PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF,

I’M A MAN OF CLAY AND GLAZE

PUSHED MUD AROUND FOR SEVENTY YEARS

OR TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DAYS.

Robin Hopper is a man of many parts, mostly worn out, rusty or dysfunctional, due to a lifetime of excesses! He started working with clay at the age of three and is still doing it over 70 years later. His lengthy, peripatetic career as a mudpusher has included side trips into working as a Professional Actor, Stage Designer, Property Maker, Stage Manager, Stage Carpenter, Grocer, Greengrocer, Jazz Musician, Teapot, Wine and Beer-Bottle, Trumpet, Trombone and Bugle Player, European Travel Guide, Founder of Several Clay/Art/Craft Organizations, Alchemist, Geologist, Primatologist, Linguist, Ornithologist, Botanist, Ceramic Historian, Educator, Author, Garden Designer, Lecturer on Japanese Garden Design, Laborer and Star of Stage, Screen and Potter’s Wheel!

Monday, September 10, 2012

BRUSHSTUFF #2


BRUSHES, BRUSHWORK
AND BRAVADO!



COLCHICUM OR AUTUMN CROCUS 



A SMALL SELECTION OF ASSORTED BRUSHES FROM MY LARGE COLLECTION OF MARK-MAKING TOOLS. THEY HAVE BEEN COLLECTED OVER MANY YEARS TO FULFILL MY SPECIFIC NEEDS.


WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MY TIME SPENT IN PROFESSIONAL THEATER AND EUROPEAN TRAVEL INDUSTRIES, I CAN HARDLY REMEMBER A TIME WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE CLAY UP MY FINGERNAILS OR A BRUSH IN MY HAND SINCE I WAS 3 YEARS OLD!

BRUSHES ARE MY FAVORITE TOOLS. THEY COME IN A HUGE VARIETY OF SHAPES AND SIZES FROM TWO MOUSE WHISKERS TO A WHOLE HORSE TAIL. THEY HAVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAIR OR BRISTLE THAT ARE USED FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES. THIS BLOG WILL EXPLORE SOME OF THE BRUSHES THAT I USE AND THE DIVERSE MARK-MAKING POTENTIAL THAT THEY EACH HAVE. MOST BRUSHES HAVE THREE DISTINCT MARKS - THE TIP OR STIPPLE, THE FULL-STROKE AND THE SIDE- STROKE OR DRAG. IN ADDITION TO THE VARIETY OF BRUSHES AND THE MARKS EACH IS CAPABLE OF MAKING, THE DEGREE OF PRESSURE, OR LIFT, DURING THE STROKE WILL GIVE MANY FURTHER VARIATIONS.

TO ADD CIRCULAR DOTS AS DETAILS, I HAVE FOUND IT BEST TO USE Q-TIPS OF DIFFERENT SIZES. IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO MAKE CIRCULAR DOTS WITH ALMOST ANY BRUSH.



BRUSHWORK USING A MOP (RED PART), A DRAGGED, LARGE, ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH, A FINE WATERCOLOR PENCIL BRUSH WITH LIGHT PRESSURE AND A FLICK AT THE END OF MANY STROKES AND Q-TIP DOTS.





BRUSHWORK USING A MOP (RED PART), A DRAGGED, LARGE, ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH, A FINE WATERCOLOR PENCIL BRUSH WITH A FLICK AT THE END OF MANY STROKES AND Q-TIP DOTS.




TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE AND FLUENCY WITH BRUSHES, IT CERTAINLY HELPS TO TAKE COURSES WITH GOOD TEACHERS. THEY CAN SAVE A LOT OF TIME IN LEARNING HOW TO MAKE A GREAT VARIETY OF STROKES. I HAVE HAD SOME TREMOR PROBLEMS WITH MY PAINTING HAND FOR THE LAST 18 MONTHS, SO MY CURRENT DEMONSTRATION BRUSHWORK IS VERY ROUGH. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE ADEQUATE TO SHOW DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRUSHES AND BRUSHSTROKES.

BRUSHES NEED TO BE CARED FOR PROPERLY AND CAREFULLY WASHED, DRIED AND STORED AFTER USE.  THEY WON'T LAST FOREVER, AS THE MATERIALS USED IN CERAMICS ARE ABRASIVE. THE BETTER THEY ARE CARED FOR THE LONGER THEY WILL LAST. VERY GOOD BRUSHES MIGHT BE VERY EXPENSIVE, BUT IF THEY ALLOW YOU TO DEVELOP A "SIGNATURE" STYLE THEY ARE MORE THAN WORTH WHATEVER YOU PAID FOR THEM. GOOD, EXPRESSIVE BRUSHWORK CAN RAISE THE AESTHETIC AND MONETARY VALUE OF AN OBJECT.  BAD BRUSHWORK CAN EFFECTIVELY RUIN A GOOD PIECE, WHEREAS GOOD BRUSHWORK CAN GREATLY RAISE THE CALIBER OF LESS THAN EXCITING PIECES. 

MOST OF THE TIME, THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONAL BRUSHWORK TAKES MUCH PRACTICE AND YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE WHEN YOU APPROACH THE SURFACE TO BE PAINTED. THIS IS WHERE THE "BRAVADO" COMES IN. IN THE ORIENT, IT IS QUITE THE NORM TO PRACTICE A SINGLE STROKE FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS TO DEVELOP THE FREEDOM OF TOUCH. THE MORE THAT YOU DO IT, THE EASIER AND MORE FLUENT IT BECOMES.  TRY IT AND SEE!



 ABSORBENT  PRACTICE PAPER AND Q-TIP VARIATIONS

IT IS BEST TO PRACTICE ON ABSORBENT PAPER SUCH AS NEWSPRINT, BLOTTING PAPER AND SPECIAL PAPERS AS SHOWN ABOVE. THEY MIMIC THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PAINTING ON BISQUE, OR GLAZED WARE, WHERE THE LIQUID IS "SUCKED" FROM THE BRUSH IN MAKING THE STROKE. VARYING THE PRESSURE IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE STROKE GIVES "LIFE" TO THE MARKS.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE 
 IS THE BEST WAY TO MASTER 
BRUSH-WORKING.



"DAGGER" WATERCOLOR BRUSH


"FAN"WATERCOLOR BRUSH. DOWNWARD PRESSURE CAUSES THE  BRUSH TO "OPEN" AND MAKE MANY LINES AT THE SAME TIME. YOU CAN ALSO SELECTIVELY CUT OUT SOME OF THE HAIR WITH A RAZOR BLADE.

TIP. FULL AND DRAG STROKES FROM A KEITH LEBENZON ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH WITH ROOSEVELT ELK HAIR. KEITH FELT THAT THE HAIR FROM THE NAPE OF THE NECK MADE THE BEST BRUSHES.  UNFORTUNATELY HE COULD ONLY GET ENOUGH OF THIS PREMIUM, SUPER-SPRINGY FUR FOR SIX LARGE BRUSHES FROM A WHOLE HIDE



TIP. FULL AND DRAG STROKES FROM 
A WATERCOLOR "PENCIL" BRUSH OR LINER. CIRCULAR DOTS FROM Q-TIPS

SIGNWRITING BRUSHES 


SMALL CLIPPED "FAN" WATERCOLOR BRUSH 


LARGE "FAN" WATERCOLOR BRUSH 


SMALL "PENCIL"LINER WITH PRESSURE CHANGES AND TIP FLICKS


SMALL SIGNWRITERS BRUSHES AND Q-TIPS

______________________________________________________

DUE TO CHRONIC AND INCREASING HEADACHES THAT ARE LIKELY EXACERBATED BY SPENDING AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER KEYBOARD AND SCREEN, MY MEDICAL TEAM CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND ELIMINATING THIS ACTIVITY.  UNFORTUNATELY THIS POSTING WILL BE MY LAST FOR THREE MONTHS WHILE THE MEDICAL PROBLEM IS ASSESSED. IF THINGS IMPROVE SATISFACTORILY, I HOPE TO BE BACK ON LINE IN EARLY DECEMBER.

MANY THANKS FOR YOUR READERSHIP OVER THE LAST 8 MONTHS AND 87 POSTINGS. I HAVE REALLY ENJOYED THE OPPORTUNITY OF WRITING IT. IF YOU ARE FEELING CUT OFF, YOU CAN ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND START ALL OVER AGAIN! 


ALL BEING WELL, I WILL DO A SINGLE POSTING IN EARLY NOVEMBER ON FALL IN THE GARDEN. IT WILL TAKE THE FORM OF ANOTHER PHOTO ESSAY. THIS WILL COMPLETE MY LENGTHY TOUR OF THE GARDEN THROUGH THE SEASONS THAT STARTED EARLY LAST SPRING. THE GARDEN IS ONE OF MY MAJOR SOURCES OF IDEAS FOR MY CLAY AND GLAZE PAINTING WORK. WITH 25 DIFFERENT JAPANESE MAPLES AND MANY OTHER ORIENTAL TREES, SHRUBS, PERENNIALS AND GRASSES THAT HAVE OUTSTANDING FALL COLOR, I FEEL THAT IT IS A GREAT TIME IN THE GARDEN.

KEEP SMILING!

ROBIN PLAYS "THE LAST POST" or "TAPS" ON HIS B-FLAT WALKING CANE. 
Photo by Dania Haufschild  - aged 10


6 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the posts . . . and hurry back.

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANKS BRUCE,
    I CAN'T MAKE ANY PROMISES, BUT I WILL DO MY BEST. TEN MONTHS OF NON-STOP HEADACHES HAS BEEN A BUMMER! MY NEUROLOGIST SAYS THERE IS NOTHING MUCH THAT CAN BE DONE AS NERVES ARE CAUGHT BETWEEN HEAVY TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE MASS FROM 55 YEARS OF THROWING A MILLION PLUS POTS! I'VE TRIED ALL THE REGULAR HEALING PROCESSES TO NO AVAIL. NEXT WEEK I START CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY. I STILL LIVE IN HOPE AND LAUGH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! BEST WISHES.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Robin I hope your therapy works, I have MS and my first clue that I had it was that I lost my ability to throw. I went to therapy right away and have been doing well the last 5 years. I can throw now but not well, but I'm basically a hand builder. I met you at the Fort Worth Dallas NECCA, the lobby at the hotel was so crowed that we both plopped down on a near by sofa to escape the crowds. You introduced yourself, I told you I just read your book, you asked me how it was. I was so shocked at meeting you I couldn't remember the book or anything, so I said it was OK and you started laughing. I hope you get better. Denice Demuth

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hope all is well as can be. I have seen many of your on line demos and gleaned much info from your posts and books too.

    I'm a newbie and info direct from a master of the craft is invaluable !

    Thanks so much for all - and the beautiful work too!

    When I developed some and various disability, I fought it at first but it only made things worse. I get killer migraines (far less now) and if 30mg of Ketorolac doesn't knock em out 30 more via injection or IV at the ER usually does. Not great on the stomach but if it might work for you, could be better them some of those make ya loopy pills.

    PS: Maybe your body is just saying it's past time to take some nice walks, sip some tea, and stop and smell the roses for awhile.
    See ya at the end of the year !

    ReplyDelete
  5. Take care of yourself and come back to the blog when you can. As a former teacher, I understand the constant pull to share with others. For now, behave yourself and concentrate on getting better. We will sorely miss you and look forward to hearing that you are much improved and back to your old shenanigans.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Robin,
    Thank you for the EXCELLENT brush work tutorial! I, like you, always seem to have a brush in hand. My body is letting me down as well, sucks getting older! The fingers of my left hand have been tingling for about 2 weeks, and nothing seems to improve that. Must be a pinched nerve somewhere. My body telling me to take it easy. I will put a reminder in my calendar to check back with you in November. I pray for an end of your headaches and general wellness!
    A bientot mon ami,
    Nadine

    ReplyDelete