“Pictures must be miraculous”- Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, was born on September 25, 1903 as Markus Yakovlevich Rotkovich. He was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He was born in Russia and could speak Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew and English.
Rothko is arguably most famous for his multiform paintings. He felt they contained a ‘breath of life’. The multiforms brought Rothko to his signature style.
For seven years, Rothko painted in oil only on large canvases with vertical formats. Very large-scale designs were used in order to overwhelm the viewer, or, in Rothko’s words, to make the viewer feel “enveloped within” the paintings. He even suggested that viewers position themselves as little as 18 inches away from the canvas so they might experience a sense of intimacy and awe with a sense of the unknown.
Students used a variety of materials to create their own vibrant paintings inspired by the work of Rothko. They used a scraping technique to prepare the background and then used oil pastel, acrylic paint and chalk pastel to create the colour fields.
Abstract art is a form of modern and postmodern art that focuses on the power of each individual work to express compositions in a new way. Creative work in this style is usually non-representational, the artist’s forms may vary from a small degree of inaccurate representation of images to total abstraction.
Our classrooms were filled with paint and abstraction this past week as we were inspired to create our own non-representational art. Students started with an underpainting using different colours of red and orange to fill their page. Next we created texture by applying a scrap piece of paper over the wet paint and pressing down to remove and mix the colours. We then created a composition with white, yellow and black and a small pop of blue.
“I seek a fundamental universal pattern in all art and nature.”
For this project we learned about the Canadian artist, Kazuo Nakamura and his commitment to abstraction and modernism. Nakamura used simple structures and monochromatic colours.
We completed our entire project without using a traditional paint brush. Our students learned how to create their own scraped backgrounds using old gift cards and then used cardboard for their abstract lines. It was interesting to see how different everyone’s creations turned out…