Richard Diebenkorn and Micaceous Iron Oxide

When I came across rules written by Richard Diebenkorn, one of my favorite artists, I identified with them immediately. I also found it quite moving that these were rules for himself and were only discovered in his studio after his death.

Diebenkorn rules—Note to myself on beginning a painting:

  1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
  2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued—except as a stimulus for further moves.
  3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
  4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
  5. Don’t “discover” a subject—of any kind.
  6. Somehow don’t be bored—but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
  7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
  8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
  9. Tolerate chaos.
  10. Be careful, but only in a perverse way.

I especially like rules number 1 and 10.

Micaceous Iron Oxide 

Micaceous Iron Oxide

I first attempted what was not certain by covering a piece of hard board with micaceous iron oxide which I had not used before. It is a very dark medium and it is very gritty, like sandpaper.

I am rarely very careful, so that was not a problem. I just layered on the medium to see what would happen.

I decided to paint a tree because I don’t have to discover how to paint a tree. I have painted many (rule #5).

The acrylic paint went on the micaceous iron oxide in mysterious ways, needing more than one layer of one color and fewer of another. As you can see (Shadows), the under layer was quite absorbent. I like the darkness of the finished painting and I will do another soon.

I love the results and I loved trying to be Pollyanna, which I rarely am.

Here is the final result.

painting showing effects of micaceous iron oxide

Shadows, acrylic on micaceous iron oxide on hardboard, 7×8 inches, matted to 14×18 inches, framed

Do you identify with any of Diebenkorn’s rules?

6 thoughts on “Richard Diebenkorn and Micaceous Iron Oxide

  1. sylvia

    I love the mood of your painting. My favorite rule is: Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable. I struggle with this. I’m always disappointed when the initial fresh qualities get covered over in the process of finishing a painting. It’s hard for me to find that balance between fresh and overworked.

    Reply
    1. Ann Hart Marquis Post author

      Thank you for commenting Sylvia. It is also sometime difficult for me. On one of my current paintings I have had to redo the under-painting that I liked because I kept painting over it. It is a challenge.

      Reply
    1. Ann Hart Marquis Post author

      Thanks Linda. It was a rather spontaneous painting mostly because of the materials that I was using. I have learned many things from my paintings. Sometimes my mistakes have totally changed the direction of my painting.

      Reply

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