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By John A. Barry And Bill Carmel

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About this blog: John Barry is the creator of trAction Painting, a process/performance genre in which he applies paint to large surfaces with bicycles, roller skates, and other wheeled conveyances. With Bill Carmel and other associates, he has bro...  (More)

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Wrapping Up

Uploaded: Jul 24, 2015

The last day of camp, and the kids get to see their work behind the work. Once they have pulled off all the tape, they see the geometric figures they created the day before. Depending on where coverage concentrated on day 3, some figures are more distinct that others. Edges of those that were surrounded by pastels pop through more noticeably. Those that paint partially bypassed are less sharply delineated. One equilateral triangle gets almost no paint around the outside edges, but the interior is filled in and has several other colors crisscrossing it. If we'd had more time, the kids could have laid down more paint layers and the figures would have been more sharply defined along the edges. But from an educational perspective, this effect is more interesting and goes beyond geometry. It highlights layers, dimensionality, perspective, and negative vs. positive space.

Finding the tape beneath is relatively easy as its slick surface glistens in oblique light. The kids return to the figures they constructed and start stripping. I ask them to pull the tape off as carefully as they can and carefully affix it to a piece of thin flooring-underlay plywood. Pastels on the tape blend in with the plywood's neutral hues. My plan is to remove the tape later and reassemble it in a more composed manner. But it turns out to be difficult to extract intact from the plywood, and the placement is pretty good from a compositional standpoint. So I'll place a few remaining pieces of tape and have a nice collage, credited?like the painting?to the kids.

The project's final activity is signing the painting. Given that it will eventually be split into three canvases, the camper-artists sign each one. With management's permission, one will hang in the large homework room of the apartment complex where the painting was created. Two will go to Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, or I may keep one for my portfolio.

Going Forward

This is the fourth trAction Painting event we have done in a year, involving dozens of students. Our goal is to take it well beyond what we as a small group can accomplish and bring it to much wider audiences. That goal will be my focus in the foreseeable future, although I do have a project planned for next month. Instead of helping young students create a work of art, I will shepherd a group of mainly older adults through the process of making a trAction painting.

Should be interesting, but probably not nearly as fast-paced.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I am so impressed with what you are doing. I just finished teaching an online class on The Arts for University of Phoenix. I included a link to one of your blogs about Traction Painting in one of my comments to students.

My goal in teaching the class is to "turn students on to the arts," which you appear to be doing very well. My students are all adults, but it's so important to get them started at an earlier age. Great job!


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