July 23, 2015 by mamie
This piece that was done as part of my Drawing in Place class was interesting. The whole process started off with my class exploring creeks and brooks to search for salamanders. And boy, did we find some! It turns out that the area of Virginia we were in (the Blue Ridge Mountains) is the spot out of all the spots across the world where the most species of salamanders thrive. It was really cool to find three myself and to see so many others that the class collected.
Anyway, the day after our salamander search was when my professor gave us our project. She told us to imagine the world from the eyes of the salamanders and switch perspectives with them to form a piece of art. Well, I already had some ideas of materials I wanted to try, so I went ahead with those and focused on the salamander theme.
The technique I started with was inspired by a big jar of powdered graphite. What I decided to try was to treat the powdered graphite (and a jar of black ink) like dirt and to create the types of patterns that muddy water would create. To start, I put a piece of paper at the bottom of a baking pan and filled it with water. Then, I sprinkled powder and ink on top and swirled around the mixture. To top off the creation, I slowly pulled up the piece of paper and observed the outcome of my experiment. Hmmm– not bad…
I also wanted to try designing by using a photocopy machine and dried leaves to mimic decaying leaves piled in the water. To transfer the copies of scanned leaves, I used blender pens, which are some of the best art materials ever created! They are pretty cool because they transfer photos and any printed image onto another piece of paper, wood, etc. So I had a good time because of that.
The last idea I had was to add a footprint or two to the piled leaves creation. Well, to make sure the footprints would work, I stepped on a scrap piece of paper that was just lying around. And hey! This is a nice little piece of art itself, I thought…
Overall, the whole salamander project was a great experiment and a wonderful exploratory process. (It makes me want to go back and visit my little salamanders for more inspiration-haha!)