Painting: Rorschach 9, Splat!

Rorschach 9, Splat!, acrylic on 11″ x 14″ bristol paper, July 30, 2012

Rorschach 9, Splat!, acrylic on 11″ x 14″ bristol paper, July 30, 2012

Rorschach 9, Splat!, acrylic on 11″ x 14″ bristol paper, July 30, 2012

Rorschach 9, Splat!, acrylic on 11″ x 14″ bristol paper, July 30, 2012

Blobs of paint, happily unsquished, just before being forced through a crucible

For the background I applied wax resists (yes, scribbled on it with crayons), before adding yellow and red washes.  Then paint blobs and the inevitable fold.

Many animals use tools — humanity is far from alone in this, as we once presumptuously presumed.  I’ve seen a horse pick up a board in its mouth to scratch it’s belly with.  Some monkeys drop nuts from great heights onto a large stone to crack them.  Then they let them age and dry for days until they’re at the point where they can be shucked and eaten.  It’s quite a process.  Some chimpanzees show exquisite skill in selecting just the right blade of grass to use “termite fishing” in termite mounds.  They know just how to wiggle the grass or let it rest to maximize the number of termites that climb onto it before they pull it out and eat them.  This is an expertise so fine that the anthropologist studying them could not master the skill himself.

Yet we are the only animals that have built skyscrapers, airplanes, spacecraft, telescopes, and an internet.  No other animal has produced anything to rival even our neolithic stone constructions, as far as we know.  No, I take that back — beehives.  We differ in degree, not in kind, but it seems we differ greatly in degree.

I think it would be a very interesting experiment to teach a chimpanzee to bake bread, or some other recipe with definite process and pitfalls, but which the chimpanzee would not be interested in eating the ingredients before hand.  That part might be difficult.  But running with the idea of bread, it would be interesting and informative to see if, a) a chimpanzee could master the skill of baking bread, because baked bread is its own reward — and a food reward at that — and baking bread is challenging for many people, myself included.  Even more interesting would be to, b) monitor this chimpanzee baker over time to see if a chimpanzee could internalize, comprehend, and fathom what they’re doing well enough to make changes to the recipe to suit their taste.

I think this could be extremely informative about the mental capacities of our closest species relative.

Someone should do a study.  Me, I’m just going to keep painting and wait for an article about the study to show up on the internet.  🙂

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Painting: Rorschach 9, Splat!

  1. I think you might find this interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk. On your painting: I really like the way you started this off. The wax and then the yellow and red washes are brilliant! Then for the “real McCoy”… Blobs of paint happily squished forming lovely animal faces! Great way to kick start August!

    • That was interesting. Thanks! I suppose the elephant that stood on the rope demonstrates a deeper understanding of the process, and how to ‘improve’ the outcome. Interesting that that finding was unintended! 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words! You always have such nice things to say! 🙂 But I don’t know about ‘brilliant’. 🙂 I just wanted to see how some wax barriers would effect how the washes flowed on the paper. I am wondering now what else I could do with wax resists… Could maybe do some interesting things with drips…

      You often see animal faces in these. I usually see bugs. 🙂

  2. i like the bottom one the best, in which i see an abstract image of a swimmer doing the breaststroke coming towards us. there are orangutans addicted to cigarettes, maybe they can roll their own?

    • Someone has been watching the Olympics! But yeah, I can see that too.

      Ok, maybe they could roll their own, but we’d also need to allow them to select their own tobacco and concoct their own blends… But where are these orangutans and how did they pick up the habit??

  3. I really like how you post the before pics.

    • Thanks. That’s by popular demand. 🙂 You should take at least 5 pictures of your sketches at various stages. For the two I’ve watched you draw, I’ve found it interesting to see how they finished, from what they looked like initially. As the artist, you see the direction they’re going all along, even if they surprise you. But people outside your head don’t see any of that until they’re almost finished imo…

  4. Dani

    I see an Asian woman in traditional dress.

  5. Simply great looking work Z. Impressive.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and interpretations! Your comments and likes are what keep the paintings and posts coming. :)

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