Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brushless abstract

As a novice artist, I have been tempted to view the materials as being incredibly important to the artistic output. After much frustration and the inevitable education that comes from "just doing it", I have come to realize that materials have their limits. The most expensive brush, paint or background cannot make up for what the artist must bring to the process.

Summer Flowers was inspired by my use of a clear glass kitchen cutting board as my palette. I keep it on top of a white work table so it serves as a perfect surface to lay out or mix paints. Afterwards, I just let the paint dry then spray it with water and scrape off with a knife. After I have used a number of colors on the glass, sometimes I can see interesting patterns. So for Summer Flowers, I laid out an arrangement of heavy-body acrylic paints (yellow ochre, cadmium yellow medium and sap green) then sprayed generously with water. As the colors began to run together, I took a bunched-up paper towel and dabbed a few clear spots on the palette. I dropped in fluid cadmium red into these spots. Then I took a block of Arches 140lb watercolor paper and put it on top of the palette with just the pressure of my hand. I held it there for about a minute to let the paints grab on to the paper. When the block came off, there were not only interesting patterns but also organic textures suggesting leaves and flowers. For the few places that the paint did not reach, I rolled up a small plastic bag and dabbed in and out of the paint to cover up the glaring white paper.

Summer Flowers, Acrylic on 140lb watercolor paper, 9"X6", $50 (unframed)

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