Doin’ what I can
I don’t like making excuses (they’re usually so lame), but I had hernia surgery three weeks ago and I’m just not bouncing back the way I thought I would. Okay, as someone pointed out to me recently, I’m no spring chicken, but I still thought I’d be way ahead of where I am today. I’m doin’ what I can, but it’s not what I expected.
I’ve mostly been staying home working in my studio (in between naps, snacks, etc.) and 2 hours here 2 hours there, stuff happens. But I’m constantly tired … even though I haven’t done much of anything.
But let’s talk about the stuff that does happen (2 hours here, 2 hours there). I have a couple of finished acrylic paintings on paper and a couple more in the works.
The paintings that are finished:
This is the kind of sunset I often see at night from my dining room table: pink orange and blue over the Palisades and the Hudson River with the little Spuyten Duyvil bridge making the connection between Manhattan and the Bronx. Almost no matter what the weather, it’s beautiful.
Sundown 12×9 $600
I look at this and I think: it’s a little garish. But then again, sometimes the sunsets ARE a little garish. So rather than tone it down, I leave it very colorful the way it is (garish).
What can I say, it’s what I see. I’m doin’ what I can.
Acrylic isn’t watercolor
Acrylic paint on raw canvas behaves differently than it does on watercolor paper, even though in both cases the acrylic paint is watered down so it looks like watercolor. The advantage of acrylic paint over watercolor is that once it dries, it’s permanent … can’t be changed or lifted as it can with watercolor. The disadvantage is that once it dries, it’s permanent … mistake or not, intentional or not. Even though the finished painting can look like watercolor, acrylic isn’t watercolor.
And watered down acrylic paint on raw canvas isn’t the same as watered down acrylic paint on watercolor paper. Unlike with watercolor paper, Acrylic Flow Release must be added to the water or the paint won’t sink into the raw canvas; it just beads up on top. Getting a hard edge is much harder on raw canvas; Matte Medium must be used with tape otherwise the paint just seeps under the tape in weird ways. You can use masking fluid with raw canvas to get a hard edge, but the masking fluid can be incredibly hard to get off the raw canvas (unlike watercolor paper).
So you can see why the last few months have been a trial and error learning experience for me. Ronnie Landfield and some of the class members have been very helpful, but until you actually do it yourself, you haven’t really learned it.
In no particular order, here are some of my recent acrylic on raw canvas paintings:
This was my very first acrylic painting on raw canvas and I simply got lucky. Everything worked the way I intended.
Even though some things in this painting of my view of the sunset over the Hudson River and the Palisades didn’t turn out exactly the way I intended, I like the end result. We call them “happy accidents.”
This is still very abstracted even though the clouds do look like clouds. I took out the bridge, blurred the Palisades and included the navigation lights and their reflection. You never know what should be included until you try it. Miraculously, the masking fluid for the tips of the clouds and the navigation lights and reflections was easy to lift up. I can’t explain it.
This is a larger variation on my earlier Day’s End painting. While I was busy fixing what hadn’t worked as intended in the earlier painting, the masking fluid for the Palisades Parkway and the little bridge was unbelievably hard to lift off the raw canvas in this painting. Go figure.
As I said, it’s been a learning experience.