July 4, 2008

Admin: MailCall


Artist Tamara Lee wrote:

Hi Dennis, I came upon your website as I was trying to do a search on how to create sharp peaks with acrylic molding paste and gels. Yours was the only one that I found that contained pictures of the little round spikes that you've done and I was quite impressed. You called them monads. I am a novice at painting and was wondering if you can teach me a thing or two about that technique. I am trying to incorporate some actual thorns into my painting and was wondering if you could tell me that the consistency of the paint you used, like what type and what type of palette knife you also used.

I have done too much research that produced no results. I was thinking of using a pastry bag but also have no idea if that would produce the spikes. Much appreciated for your help! Thank you.


Tamara Lee

Hello Tamara:

I have two answers for this type of question. One is long and misleading and the other is glib but truthful.

The former: I use palette knives to deliver a hemisphere of wet paint to the surface of the canvas while it is horizontal. I swirl the paint to make sure it is consistent and round. A photo of my palette knives are here: http://www.dennishollingsworth.us/archives/001305.html. I then fashion a probe out of thick paper cut by xacto blades and plunge the probe into the paint and withdraw it immediately to form a tail of paint as the probe exits the hemisphere. I start along the rim and rotate the tails to the top until the monad (my pet name for the spiky balls) is done.

The latter: I spent enough time with the art material until I evolved my own language, a language that is specific to my natural curiosities and my understanding of the art dialog.

If you pursue the former, you might only become a shadow of what I do. If you pursue the latter, you might become an authentic Tamara Lee.

Be careful!

I wish you all the best,


PS: Then again, E.H. Gombrich once wrote in "Art and Illusion" that to find out who you really are, it is best to copy someone you admire as exactly as you can. Inevitably there will be differences. It is in those differences that is the uniqueness of you yourself.

Dhriag Singh wrote:

I love what you've done to that picture! Looking forward to more velvet punditry.

I am a recent and accidental painter, please check out my works @ http://bodhishop.blogspot.com


(I took to heart his claim to be a young painter, so I dropped the kind of good advice I got when I was a pup.)

Hello Dhiraj:

Thanks for tuning in, it's much appreciated.

Good luck to you with your artwork, you've got an interesting start.

When I started out, I took the following advice to heart:

-to read history and theory
-to see actual artwork in galleries and museums
-to make something every day.

Getting out into the thick of an art center is good thing to do.
New York is the biggest, but London/Berlin/LA would be decent substitutes.

Remember, there are many artworlds. Choose the one you want to engage in with some care.

It's called the dialog, but as to what it is or where it is, this is a big bone of contention.

All the best,


Posted by Dennis at July 4, 2008 9:37 PM

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