Drip, drop, Olleyfruit

Do you love the mark of the artist?

The sweep or lilt of liquid colour on canvas?

Olley Swain painting twigs

Sally Swain © original art
acrylic, twigs and other stuff
inspired by Margaret Olley

There’s something about

seeing the hand’s gestural traces.

This visceral sense of an actual alive artist forms a chunk of my gut/heart response to van Gogh. There is an entry point into a creation otherwise distant in time and place. You enter via a whole-soul, whole-being, embodied perception that this artist really did make this mark with his hand, a brush and some juicy pigments.

It helps bring me present to the artwork.

It helps bring the artist present to me.

We directly communicate as much as we can, while separated by skins, beliefs and eras of existence.

Oh look!

I went a-Googling for van Gogh still life and found Still Life with Pears.This feels in keeping with my unrolling theme of flaws and fruitfulness. And continuing the theme of Imperfection from last week, how about these drips and drops?

Olley yellow room drips

detail from Margaret Olley’s 2007 ‘Yellow Room’ tryptych

I visited the recent ‘Margaret Olley: Painter, Peer, Mentor, Muse’ exhibition in Sydney.

Olley, as far and deep as she could manage, lived a sensual artist’s life.

Olley yellow room painting

detail from Margaret Olley’s 2007 ‘Yellow Room’ triptych

The drips and drops, direct evidence of the artist’s hand, speak to me.

Another artist might have noticed paint slooshing down the picture … and panicked. They might have gone ‘Oh no! A mistake. Freak out. I can’t have this’. They might have scrubbed and scraped to repair the accident, manically trying to create an idea of perfection.

Now, I don’t know whether the driplets and droplets, the streaks and splotches in this painting were deliberate or accidental. I don’t know whether Olley welcomed them or whether her eyesight was failing in later life. It seems to me that they were surprise markings and that she embraced them. She incorporated them into the overall wholeness, the bigger picture.

Olley yellow room painting

slightly less detaily detail from Margaret Olley’s 2007 ‘Yellow Room’ triptych

Can you spot the parts of the painting that the earlier drippy details come from?

How fabulously enriching to literally go with the flow. Perhaps you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Perhaps you can say yes to the blotches and wrinkles of life and turn them into art.

Feel free to share examples of your own or other’s creations – the ones that incorporate the accidental drips.


5 thoughts on “Drip, drop, Olleyfruit

  1. Well, life is full of drips and slops and splashes, and there are always marks and imperfections in our homes ( a microwaved egg exploded in the kitchen the other day, and some of it stuck to the ceiling!, so why not let these things be part of a painting.

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        • Smiling. You remind me of an time from wayyy back in my student share household days in which a bunch of guys sharing a house chose to leave a nasty brown stain on the kitchen wall (exploded tomato paste) because the originator of the stain refused to clean it off…so…well…no-one else was going to either. This was the inspiration for my work: Mrs Munch Bemoans the Tomato Sauce Stain on the Wall. Part of Great Housewives of Art series. So, yeah, even the ghastly stains can be turned into art when you least expect it. x

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