I have spent the last few weeks experimenting with abstract forms using acrylic paints. Never having painted with acrylics before, I can tell you there were a lot of frustrating moments. I decided halfway through my experiments that I needed to learn about using the medium.I googled using acrylics and found some useful links. I became inspired by one artist in particular by the name of Carol Nelson - her site is really worth a visit - and on her blog she very generously shares some of her techniques. I would love to do one of her workshops. Anyway, after trashing most of my attempts, I saved these four which I will mount on a black board to give them a little more depth. The only one I really am fond of is this first one where I poured fluid acrylics to get this look of a stormy sea. They are all 8" x 10" painted on canvas. I still have to varnish them but I'm waiting until after a demonstration Saturday at my local art store by the people from Golden Acrylics. Maybe my abstracts will improve once I find out more from the experts.
Butterfly Image - the body is painted aluminum foil
Flashes of Red
This is totally outside of my comfort zone in terms of color choices. I wanted to do something semi abstract to enter in an upcoming juried exhibition titled "In the Red" at the Sebastopol Center For The Arts here in northern California. I thought the exhibition title invited one to think outside the box. It will be interesting to see if it gets in. I did enjoy using my Daniel Smith colors for this. I am really getting to like their watercolors. An added bonus is if they go hard in the tray, all you have to do is rewet them and they come back as strong and vibrant as when they were just squeezed from the tube. I used quinacridone gold, transparent pyrrol orange, Pompeii red and Payne's grey. I also dribbled some sepia acrylic ink over the bottom area to help tone down the colors a little.
More experimenting with acrylic inks. I feel I need a lot of improvement still and need to branch out a bit. I do like the colors in this experiment though. For any of you who have never seen Ann Blockley's acrylic ink paintings, they are definitely worth a visit, as is all of her work. Click on her name to go to her blog post. There is a lovely acrylic ink painting just below the post for her latest book - which I will definitely order. She is a great inspiration for the kind of watercolors I like painting.
I was lucky enough to get two nice gift certificates for Christmas to my favorite local art store. It is fun to browse around and buy materials for experimenting without having to be conscious of the cost. In 2013 I started to experiment with acrylic inks and had some successes which I have posted previously on my blog. I bought a few more colors this year and was excited to do more experimenting. The first two attempts were not that successful, but I was pleased with this third try. I found that it worked better if I applied a layer of gesso to the watercolor paper and let it dry before applying the inks. Playing around like this really helps one loosen up.
Trying different color combinations with glazing. The sky is a mixture of indigo and Indian yellow. I was pleased with the effect of the glow in the lower sky that one can sometimes see when the sun rises in the morning. The hills and trees are mixtures of burnt sienna and ultramarine and some acrylic sepia ink and some dribbling of granulation medium.
It was very difficult getting the colors right for this posting. The watercolor is actually a little darker than it appears here, especially in the foreground. I wanted to paint an atmospheric night scene using a range of blues. It took about ten coats of glazing to get to this stage. I almost abandoned it halfway through because it looked uninteresting. For the last stage I decided to take a rough painters brush and using Daniel Smith's indanthrone blue mixed with neutral tint I swept the brush back and forth and left it to dry. I think it really made the sky come to life. I then had to come up with something interesting to paint in the bottom third of the painting. It had to be something simple that did not detract from the sky, which I wanted to be the focus of the watercolor. I was pleased with the end result of this piece. Size is 14" x 10". I used indigo, French ultramarine, indanthrone blue and neutral tint for the sky, and burnt sienna with French ultramarine, raw sienna and a little sepia ink for the land area.
It's that time of year again. One of the things I miss most since moving from the east to the west coast is how the leaves change color in the fall. What I don't miss is having to rake them up - but it is a beautiful sight while it lasts.The photos of the different stages accidentally got deleted so I will describe them for you.
Stage 2: I proceeded to splash more Indian yellow, transparent yellow and a mixture of Quinacridone burnt orange and aureolin onto the sheet. I spritzed this lightly with a spray bottle which changes the round dots to random shapes that more resemble leaves. I let this dry completely.
Stage 3: For the next to final stage I crumpled up some saran wrap into a ball and dipped it into all of the same colors - plus some Daniel Smith olive green to add some darks - and dabbed this all over the piece. When this was dry I brushed off the masking fluid and painted the tree trunks and branches with a mixture of quinacridone burnt orange mixed with French ultramarine which makes a very nice grey. I added a few more dabs of paint to make the colors a little richer. The final step was making a darker mixture to paint the markings on the bark.
I often do small sketches to try out different techniques and color combinations before starting a larger painting. The one above is 5" x 7". I was playing around with the new acrylic inks that I bought and was experimenting mixng them in with regular watercolors. The cliff is made up mostly of the acrylic inks. The watercolor below is just a little larger but was also done to test color selections. I find it very useful to do these small sketches. It also is a good exercise in loosening up because I do them rather quickly. I usually use these as greeting cards for family and friends. I cut and fold watercolor paper a little larger than the sketch and then glue the painting to the front of the card. My friends and family love getting these original greeting cards. However, I really like these two and decided to put them up for sale on my web site.