12 Months/12 Experiments: March, Works on Paper

The first week in January each year I write down tangible goals for my art business. Most of the items are based around marketing, exhibitions, residencies, grants, and internal business updates. However in order to expand myself creatively, this year I challenged myself to try different techniques, surfaces, mediums, sizes, and subjects in my works throughout the year, even if I didn't plan to sell any of them! In order to actually hold myself accountable for following through creatively, I assigned myself to attempt something new to me each month of 2021.


Originally I wanted to try 12 different painting techniques in 12 different paintings over the course of 12 months, but then I reconsidered as I didn't want to box myself into just painting techniques: I wanted to include experimenting with different surfaces, subjects, and compositions that I hadn't tried yet. Cue: 12 months/12 Experiments.


If you follow my instagram @kerstinglaessart you probably have already seen this painting as a work in progress on my stories.


March- Oil on Paper.

As a younger artist, it seemed like friends always wanted to buy you an art supplies, even if they know nothing about your craft (truly its the thought that counts!). Please, if your loved one creates, buy them a gift card to their go-to art supply store instead of something that they never plan to use. Due to the above situation, I ended up with a bunch of oil-painting paper (and other nice supplies that I have since gifted to students). I have kept the oil painting paper with my other special papers that I never really touch and thats where it has been for at least 10 years. Yes, that might mean I am slight hoarder of unnecessary items. However, this self-imposed monthly challenge offered me an opportunity to use it up (finally!) in a low-risk painting situation.


The paper originally came in rectangular 18"x11" sheets. I cut them down to about half the size, getting two workable pages per each sheet. I had no need to gesso the paper, which was nice. I replicated the negative space border edge on each of the papers like one would a watercolor painting. I uncharacteristically opted for a thicker toned ground based off of my experience with a messy border in January (no water medium to make it thinner). I waited for the ground to dry before beginning my painting.


They all turned out really well! I painted eight studies of a oyster shell I found at the beach in Cape Cod (above). Four studies were of the front of the shell, and four are of the back. My first painting was the most realistic regarding color-scheme, while my later ones took on more of an abstract expressionistic interpretation of the shell's colors. I had fun not only adding color and sculpting around the ground which offered a base of texture, but also removing paint in other areas by scraping and displacing the paint. For the backgrounds, I chose to make a glaze-like overpainting on the ground using a large palette knife to scrape the paint on thinly and allowing a good portion of the toned ground to show through. Layering thin translucent paint on darker opaque paint is something I would like to experiment with again in the future.


I would want to create works on larger sized paper if I were to do this again-- I felt limited to one of my smallest knives for painting which was a bit of a bummer. I think this would be a great cost-effective option for student painters.


Note: At the time of publishing the works are not currently for sale. They are still drying. <3


Update as of March 12: The eight paintings are now for sale in my online shop!


xo, kg