Guest Artist for October: Ann Rayment
What Happens when Rules are not Followed?
By Margaret Vickers
Ann Rayment was the guest artist for the October (2022) meeting of the Lane Cove Art Society. She is a contemporary abstract artist who has a love for the Australian landscape. Ann also does portraits “when she wants to challenge herself.” Her presentation held many points of interest both from her creative mark making as well as from a life perspective.
Ann’s first exposure to art education in Tasmania some years ago now was not a positive one. She enrolled in an adult education course to do watercolour. The teacher was a purist which meant lots of rules had to be followed. It served to suffocate Ann’s natural bent for intuitive free mark making that we all witnessed in her demonstration. Rather than giving up art she gave up the teacher. “She never looked back,” when she found Terence Hoff, an art teacher who encouraged a very free approach to doing art.
Collage is the star of Ann’s creative mark making. She will often respond to her surroundings by working in the field. Large pieces of smooth paper are laid out on the ground. Random, very free marks are made by a brush attached to a long stick. “It forces you to lose control,” remarked Ann. Spontaneity and abstract marks are key to the intuitive marks Ann creates. These works are often ripped up and then embedded into the artworks that evolve around them.
For this demonstration, Ann had prepared a square canvas painted bright pink. Ann sifted through a pile of collage bits and selected some which were then placed on the canvas with blue tac. These pieces could be moved around to get the most engaging composition. Only then were they glued to the canvas. No air bubbles should be in evidence and all sides of the collage should be smoothed out to prevent buckling.
For Ann, collage injects interest and inspiration into her artwork. She likes to respond to the marks before her so although they were originally done in the field, now they are abstract studies on a canvas that beckons a response. It was so engaging to watch the magic happen! “You don’t want your work to be too predictable,” she remarked.
To meld the collage pieces into the canvas, Ann painted around them, using a very limited palette, usually only three colours and neutrals but in this instance a fourth colour was employed. A blue, red and yellow were used with a neutral colour. Adding white toned down the colours and allowed parts of the work to pop.
Not using water to wash out the colour on the brush encouraged a harmony throughout the canvas. Remnants of the previous colour were still on her brush as she proceeded to paint in another colour. Glazes can also give unity to an artwork.
Texture is also important. Scratches were freely made on the canvas. Many different types of art products can enrich a painting so Ann suggests artists think about using acrylic pencils, pastels, oil sticks, twigs and bits of string to boost the texture. She also mentioned the gesso she prefers to use. Chromacryl is a student gesso and is cheaper. However, its consistency allows it to flow better producing a more satisfying blended result. Finally an archival spray is used to seal her finished work.
“Experimenting is the best thing,” commented Ann. It characterized her whole approach to creating art. The purity of Ann’s marks gave her work a profound authenticity. “You want people to question your art,” Ann said. How can you find more inspiration in your own mark making? Ann’s very enjoyable and interesting presentation displayed a willingness to embrace the unknown mark. In so doing, she opened a door to an art road of wonder where infinite possibilities of mark making are awaiting discovery. Let’s all try and journey to destinations unknown on our own art path.