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Most Asked Questions at the Art Fair


THE PATH IS NEVER CLEAR
40X40cm on cradled panel.
Framed in a white floating frame
Over 4000 visitors visited the Surrey Contemporary Art Fair. It was very busy most of the time from the time the doors opened until about an hour before closing. I'm pleased to say that many of them visited my stand and several stopped and chatted about the paintings.

Similar questions came up time and time again:

How long did it take you paint that?
I became quite adept at explaining that it was difficult to say, as I worked on several paintings at a time for weeks and I won't have any new paintings ready for a while and then several become finished within a short time frame.

Is it collage?
Perhaps it is because I labeled them 'Mixed Media' but possibly also because the layering can make it look as though there might be paper underneath. The 'Mixed Media' tag was used because various media was used in the mark making, e.g. oil pastel, ink, pencil, coloured pencil etc. Perhaps next time I will just say 'acrylic'. I'd be interested in your take on this.

How do you get that gloss finish?
The paintings are finished with a layer of self-leveling get which is brilliant gloss. This is knocked back by a layer of buffed wax to reduce the shine, although it is still quite shiny. This is a finish promoted by Nicolas Wilton and I am still making up my mind on whether I like it or not - my preference is a satin finish.

There were more questions, which I will save for another post.

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I must admit, because I use a lot of colour, the values can sometimes go awry and I have to always be very conscious of that. So getting more of a grip on this, is my goal for this aspect of the course.

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This one still exists as shown, I have yet to put colour on it
The first one, received some limited palette colour:
I have not taken this one forward and I shall have to find it again in my pile of unfinished boards. I can see it is too busy (so obvious now) and it needs to be unified.

Adding Texture to Acrylics Part 1

My visitors have all gone home and I am enjoy the peace and quiet lost in painting again.

As usual, I am working on several paintings at once but they all look a little flat so I am injecting some texture into them.

The best way to do this is at the beginning of a painting is using gesso or modeling paste. You can also use these on an in-progress painting but, as they are opaque, you will lose any colour already down.

One method I enjoy using, because it brings up a lot of unexpected surprise, is laying down two, three or even four layers of acrylics on top of one another and then scraping through the acrylic.

Use thick paint for the best results and wait for the paint to touch dry before adding another layer. I like to wait until the top layer is just touch dry before dragging the scaper through the paint. The effects are different according to how dry the paint is. Practice this to see the different effects. The wet paint also lifts off some of the dried paint underneath, giving in…

Phases of a painting, are you in the middle middle or the beginning of the end?

Work in Progress Diptych. Where am I in the process?

Recently I listened to a trailer for an interview by Nicholas Wilton talking to Mark Eanes.

Mark Eanes suggested that a good way of looking at the painting process is as a three step process, the beginning, the middle and the end. Each of these have three parts - a beginning a middle and an end, so nine phases in all.

I love this way of thinking about the process and it really gels with me and helps me assess where I am at. I has helped me to visualise what I have done in a meaningful way and how much more there is to do. For example, recently I felt that I wasn't getting past the beginning, but when I stood back and assessed the work I had done and what else I wanted to do, I felt I was further along the process and maybe more to the middle of the middle. Not foolproof of course, but a help.

For example in the work in progress above. I am at the beginning of the end. Realising that, cheered me up no end. 😊


Tell me how you as…