Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In the style of Gaston Chaissac


You need:

  1. drawing paper A3 size
  2. tempera paint in primary colours
  3. brushes
  4. jar with water
  5. paper towels
  6. bold black marker
  7. black construction paper
  8. glue or stapler

The French painter and writer Gaston Chaissac was born in 1910. He came from a poor family and was often ill. In 1934 Chaissac moved to Paris and worked as a shoemaker.
He lived in the same house as the German artist Otto Freundlich. It was through the friendship with Freundlich that Chaissac developed the desire to become an artist. He trained himself as an autodidact, supported and promoted by Freundlich. Freundlich also introduced him to the Parisian art scene.

Chaissac exhibited his works in 1938. During his stays at a sanatorium because of his tuberculosis in 1938 and 1939, Gaston Chaissac used the time to paint and draw. After his wedding he moved to the Vendée.

The artist bridged this isolation in the countryside through lively correspondence with gallery owners, authors and artists in Paris. Although Chaissac endeavored to establish a connection with the artist community, he was only valued as an artist by a small circle of gallery owners, journalists, and friends.

As a result, he didn't receive the expected recognition during his lifetime. Chaissac worked as a tireless experimenter and used materials that he found for his works of art - newspapers, shells, peels etc. He painted on every substrate available to him, created pen and ink drawings, watercolours, oil paintings, collages and unusual three-dimensional works. The artist was sometimes classified by Jean Dubuffet with the 'Art brut'. Chaissac himself called his work rather rustic modern.

Gaston Chaissac died in 1964.

Without title, © Gaston Chaissac

View photos of the work of Chaissac and especially the work above. Discuss the salient features: bold black lines that separate colour planes, little depth, simply drawn faces, white planes. What would those white planes mean?

I chose this painter also to repeat colour mixing skills. The students draw on their sheet one head and one or more limbs. Put a pencil mark in these planes, because they have to stay white.
Then divide the sheet with wavy lines into small areas. Students choose two primary colours and use them to mix several colours. Paint the different planes with these mixed colours. Start with the brightest colour and and add more and more of the darker colour.

When the work is dry, outline every colour with a black marker. Bumps will disappear. Finally draw eyes, nose and mouth in the face. Paste or staple the work on black paper.

In the style of Gaston Chaissac, by students of grade 3