the edges of the paper with brown paper tape or masking tape (Tip: rub the masking tape on a wool or other fuzzy surface before applying it to the paper. This will weaken (the strength of) the masking tape, and thus when tape is removed will prevent the paper surface layer from ripping.
  • Wet the surface of the paper
  • Using this method can you create an art piece that suggests reflection?

Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   1" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet1.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   2" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet2.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   3" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet3.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   4" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet4.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   5" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet5.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   6" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet6.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   7" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet7.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   8" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet8.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   9" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet9.jpg" /> Wet on wet <span><span style= techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   10" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t2_shadbolt_wet10.jpg" />

 

2. Fabric art

  • Collect scraps of fabric and sort them into colour groups. Include a range of  shadesDark value of a colour made by adding black.  related to each colour you decide to use and varying textures. Also include shiny papers/fabrics.  You can collect small scraps from people who sew, or gather some old clothing and cut out the parts that are still useful.

  •  Use stiff paper or card as a base. Use fabric glue or white glue. Some pieces could be stapled.
  • Cut and tear pieces and rebuild the image you want to represent, so that it appears slightly abstracted and fragmented. Layer transparent pieces.

A successful Saskatchewan fabric artist is Martha Cole. She uses a sewing machine as well. She often uses  feltingThe material of which felt is made; also, felted cloth; also, the process by which it is made. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  as a medium.  You can find her work in the ARTSask theme Craft Redefined.  You can also see more of Martha Cole’s work at: http://www.exploringcreativity.com/featured_artist10_archive.html and http://www.mcintyregallery.com/ (click on “Artists”, then on “Martha Cole”.)

 

Online Activity
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Shadbolt used pillars as inspiration in the piece presented in this theme (The Space between Columns (Blue)). Look at the negative  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  between the pillars. This will help you build your puzzle.

To make the puzzle, click on the pieces and drag them so that they click together into place.

Studio Activity

 

I always feel I’m getting near to something that’s got more to it than I can get hold of. (Shadbolt)

 

Mountain Reflection

Shadbolt’s  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  presented in this theme, The Space between Columns (Blue), could be interpreted as an image of pillars reflected in water.  LuciteA trademark for a plastic material, which is a family of acrylics in the smaller group called a methacrylates, available in many forms, including liquid for casting. It can be made highly transparent, translucent, or opaque. Visit http://www.luciteinternational.com for much more information. (Artlex.com)  is a shiny plastic material that might add to that impression.  A reflection in water (as seen at left) sometimes disintegrates the image into parts, just as Shadbolt deconstructs his painting through shapes and blocks of colour.

Print a copy of Shadbolt’s painting (you can use a black and white printer). Turn the image of his work upside down. Can you see the pillars?

Look at the blue space in his painting. This  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  is negative space. Do you detect another set of different shaped pillars in the blue space?

Create a new work using this upside down image as a starting point.

  • First, trace Shadbolt’s image on tracing paper.

Photograph some reflections. These could be in a landscape, or you could set up a  compositionArrangements of elements in a work of art.  with small objects next to a wide container of water (such as a flat pan or a small sink). Choose one that you like and use it as a source for your own art. Below are some examples of reflections:

Tree Reflection Tree Reflection 2
Tree Reflection 3
References

Godfrey, Stephen.  “Shadbolt  firedTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  by dreams.’  Toronto Globe and Mail, June 2, 1988.

Graham, Colin.  ‘A Year in the Sun.’  ArtsCanada, April, 1958.

Henry, Karen.  ‘Interview with the Artist.’  From the exhibition  catalogueA list which is an inventory of works in a gallery, museum, or other collection. It describes the works, and may contain articles discussing their history, and classifying them in other ways. It may be in the form of a file of cards (or an electronic equivalent), one card for each object, or in the form of a publication (usually a pamphlet or book), whether for a special exhibition or for all or part of a permanent collection.  (Artlex.com)  for Counterpoint: The Prints of Jack Shadbolt, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, British Columbia, 1996.

Hunter Jennifer.  ‘Endlessly fascinating work.’  Maclean’s, December 7, 1998 (also available online at: http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0011830).

O’Hara, Jane.  ‘Paintings steeped in tribal magic.’  Maclean’s, July 7, 1986.

Shadbolt, Jack.  In Search of Form.  McClelland and Stewart: Toronto, 1968.

Shadbolt, Jack.  Mind’s I.  McClelland and Stewart: Toronto, 1973.

Shadbolt, Jack.  Act of Art.  McClelland and Stewart: Toronto, 1981.

Wallace, Rory.  ‘Imprinted Landscapes.’  From the exhibition  catalogueA list which is an inventory of works in a gallery, museum, or other collection. It describes the works, and may contain articles discussing their history, and classifying them in other ways. It may be in the form of a file of cards (or an electronic equivalent), one card for each object, or in the form of a publication (usually a pamphlet or book), whether for a special exhibition or for all or part of a permanent collection.  (Artlex.com)  for Counterpoint: The Prints of Jack Shadbolt, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, British Columbia, 1996.

‘A Matter of Subdued Passion: An Interview with Jack Shadbolt.’  Arts Manitoba, Winter, 1984.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning