Experimenting on my experiments
As the pandemic continues and getting art supplies is not as simple as it used to be, I continue to experiment (using the supplies I already have). But my experiments are all over the place. I’m experimenting on my experiments.
I kept trying to achieve the loose effect I used to get with watercolor and then later with acrylic on raw canvas. So first I took a canvasboard, flooded it with water, and then dropped in some acrylic. When it dried, it WAS nice and loose … but kinda boring. So I tried to define the sky a little more, added the ground and had the white cloud overlap the tree tops. Voilà: my fantasy landscape:
I didn’t want to repeat the watercolor attempt, so I just tried to blend the acrylic paints directly on the canvasboard for a new sky and then added darker colors on thickly for the ground. More like a “normal” acrylic painting. Smoothing white on top made an interesting sky and then I made the water more active to balance it out: Ghostly.
My third experiment was acrylic on stretched canvas. I blocked in the basic colors using fluid acrylics and then stroked in the details using a bristly house painting brush: Moonlight. So far so good.
Last, but not least, I gessoed over a stretched raw canvas with a disastrous painting from last year, and then tried again to block in the major color areas. After that dried, I added the brush strokes using fluid acrylic: Ghost Light II.
I don’t know how many of these — or even which ones — I’m going to love when a little time has passed. The goal is not to produce paintings I love (although that’s okay if it happens), but rather to decide what technique I like enough to continue … or come back to.
The new exhibit at The Blue Door Art Center is aptly named, Global Expressions – A Celetration of Cultural Heritage. It includes 4 of my paintings based on my memories of various overseas trips and my reactions to COVID19. Here are two of the four.
When theaters are closed and dark (as in a pandemic), they keep a “ghost light” on. I suppose it’s to make it easier to find the things that have to be turned back on when they reopen. Somehow the phrase “ghost light” stuck in the back of my mind after reading the NYTimes article. I didn’t want to paint a real theater with a real ghost light, but did want to convey what the words meant to me, the hope that everything would get turned back on.
Although my trip to southern Africa was almost a year ago, I continue to be captivated by my memories of spectacular African skies.
The Blue Door Art Center, 13 Riverdale Avenue, Yonkers, NY is open Fridays 3-6, and Saturdays 1-6. The work in this exhibit is quite remarkable and well worth the trip.