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Girl with Spike Eyelashes
lithography, drafting, printmaking, visual tension, portrait, ambiguity, Harold Town, Town, print, 2D art, two-dimensional art, abstraction, viewer interpretation, simplified form, face, Print, portrait, girl, eyelashes
description

In this lithographic  printAn exactly repeatable visual statement which exists as two-dimensional physical material.  from the Mendel Art Gallery  collectionTo collect is to accumulate objects. A collection is an accumulation of objects. A collector is a person who makes a collection. (Artlex.com)  we see Town’s  draftingDrawing sketches and plans of buildings, machinery, and manufactured products. Most contemporary drafting is done digitally, using computers, but for generations, draftsmen drew upon drafting tables, using such analog tools as rulers, T square, triangles, compasses, and French curves. (Artlex.com)  and  printmakingA print is a shape or mark made from a block or plate or other object that is covered with wet colour (usually ink) and then pressed onto a flat surface, such as paper or textile. Most prints can be produced over and over again by re-inking the printing block or plate. Printmaking can be done in many ways, including using an engraved block or stone, transfer paper, or a film negative. The making of fine prints is generally included in the graphic arts, while the work of artists whose designs are made to satisfy the needs of more commercial clients are included in graphic design. (Artlex.com)  skills, combined with his flamboyant approach to artmaking. Critic Robert Fulford once noted that Town was always getting into trouble or working his way out of trouble in his art work through a process of creating visual tension, followed by action and reaction. (Fulford, 1971)

start quoteArt has no middle ground. Either it works or it doesn't. Bad art is not the enemy, mediocre art is the enemy.end quote
-- Harold Town (Town Murray 1987)

In Girl with Spike Eyelashes our eye is drawn first to the black blotch atop the girl’s head before we notice the eyelashes that are part of the title. Only one side of the face is drawn, in a line that is echoed by a thicker, stronger line that trails away from the eye-catching black spot atop the girl’s head. Her facial features are only suggested; the nose, lips and eyes drawn in enough details to be recognizable, but we can’t tell if the eyes are slightly open, or closed. By leaving out a lot of details, or creating ambiguities, Town offers us plenty of opportunities to add our own interpretations to the work.

additional resources Harold Town
Duration: 1:24 min
Size: 6104kb
Things to Think About
  • What is your initial reaction to Girl with Spike Eyelashes? How does Town create this reaction?
  • Many details of the girl’s face are missing from the print, and yet the viewer instantly sees the face of a girl. How does Town achieve this effect?
  • Town is quoted as saying there is no middle ground between good art and bad art. He may have said this to stir up some controversy. Do you agree with his statement? Why, or why not?
Advanced Activity

Make a fashionable hat

Harold Town’s  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  (transferred into a lithograph) shows a girl sporting what could be a hat or voluminous hair. How do hats or other clothing for the head or even hairstyles change our appearance? Can they provide a focus or a disguise by which to become a watcher?

Happy girls Girls with hats

Design and create a hat using recycled materials.

Check out the fanciful and imaginative hats created by Saskatchewan artist June Jacobs at: http://www.handwave.ca/jjpage.html#Felt_Hats_2006.

Drama/performance art extension

Create a dialogue for your persona to speak while wearing your newly created hat. What character will you be? Where will the dialogue take place and with whom?

Advanced Activity

Here is a video of Harold Town in conversation about his art and life: CBC radio archive.

Online Activity
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Create characters: “Computer Charades”:  Mix and match to create new characters.

Click on the Shapes button and the Select Shapes button to build your characters.

Studio Activity

Interpreting the idea behind the drawing

This  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  is reminiscent of a fashion  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  sketch.  Perhaps Town was inspired by an artwork similar to those from fashion sketches.

Harold Town has emphasized the eyelashes in his drawing. Could the girl in the drawing be fluttering her eyelashes or do you think she pretending that she is really not interested in what she is looking at?

Try out some drawings with ink

The original drawing for Town’s  lithographA form of printmaking where an artist prepares a stone for printing and draws an image using a grease pencil. The technique works on the principle that oil and water repel each other.  might possibly have begun with an  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  blot or a simple ink brushstroke that the artist continued to play with, adding his idea for the eyes. Town may also have been influenced by traditional Chinese brush painting.  Here are some websites to help you learn more about Chinese brush painting:

  • Watch The Way which shows traditional Chinese ink painting as a computer animated sequence. The video below shows how ink brush strokes are transformed into beautiful paintings.

Now, try out both  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)   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)  and  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  blot  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)  for yourself.

Paint with ink

paper

This traditional  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  of painting looks easy, but artists train and practise for many years to achieve exactly the right brush stroke.  InkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  is ground freshly from a solid ink block each time the artist works.  InkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  paintings are usually made on rice paper or silk.

  • Try experimenting with ink painting using practice materials.  You will need:
  • large sheets of newsprint
  • Chinese or Indian ink
  • several containers

Calligraphy tools

  • Have one clean water container at hand.

To see more examples of Chinese brush painting:

  • Chinese Brush painting demonstration at Youtube

Start with an  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  blob

Spilled inkTry starting a  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  with a random blob of ink.

Materials: black Indian ink (undiluted); cartridge paper or paper that will hold  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  rather than let it soak through. Fine tipped brush or pen with nib.

  • Pour or splash a small amount of ink onto a sheet of paper.
References

Broad, Graham.  ‘Abstract art, meet Toronto the Good.’  The Beaver, February-March, 2004.

Burnett, David.  Harold Town Retrospective at AGO.  Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, May 10-18, 1986.

Carpenter, Ken.  ‘Town, Harold Barling.’  The Canadian Encyclopedia.  Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from:  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008072

Eyland, Cliff.  ‘Harold Town.’  in Musecology.  Exhibition catalogue.  Gallery One One One, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1997 Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from:  http://www.umanitoba.ca/schools/art/galleryoneoneone/townc.html

Fetherling, Douglas, ed.  Documents in Canadian Art.  Peterborough, Ontario:  broadview press, 1987. (Interview re Autographic Prints, 1956, pp. 169-71)

Fulford, Robert.  ‘Harold Town: mad for drawing.’  Toronto Globe and Mail, December 31, 1990.

Fulford, Robert.  Magnificent Decade: The Art of Harold Town, 1955-1965.  Exhibition catalogue.  The Moore Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, 1997.  Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from:  http://www.robertfulford.com/town.html

Fulford, Robert,.  ‘The multiplicity of Harold Town.’  Artscanada, April-May, 1971.

Mays, John Bentley.  ‘Sifting through the remains of a life.’  Toronto Globe and Mail, November 15, 1997.

Mays, John Bentley.  ‘Toronto gallery papered with Town’s bewildering array.’  Toronto Globe and Mail, December 19, 1989.

Murray, Joan.  The Best Contemporary Canadian Art.  Edmonton, Alberta:  Hurtig Publishers, 1987.

Newlands, Anne.  Canadian Art from its Beginnings to 2000.  Willowdale, Ontario, Firefly Books, 2000.

Town, Harold.  Silent Stars, Sound Stars, Film Stars.  Toronto, Ontario:  McClelland and Stewart, 1971.

Withrow, William. Contemporary Canadian Painting.  Toronto, Ontario:  McClelland and Stewart, 1972.

Young, Pamela.  ‘Gifted and Prolific: Harold Town was at home in many art forms.’  Maclean’s, undated.

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