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Experiments can be tricky…

By definition, experiments are things you don’t normally do as an artist. Lately, I’ve been producing very atmospheric paintings using acrylic on raw canvas (that’s a bit of a simplification, but okay, good enough for now). Doing anything different, experiments can be tricky … very tricky.

And now with Covid 19 causing a shortage of some of my basic supplies (like raw canvas), well, experimenting is becoming more common (but still tricky). Fortunately, I have a home studio equipped with a number of gessoed canvases in varying sizes purchased before I became enamored of working on raw canvas. Unfortunately, I really don’t know what to do with them anymore.

So I remembered a technique used by another artist at the Art Students League: big thick brushes, fluid acrylic paint and gessoed canvas, with the brush strokes clearly visible. For some reason which I still don’t understand, it seemed like a way to continue to produce atmospheric paintings, just differently. Most importantly, it seemed do-able.

Started at the League before everything shut down, my first attempt at that castle on the hill I remembered from living in Germany years ago wasn’t exactly a success. So I gessoed over it and started again. This time, in my home studio, it worked.

Almost Clear 2020 20×20

Of course, that was only my first gessoed canvas. I have a number more. Ever hear of “beginners luck?” Well, Almost Clear is the epitome of beginners luck.

My next attempt was so bad I’m not going to post it. My instructor at the League suggested a different technique for the next attempt. He reminded me that I’d fixed part of a painting last year by using a cloth to rub in a mixture of acrylic medium, water and paint.

While I eventually might gesso over my current disaster/experiment, I’m going to experiment first with using this “new” technique on some smaller canvases.

Having been painfully reminded that experiments can be tricky, I don’t really have a choice but to try something new. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up liking one of these experiments. Afterall, painting on raw canvas was once an experiment too.