Though I focus mainly on film and digital photography on this blog, I also dabble with acrylic painting from time to time. I started this hobby a few years ago and then went on a lengthy hiatus.
As a kid, I always wished I had more drawing talent. I was better than stick people, but nowhere near the quality of many of my peers at school. Like most kids though, I enjoyed drawing and scratching out plain looking spaceships until high school years where we were all graded and compared to one another. I studied art until I was in year 10 and found myself floundering in class. In fact, I was more interested in chatting to the girls at my table than actually doing any artwork, so I failed the entire subject. It was embarrassing, but not surprising. My take away from that time was that I was simply no good at art, and so I focussed on English instead, which was a more natural fit for me.
Since taking up photography and challenging myself to learn the technical aspects of it, I have found myself wanting to explore other areas of visual art, including drawing and acrylic painting. In one sense, letting go and painting is a way to get over the disappointment and humiliation I felt all those years ago in high school art class. In another way, it is an extension of the very personal and intimate process of exploring myself and my own language. First and foremost, like all creative things I do, it is primarily for me and no one else.
Surprisingly, over the past several weeks, I have managed to complete a number of paintings, and now have them hanging around the house. Here are the six acrylic paintings I have completed in the past month and a half:
The above painting was really frustrating for me. Like most of my paintings, it started out completely differently. After making a mess of it one night and throwing it into a box, I though tnothing more of it. Some weeks ago, I decided to get it out and try again. The above is the result. Not great, but better than where it had started!
Yupo is a Japanese product made of polypropylene. It is basically a long lasting and very durable plastic! Surprisingly, it is great with acrylic, watercolours and inks. Adhesion is not perfect, but if it is varnished when complete, there should be no problems with durability and longevity.
I used a lot more blendiing, dry brushing and wet in wet techniques with this one.
This was a frustrating one to paint. You can see that I experimented with more wet in wet blending techniques in the tree strata, but the finished product was simply dull. Pleasant enough but boring. This is when I decided to use adhesive contact paper to create a mask in the shape of the tree and then paint the rest in orange to provide a lot more colour and contrast.
Like most of my paintings, this one started out life completely differently. After a number of additions and subtractions, I ended up with the above finished piece. I used more blendinng and wet in wet techniques here and refined my favourite brushes into flats and rounds.
I decided to stick to a more limited palette here and explored more blending with harmonious colours. I tried to let go and develop a different visual language on the canvas through a process of automatic drawing with graphite and charcoal, and then revisions with acrylic paint.
My goal with acrylic painting and visual art in general is to let go and allow the little accessed areas of my brain shine through. I often feel the battle between the need to exercise more control and letting go. It is not easy to censor the critic on one’s shoulder.