Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pain in the Butt, But Happy

This is an abstract that does suggest something of an aerial perspective such as that seen by an airplane.

This is a fairly large picture, 24" high by 30" wide.
Mediums: acrylic paint, acrylic skins, acrylic transfer of color survey map, photocopies of scanned images, newspaper.

I got very interested in acrylic transfer of images some time ago and have been using it in my abstract paintings. The paper is pressed image side down onto the acrylic medium and then removed when dry. I get a lot of accidents that way too, as I can never get the transfer "perfect", little nicks or worn away spots add more interest, and keep me on my toes. I sometimes fix up details with paint so that you don't even see them, or I let them show when they look interesting.

My neighbor was throwing away a thick role of old maps and building plans in a "FREE" pile outside his house. I thought I might use them some time. A little voice told me, no, you always say that, you mean to use it some time and you never do, and you end up with a lot of junk, but I told the little voice to shut up and found a place for them.

With composition, usually improvise. In this one it was especially so, as I had to play it by ear there were so many competing images and so many colors brought into the mix right away, although the painting early on seemed to resolve itself into four areas, reading counterclockwise, 1) an area of red, yellow and purple accents on a peach background, 2) an area of white and red on a background of warms and greens with newsprint transfer, 3) an area of pink with mostly xerox transfer, and 4) a large area of green with most of the map in the upper right.

The lines of the map sort of fulfilled the "drawing" part of this project, although I often do mixed media with drawing I do myself.

The contours of the map seemed to echo the arcs in the images that I had in the xerox transfer. I used sgraffito and tiny painted lines to echo the grid of the map. I brought in painted arcs of varying sizes to transfer the eye between areas.

Now, I submitted this to an online painting site, and I got the incredibly useful feedback that one line was too dark!  You can read the whole exchange here:
*Sigh* I had already varnished it. It's acrylic, so it had had several days to cure. I decided to go ahead and remove the MSA varnish from the area, reduce the contrast of the line, put an isolation coat on it, and then revarnish the detail!

Well, fortunately, that worked.  In fact, I was gratified that it was selected for the best submission of December 2011.  

Here's the (corrected) painting.
Land of The Space of Today

Some Tips and Tricks

  • Underpaint color variations onto canvas before transfer, light colors work best
  • Cut up paper to be transferred into parts and rotate them at angles to make interesting
  • Interesting shapes by moving objects in a scanner or copier
  • Easy acrylic skins--paper palettes--cutting out the sections you want and transfer them face down onto the acrylic gel.
  • Acrylic gels and mediums or even acrylic paint will work, cover image on paper with them--when DRY, wet with water and scrub off paper (this is tricky)
  • As soon as paper removed cover with isolation coat of acrylic medium
  • Varnishing an acrylic painting, always put a light isolation coat of medium over the painting, then (at least three days later) use a (removable) MSA varnish (I used Soluvar spray) 
  • The isolation coat will protect the painting if you ever have to remove the varnish, even if you thought that was something that would be done by your great grandchildren after you are dead, or surprise, you really, really can't stand a detail. To remove an MSA varnish use Gamsol or mineral spirits. To remove a DETAIL (warning-this is NOT for the faint of heart) mask off the surrounding area with wide painters tape.

1 comment:

  1. This Painting was juried in and exhibited at the International Society of Acrylic Painters annual.