Just playing around, loving where this has gone so far.
Even in abstractedness, I always see the earth.
So these are a pair of little 6 x 6″ panels. I have a little fixation with texture, so I had a vague idea to do something with collage and see how it worked.
Where I live the rapeseed fields are coming into their own now, dotting the hills either side of the vale with their vibrance. I love their yellow and what they do to the landscape, but not so keen on the sneezing.
The yellow in my paintings are cut from a magazine. I glued and painted and scraped and scrubbed back. I don’t know what I’m doing, but it was fun. I don’t know where this will end up. I don’t even know if I like it. Actually I just looked up from my desk to look at them – no, I don’t like them. It could be the colour – I’m working with acrylics and the colour shifts quite a bit, which is why I always go back to oils. I may even put some oil on top of these.
Time for dinner!
Or rather, my work has!
Last year, I bizarrely decided the world was just dying to own some of my floral oil paintings, which was my bad, as it turned out to be just my mother did!
Ha! I jest, a couple of friends took pity on me too. This was a good lesson to learn – it takes time to grow your art business, and you’ve got to be in it for the long haul.
Since then I
almost went insane worked hard to set up a print shop of some of my work.
But given that I can’t not paint, I have a ton of paintings sitting around – so I thought I’d ask my ever saintly husband to learn to become a framer, because how hard could it be?
Weellll….it’s a bit tricky, but I’m so pleased with what he’s done so far! Like these two shown above. Ironically, the bit I hate is painting them, ironically!
And if I can sell a few then great, if not, I’m hanging up in my house!
I had a vague idea around creating some translucent loose abstract landscapes – and because of this ruled out oil paints. Really, I wanted to try watercolour or very thin acrylic.
Here’s the first:
In parts of this painting I used gum arabic to even the flow of pigment – the pooling is pretty but getting an even wash is a challenge I think. In other parts I used neat vodka to create blooms and movement, as well as tilting and turning the claybord. Not cheap stuff either, but now we’re not thirty anymore, we just don’t drink it, so it’s been sitting around for many years ( I also use it for wetting in pastel underpaintings – it works great!).
I really didn’t like this when I painted it, so wiped it…..now I wish I hadn’t as there’s quite a bit I do like about it now – the colours, the movement, the darker marks of paint bottom right.
I also tried thinned down acrylic (flow release, water and air brush medium):
I began to fiddle a bit with this, so sprayed the whole thing and gave it a swirl. I might go back to this and add either additional thin layers or see what opaque marks I can make without loosing some of this early layer.
In conclusion, Claybord is an interesting support to work on, though I suspect it comes into it’s own for very detailed, carefully controlled and not too wet techniques. The beauty of it is how much easier it is to lift out highlights. It also takes pen and ink, and graphite.
Trying to create something in between, e.g. a loose and splashy abstract landscape is perhaps asking too much me, rather than the claybord!
I have managed a little bit of sitting at my desk though. Early last week I ordered some claybord panels. They fascinate me, and one of my favourite things is discovering new painting surfaces. These claybords are smoooooth. As a baby’s bottom. They’re silky clay. They look a little like a matt tile.
Now according to the blurb, you can put any medium on these: watercolour, ink, acrylic, and oil, though Ampersand, the makers, stress though it can be used for oil, many oil painters find the paint dries too quickly to work with. You can also scratch it, and sand it back to a bare surface again. Wowzers.
I’m not sure why I thought I would get along with these. I mean, I can’t even watercolour on regular paper. Though that fact still remains, I’m still strangely enamored with this surface.
First, I tried acrylic. I wasn’t particularly interested in using it in my usual way: instead I thinned it down quite a bit with airbrush medium and flow release, and a bit of water. When you paint it on, the pigment doesn’t behave as it does on paper. Clay has a different sort of capillary action (I’m guessing), and being smooth, the whole thing can get out of control very quickly.
I absolutely love the edges the acrylic created. I also liked how the pigment granulated in the bottom left.
I also tried a section of the painting with thicker paint. It did go on, but didn’t cover very well. The beauty of claybord is it’s surface and the luminescence it can add to a piece, so I don’t see the point of covering over it so opaquely.
Next up was watercolour:
I love this as a piece of work. I’m not sure the photograph does justice to the quality and translucency of the watercolour though. Here’s a close up:
The thing I do find a little frustrating about the claybord is though it looks white, it photographs a little on the peachy side.
I did of course have a bash with oils. My word – oils dry quicker on claybord than acrylics do on any surface. I was shocked. I tried to put them on thinly, diluted down with Zest it, then linseed, hoping to keep things luminous, but no. The thing about claybord, in what ever medium I tried was, painting over layers that were still wet or damp just meant you went back to the claybord. It was only when I left the claybord overnight that I could add more layers – but only very carefully. So oil on claybord is not for me, but I did quite like this little section here where the Zest it created this pattern:
I also, naturally, tried a bit of pastel over the top of the water colour and acrylic – no can do. Imagine rubbing pastel on glass. It just didn’t cling at all. Having said that, I didn’t try my very expensive soft pastels, this was my Amazon-under-ten-pounds-set.
Ok, I’m blogged out so I’ll try and post part two later this week, and share my attempts at landscape painting on claybord and how vodka came in handy, but not in the way you think!
p.s. this is not a sponsored post! Just if you were wondering.
On Tuesday, I tripped and fell badly, bashing up both knees but more catastrophically wrenching my shoulder – the painting shoulder!
Falling over when you’re past the age of 7 is just awful. Grown up bodies aren’t made for taking knocks like this! Well mine isn’t. The pain was so bad I almost puked on my garage floor. Too much info? Well let me tell you getting a bra on and off has been nigh on impossible since.
Thing is, when you hurt youself like this as an adult its such a big deal! It’s a bloody shock for a start. Which was why I needed cake and chocolate after. Medicinal.
Anyhoo. The whole thing certainly has stopped me in my tracks and made me focus on the now! It’s amused me a little. What else has made me laugh a bit is my poor husband who, as you already know is the Patron Saint of husbandry, now has even more to do! If that is even possible.
So, what’s to do when your laid up? Thank Gods for Tim Berners Lee, as I’ve read all the web. Now I’m about to get on Pinterest so leave your username in the comments and I will look you up!
Sometimes, very occasionally, something magical happens. From your brushes, from the sweep of your palette knife, emerges something so nice, you wonder if you’ll ever be able to top it (actually I already know this, since I painted again since, and produced utter tripe).
You can’t win ’em all, but you can bask in what it felt like when all the planets aligned and somehow you made good art.
And it’s not that these paintings are perfect. But when I painted these it was like I was merely holding the brushes. A human conduit. Perhaps I got out of my own way for a change!