Project 2 – Exercise 1: Preparing a textured ground

Moving ahead with the exercises I let my ideas and site experience for my personal project inform my experimental exploration of materials and painting approach.

In previous exercises I already uses some textured grounds for paintings (e.g. Part 4 – Project 4 Painting a landscape outside‘ – ‘Artefacts). Therefore not totally new to me. In scope of this exercise I will experiment with other materials.


1) Triptych: Mixed media and acrylic paint on polystyrene, Styropor® (each 50 x 50 cm)

When I went to the local hardware store to purchase some household enamel paint  for the previous project I was looking around for material that I possibly could use. With my personal project in mind, thinking about construction of residential buildings. Especially looking at material with some connection to interior – interior as the building face, the plane to towards the inhabitants. Some intimate notion came to my mind, perhaps to work on that in rather abstract and indexed way.

This I found DIY polystyrene boards typically used for ceilings. Quite flexible, around 5mm thick.

  • Applying first a ground of enamel (another notion to residential building and interior), working in parallel on three boards, to be able to work on shifts of visual images.
  • Adding materials (printed photograph from location, stones, screws, sand, moss, leaves, cardboard etc.)
  • I went ahead with paint and strokes, letting the image tell me what was missing and when to finish.
Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Triptych

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Triptych

Here some work in progress for the left one (the others are quite similar in sequence – though different materials used):

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Triptych (1) - progress

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Triptych (1) – progress

=> Overall idea a shift from left to right, from a residential building towards deterioration and nature taken over. A rough visualization of ideas. I  believe the incorporation of the photograph in the first painting is rather successful, perhaps too small, not visible enough (?). What brings me back to the notion of non-recognition form part 4 – project 1.

Ground #1: Mixed media and acrylic paint on polystyrene, Styropor® (50 x 50 cm)

Same support as for my triptych but here as single painting with some other materials. Using plaster bandage, gesso, printed photograph, newspaper clippings, and acrylic ink.

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Ground #1

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Ground #1

here work in progress to be able to keep track of what I did:

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Ground #1 - progress

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Ground #1 – progress

As the last stage I applied a similar painting approach with pouring paint over the picture and let it drop down as in part 4 – project 5 ‘Squaring up – Memories‘. I find this still one successful approach to add another layer of meaning associated with lost memories. But I feel that I should be open and look out for other approaches as well.

I added the photo and newspapers clippings randomly and intuitively. I was not sure how to work with them visually – so this left me unsatisfied. Need to see better approaches, narrative, visual meaningful incorporation. Perhaps it was the reason why I eventually poured over the paint.

Ground #2: Mixed Media and oil paint on watercolor paper 300 g/sqm (50 x 70 cm)

I applied first a rough ground with incorporation of found sand and smaller particles, some pigment. I glued tissue on the support and continued with oil paint with the goal to differentiate rather abstract areas of matte and glossy, transparent and opaque layer of paint. I learned that for that purpose oil paint is much more suitable than acrylic paint. See my experimental larger scale painting in part 1 – project 2 – Contextual painting  Rothko )

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Ground #2

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Ground #2

=> I experimented with the paint, following underlying textures, and letting the fluid paint (turp, oil) drop down. I used turp diluted oil paint for matte areas, and thickened linseed oil diluted oil paint for glossy areas.

The painting is not finished. I leave it at this stage as part of this exercise to see how I can use it further for my personal project.

Ground #3: Mixed Media, acrylic, enamel and gouache paint on watercolor paper (30.5 x 45.5 cm)

In this painting I was less concerned with my project, letting the underlying texture of pastel ground and plaster bandage inform me about the way forward. Experimenting with enamel paint for glossy surface, adding blots of liquid gouache paint in the wet enamel paint for interesting patterns. An abstract painting guided by chance and fun.

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 1 - Ground #3

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Ground #3



  • Using material as index of interior of buildings can be an approach to make less representational paintings with an intrinsic meaning.
  • Using plaster bandage can be tricky as after drying it starts to get off from the support. I checked with some fellow students and one student suggested to use AMACO Sculptamold, a mix between plaster, clay and paper mache ( . I will test this. Another option could be to work with papier mache, as I already used glue (distemper) for making paints (see Project 1- Ex2 )
  • Working with diluted oil paint gives fantastic visual effects and opportunities. Although through the high rate of dilution the fume of turp is quite strong (good ventilation was needed – luckily I have a separate studio)
  • I really enjoyed the experimental approach in the context of my project. Although I didn’t know where I will go to, not having a premeditated image in mind (perhaps a better starting point), I found some fascinating visuals that I could build on for my project (eg. Triptych painting). However I do consider those paintings rather as studies and not as elaborated paintings. However I get the feeling – and with feedback received from others – that those are valid paintings for the richness and ambiguous shapes.
  • Photographs and newspapers clippings / collage:  I find the use of the photograph in ‘Triptych‘ rather successful, though too small. In ‘Ground#1′ less successful, rather lost and not meaningful.

Next Time:

  • Photographs and newspapers clippings / collage:  Reconsider use and size of them for a meaningful visual appeal.
  • Using textured ground purposeful for more elaborated paintings



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: