The first exercise in the finger painting course that I have been following was just to make finger prints. I was really inspired to do this by the exhibition of Richard Long’s work at the Arnolfini in Bristol. There was one small room full of his finger print drawings. Here are some examples:
There are lots of really good illustrations of these pieces on his official website. They really reminded me of the print of the slave ship carrying bodies crammed into the hold for the Atlantic passage:
I found the paintings hypnotic, probably because of the repetition of the same shape: the human finger tip.
The instructions in the course were to use no colour straight from the tube. Everything had to have a little bit of some other colour in it. This resulted into some lovely marbled effects:
It’s not a technique for people who like to control their work.
It also reminded me of my fascination with the flints in the National Museum in Copenhagen. I have blogged before about how you can see all Scandinavian design in these flint axe heads, which have a pure, functional form and a respect for materials which you see in Scandi-style from furniture to textiles. I can stand and try to sketch them for hours. This is a page from a different notebook, pages made at the National Museum in Edinburgh, but the principle holds:
And I have long wanted to do something with these forms as an applique piece. The fingerprints pretty much capture the subtlety of the colours and forms. Possibly the next stage is to try them out on fabric.
They are really compelling to make, and I have done sheets and sheets of them.