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12 Lesser-known Techniques of Art

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

The first practical typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber and patented in 1843, but

was it never manufactured. The first true typewriter to be manufactured, the Hansen

Writing Ball made its public debut in 1870, but it was another four years (1974) until the commercially successful machine took off. 

The first piece of typewriter art was created in 1898, by Flora Stacey, a British secretary,

in 1898 – it was an image of a butterfly composed of brackets, dashes, slashes, and an

asterisk. Since 1898, there have been several major developments within this field,

with Paul Smith being one of the most important figures in this type of art practice.

Typewriter artists use only common office typewriter machine as a tool for image-

making, manually twisting and turning the paper in the feed to strike characters in

precisely chosen spots using a handful of symbols, for example @,%, ^, #, & $ as well as numbers & alphabets.

Even though the typewriters have become obsolete since the developments in

computers, many artists are still working in the field of Typewriter art because they

believe it’s impossible to create such beautiful artworks without a concept and big

talent and no computer art can match the beauty of typewriter art.

Here are the names of some artists who have worked/ are working in this field :

Uday Talwalkar, India

Chandrakant Bhide, India

Paul Smith, America

How to Preserve Artwork? Click here to know more!

1. Soot Painting or Fumage Art :

The name soot means amorphous carbon produced by incomplete burning. Also known

as Fumage meaning: made from fumes or smoke. Fumage is the use of a kerosene lamp

or candle to create smoke, leaving impressions on the canvas.

The technique was invented by the Austrian surrealist artist Wolfgang Paalen in the late

The 1930s and results in a hazy cloudy image suggestive of dreams and apparitions. The

Messenger, created in 1941 by Paalen depicts a ghostly form floating in deep space.

Fumage was also inspired by the surrealist’s attempts to transform automatic writing

into drawing and painting.

Canadian artist Steven Spazuk has used flames in his unconventional art for 14 years.

The fire artist uses flames to create art. Spazuk explains that he first holds a candle in

one hand and a piece of thick paper in the other. He then uses the flame as a pencil and

does on to create his designs using the soot or traces of black carbon. Of course, he has

to be careful not to hold the flame too long in one area of the paper as it could easily

catch fire.

Though Spazuk has spent the last 14 years developing and perfecting his soot painting

technique, the creation process always has an element of random spontaneity and

improvisation. The artist can then go in with a brush, feather, or metal scraping tool to

gently alter and manipulate the soot.

Although not many people are familiar with this type of art form, Spazuk clarifies that

fumage has been around way back in the prehistoric ages, used by cavemen.

2) Ink wash painting

Finds its origins in China and East Asia. The use of black ink in calligraphy led to the popularity of brush painting using the same inks. Ink wash is just like watercolor in grayscale. The difference is, the wash can get darker more easily than watercolor as the ink is opaque than watercolors. And mistakes made with ink wash are difficult to fix. It is a good idea to work with a test paper first.

Ink wash painting uses tonality and shading achieved by varying the ink density, both by

differential grinding of the ink stick in water and by varying the ink load and pressure

within a single brushstroke. Like with watercolor, lighter values of colors are created by

thinning the ink with water.  The more water present in the mixture, the lighter

the value.

Ink wash painting artists spend years practicing basic brush strokes to refine their brush

movement and ink flow. In the hand of a master, a single stroke can produce astonishing

variations in tonality, from deep black to silvery gray. Thus, in its original context,

shading means more than just a dark-light arrangement: It is the basis for the beautiful

nuance in tonality found in East Asian ink wash painting and brush-and-ink calligraphy.

Brushstrokes are carefully studied, with calligraphy masters spending years perfecting

their strokes. Though today colored inks are widely available, black is still the most

common ink used.

3) luminous painting

is made from special paints that exhibit luminescence. In other words, it gives off  visible light through fluorescence, phosphorescence, or radioluminescence.

This water-based paint can be used pure or diluted with other acrylic paints being

fluore /phosphorescent, the final result is glowy, bright, and vibrant. It can be applied to

other non-glow-in-the-dark acrylic paints to give light to your creations. In the absence

of light, these paintings glow and create an eye-pleasing masterpiece.

Cristoforo Scorpiniti an Italian artist who looks to push the boundaries of how we

perceive paintings under the name Crisco Art. He challenges the idea that you can only

appreciate a painting in full light with his artworks that, although lovely to look at in

daylight, really come to life when the lights go out!

Crisco achieves this by using glow-in-the-dark paint to embellish his works, a practice

that basically allows him to create two paintings within the same composition that,

depending on whether the piece is in the dark or not, conceals one of the narratives.

The works transition from day to night scenes as the surroundings get darker, allowing

you to see things the gleam hides.

4) Anamorphosis

is the method of drawing portraits that can only be entirely understood from a certain angle. In other cases, the image will only be correctly visible if viewed through a mirror or any reflecting surface. An early well-known example of Anamorphosis was produced by Leonardo da Vinci which was in the 15th century. Dating back to the Renaissance period, other notable examples of this type of art include The Ambassador by Hans Holbein, The Younger, and Andrea Pozzo’s grandiose frescoes on the dome of the Sant’Ignazio church in Rome.

Over the decades, the technique has been renewed or modified ranging from 3

Dimensional portraits are drawn on paper to some street art that mimics holes or crevices on the ground and even some using regular day-to-day items or furniture to create art.

5) Penwald Drawings are a series of bilateral drawings created by Artist Tony Orrico in

which he explores the use of his body as a tool of measurement to inscribe geometries

through movement and course. His choreographic gestures derive from the limitation

of (or spontaneous navigation within) the sphere of his outstretched arms.

Line density becomes a record of Orrico’s mental and physical sustain as he commits his

focus to a greater concept of balance throughout extended durations of drawings. The

master of each drawing is a conceptual score of Orrico’s efficacious techniques, imposed

variables, and specified durations or objectives. Interestingly enough, Orrico actually

performs these illustrations at museums and festivals, to publicly record his bodily

works of art.

Tony Orrico developed his own physical symmetry practice as a point of entry into his

creative work. In his termed “state of readiness” he is interested in the application of a

present body to a surface, object, or course. He avows that artists must prepare

themselves as they would their mediums. With the notion that creativity is an emergent

force, Orrico is fascinated with how physical impulses manifest into visible forms. He

finds inherent beauty in what is lost through representation(s) and how ideas in motion

may replicate, mutate, or disintegrate.

His artifacts and performances often enter infinities of reflective and rotational

symmetry. Centralizing on themes of cyclic motion and the generation and

regeneration of material, the work draws on the tension between what is fleeting and

what is captured.

6) Splashing refers to a set of techniques using brushes and other implements to flick,

throw, or drip paint onto a painting surface — instead of painting with brushes to create

original abstract art. It is also called Action or Speed painting as colors are splashed

on the canvas rapidly.

At first, an artist draws/paints a portrait of an object on the canvas with transparent

paint. After the transparent paint gets dried she/he fills the canvas with multicolored

paints by directly splashing them over the canvas - and at once someone’s portrait or a

composition appears on the canvas. Then further detailing is done.

Unlike other types of visual art, splash painting needs spontaneity, improvisation, and a

highly physical approach to making art. So it requires no formal training. Enthusiasm and

a playful spirit, on the other hand, are important prerequisites to enjoying the process.

7) Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to

which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a

surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The

word comes from the Greek word encaustics, meaning “burn-in.”

The simplest encaustic mixture can be made by adding pigments to beeswax, but

there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types

of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can

be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.

The extreme heat of the process makes it difficult to control the exact outcome thereby

making each painting unique. The encaustic artist can excavate through the layers with

the torch or iron to reveal previous layers of color and to allow the molten wax to

combine to create new colors. The result is a luminous image encased in translucent

layers of wax.

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or

heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the

surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat

allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because

wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted.

8) Reverse painting on glass is an art form consisting of applying paint to a piece of glass

and then viewing the image by turning the glass over and looking through the glass at

the image.

Reverse glass painting is a fascinating, yet relatively unknown genre of Indian art, which

flourished in the mid-19th century. Widely considered as “folk” art, the art form was

never a subject of serious study. However, reverse glass paintings were held in high

regard and extremely popular amongst all sections of the Indian society in the late 18th

and the early 19th century.

The process began with the artist placing a clear sheet of glass over their master

drawing. Then, they drew the finer lines and details, following which, metallic foil,

colored or gold paper, and sequins, if used, were added. Then, the larger areas of

opaque color – usually tempera – were applied. ‘Shading’ was used to achieve gradation

of colors, and the painting was finally mounted with the unpainted side first so that it

could be seen through the glass.

Artists were required to have a sharp memory as they had to cover the different

components of a painting sequentially. The technique was laborious, and the fragility of

the glass resulted in breakage and loss of many works.

9) Jiří 'Georg' Dokoupil is a Czech - German artist who’s been painting with soap for

decades, mixing lye with pigments and using a wand to inflate massive bubbles over his

canvases — which leave foamy, iridescent shapes behind after they pop. His soap

painting is one of his longest-running series, and maybe the most fun.

Dokoupil stages dynamic areas of tension between chemistry and art as the traces, now

consisting of soap-lye enriched with metallic pigments and diamond dust, accumulate in

the form of two molecular layers and result in translucent bubbles. The resulting organic

forms settle on the canvas with calculated spontaneity, displaying holographic

tendencies and shifting perspectives.

Seeking to reinvent traditional painting techniques, Dokoupil’s pictures are aesthetically

bold and dynamic yet conceptually rigorous.

10) Gunpowder Painting consists of igniting gunpowder poured on acrylic coated canvas,

untreated wood, or any fire-resistant canvas to create mesmerizing artwork. Though

safety is the major concern in this art it is carried out under the guidance of experts.

An artist with permission from officials can buy gunpowder particularly a fine grain

powder. Then she/he draws the portrait or any other picture on the canvas. By using a

squeeze bottle or any narrow-headed container the gunpowder is poured down &

spread on the desired areas of the drawing. And with the help of proper safety

precautions, the gunpowder is ignited. After the gunpowder is burned up the remaining

debris is removed from the canvas.

Famous artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Dino Tomic create such Gunpowder Artworks.

This technique consists of throwing iron powder/fillings on a magnetized surface to

create a portrait or design. It looks like a simple technique at first but arranging magnets/surfaces in a typical sequence is a tricky and time-consuming job.

An artist arranges magnets behind a non-magnetic thin surface in such a manner that

when the iron powder is thrown on the surface it sticks to the specific area only. To

make removing iron powder after the art is complete easier a paper or a sheet is put

on the surface. Then the artist simply throws the iron powder on the paper and it sticks on

the surface and creates the portrait or design you wanted.

Even though this technique gives you temporary art as when magnets are removed or

turned off the powder falls down. Some artists use resin or resin-like liquids to fix the

iron powder onto the paper or sheet.

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