Parallel project: Further drawings on ‘Difference and Becoming’ (5)

After my smaller experiments on board with charcaol and shellac starting with abstract ground and eventually ended in discernible shapes and forms (with various responses from others) , I continued my journey on Deleuze’s path of exploring at larger scale (around 60-70 x 30 cm, thick matting paper).

#07: Shellac and charcoal powder on paper (32 x 60 cm) – Fig. 1

What initially was just an abstract filled ground with flowing charcoal lines, became – with some perceptual ideas – a figurative abstraction a two heads in profile.

SJSchaffeld - Difference and Becoming - #07, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017

Fig.1: SJSchaffeld – Difference and Becoming – #07, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017

#08: Shellac and charcoal powder on paper (32 x 60 cm) – Fig. 2-3

What started with a dense charcoal covered groundwith additional diagonal markings made with a stick, became a 3/4 backview figure with a large head.

Two steps of formation and becoming:

..and the final formation:

SJSchaffeld - Difference and Becoming - #08, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017

Fig. 3: SJSchaffeld – Difference and Becoming – #08, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017

#09: Shellac and charcoal powder on paper (32 x 70 cm) – Fig. 4-6

For this I used a less dense matting board/paper, absorbing much more the shellac liquid.

Work in progress: starting with shellac and pouring over charcoal

After drying I was wondering how it can go ahead. The shape of the shellac was bulky, nearly overwhelming. At some point of time I felt inclined to look ‘inside’ of that shape, perhaps more to discern from there. It eventually became another figure. I felt pressed to make it a ‘realistic’ figure, although proportions and gesture are quite odd. But I also didn’t want to press too much and lay another image over the ground. Would have bee quite a different approach. Not saying one is better than the other – but here I felt my struggle between ideas (in a Deleuzian sense) and intuition (in a Bergsonian sense)

The ‘final’ formation:

SJSchaffeld - Difference and Becoming - #09, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017

Fig 6: SJSchaffeld – Difference and Becoming – #09, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2017



  • It was another fascinating ans surprising experiment with shellac and charcoal. I found the medium (kind of opposites of fluid and solid) allowed enough space to explore various marking and shapes alongside a great deal of chance and serendipity without pushing my ideas ‘onto’ the support too much.
  • Fig. 1 went very smooth and straighforward. Shapes and forms appeared nearly immediatetely.
  • Fig. 2 needed some time break between the establishment of the abstract ground and the formation. But eventually I felt inclined to ‘follow’ the ground to differenciate itself
  • Fig. 3 was another situation. Perhaps I felt too much under pressure to continue the same way. But it seemed the ground didn’t enable that smooth transiition towards formation. There are two aspects that I feel important to capture:
    1.) It is not always the outer shape that discloses form, looking inside (shifting perspective) opens at times new ways of seeing and performing
    2.) At one time I ‘see’ or have an idea forms/figures. At that point I became aware of the shift happening in my approach. The ground ‘returned’ to be a ground only and my idea of a figure became dominant. Here, I felt that to represent my idea onto the ground went too far, or another way. My decision in that drawing was to mainting my struggle and satisfy both, a) the ground to differentiate itself and b) my idead to be realized onto the ground.
    => Typically in painting I worked the b) path: starting with an abstract ground and laying over it shapes and forms e.g. from the scene in front of me (derived from lines and planes). One example that demonstrates this approach can be seen here ( exercise work from Painting 1 course unit): Painting Project 
  • I do believe that to continue purely from a self-differentiating ground is challenging. Some ideas are there, either pre-conceived derived from images one has seen earlier, or induced by comparing with reference material e.g. models, basically with the skills as an artist in observational figurative drawing or painting. Or all will remain as pure indiscernible and unrecognizable abstraction. Related to Deleuze who stated that

    Difference not as negation but as an unrecognized and unrecognizable difference, a difference affirmative in itself. – Deleuze


  2 comments for “Parallel project: Further drawings on ‘Difference and Becoming’ (5)

  1. October 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Very brave project (considering Rorschach etc.) but worthwhile – I quite like the ‘female presence’ emerging out of the shadows, I wonder how the result would have been using other powders (Italian red) or just soil? and then there is layering to consider – white on top?. What I like is that you stretch you imagination/making so much by such exploration.

    • Stefan
      October 16, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Inger for your mich appreciated comments. Yes, there is indeed a potential for extension into other media and layering . Something perhaps I avoided to do, yet. Perhaps still to inclined to Deleuze’ ground. I will upload later the previous step of the ‘female presence’ that made me aware of when to stop, how ambiguous the picture could, should stay. Indeed a stretch – seeing it as kind of prep work for HE5 units. That’s why I also posted them on IG to see different responses. And still to post some on the OCA discuss forum (besides my assignment 4 finalization for UVC). Will comment on your journey – couldn’t do it yesterday for some connection issues.

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