I have seen a number of poured acrylics recently and decided to have a go myself. I have always liked the effects of poured paint and experimented with it around ten years ago with oil based gloss paint and below is one of my more successful ventures, Marrakech, which, because of the lightfastness of the gloss paint, now hangs in my conservatory.
I did not think you could get the same filigree effects with acrylics that you could get with the more viscous oil paint and so mainly used the liquid acrylics in a more dilute way such as in Dancing the Blues Away, which I posted some time ago, in 2015, on this blog.
So my prejudice has been exposed and I realise it might be worth experimenting with the liquid acrylics in a more concentrated form. I must admit my first attempt included as much manipulation as pouring as I played around with the paint with a palette knife, but the strands and swirls gave a satisfying result and looking at some of the work other people have produced, further variations can be had with the addition of silicone oil. I will be having a few more goes.
I posted some smaller versions of this a few weeks ago as a trial, and following that I decided to work larger and prepared a canvas with seven layers of gesso to get a smooth surface, sanding down between coats. In the end the smooth surface didnt give the effect I was after which was to increase the flow and mixing of the paints. Still, I was able to develop the theme of searching out form in random marks which has grown whilst I have been working on these pieces – the propensity for the eye to search out otherwise indistinct forms amid the chaos of random mark making, to try to gain insight and purpose into what has been presented.
I quite like this notion which feeds into other themes I have explored in my painting, so despite the setbacks at the start not all has been lost.
I was playing around looking at creating surfaces in abstract ways using tone and colour temperature, but drifted off when things didn’t go as planned and playing around came up with this. As it was quite small and on paper I thought about trying it on a 50x70cm canvas.
I liked the juxtaposition of the organic/formless aspects and the hard defined shapes which I then played around with, breaking up edges and working into. The canvas version is below and I think that it has some merits, although I couldn’t get the mixing I got on the paper – the weave of the canvas preventing it. What I could do is coat the canvas with gesso and sand down. I have found seven applications and sanding gets a flawless surface which might emulate paper and allow me to get the effects I got on the paper. Or I could just go with paper, but then I would need to think about the kind of support I would need.
I will be pondering on this. Meanwhile, other abstract paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
Working on a handmade canvas I thought that I might revert to a style I once adopted. Ironically I used more colours in this painting than in many of the watercolours I paint and it took a lot longer with all the preliminary sketches and the assessment of the marks and then there were the corrections – it fair wore me out.
I have been interested in the notion of the palimpsest, intrigued what may have gone before indicated only by traces, like scraping away the soil over a historic ruin. This has been done on canvas in many ways with, notably, Lucio Fontana and many others. I did a number in this style a few years ago, but they were fairly dour when I was exploring time and landscape. This is maybe a more colourful period, a glimpse of summer perhaps.
Some time ago I posted a version of this painting: see below. It has stood in my studio ever since and I have viewed it on a daily basis. The other day I felt that it lacked structure and tonal contrast, so I took a photo of it, printed a few copies, got the pastels out and played around. I am a lot more excited by the second version. Also with the weight of tone at one end I also decided to turn it the other way up.
Halfway through assembling my upcoming exhibition I thought that I would take a break and mess around with some acrylics. These are liquid acrylics and full bodied acrylics along with some fillers to give texture that doesn’t appear to be showing too well. Anyway a bit of colourful fun.