Saturday, September 26, 2009

Intense studio day yields some answers

Last week was my first full week of the semester, and I didn't have a second of extra time to paint between Monday and Thursday, so I had it carefully planned that on Friday (yesterday), I would do NOTHING but paint.

I created the painting here, which is 40 inches square on stretched canvas. I enjoyed working on this piece very much, and the process made me decide that I'm going to revisit two techniques I developed in graduate school (12 years ago!) to enhance acrylic applications -- namely, oil sticks and tissue paper.

The oil sticks, to me, MUST be R&F pigment sticks. Unfortunately, because they are an extremely expensive brand, but fortunately, because they smell HEAVENLY and they interact well with acrylic -- i.e., they sit on top of acrylic if you want them to, but can be obscured with additional layers if you want them to be. (They must be R&F because no other brand is so creamy or offers such unique colors.)

With the tissue paper, I used to tear it and place it (fairly) randomly on a fresh canvas, and that would determine how I would compose the painting. It must be a dark color -- brown, black, navy, wine -- so that this layer will hold its place as a background, and it must be the kind of tissue paper that loses color when it's wet, or it will remain too solid and dull. (Beautiful colors result when the dyes run, colors that you couldn't mix on purpose.)

I think these techniques will work well with the direction I now seem to be taking -- curving lines on a square surface -- because I am trying to create some degree of depth, and the all-over lines I usually use threaten to be too flat. (While I'm sometimes going for flat, in this case, I think implied depth could be intriguing.)

So we'll see. I just drove to three stores before I found the right tissue paper, and I'll have to order the pigment sticks, so it will be a while before I can put this plan into motion. But for now, I'm happy to be starting in a new direction (still influenced by the old).


Anonymous said...

Interesting post Catherine.

I am anxious to see how this new technique will appear. I spend a good deal of time looking at (into) each piece you post.

You mentioned that you are looking for depth and yet I find that you have so much depth in your paintings frequently.

One little question Catherine - does it take a long time for oil sticks to dry on top of acrylic? If so it must take a long while before you can move on.

Thanks Catherine, Sherrill

Martha Marshall said...

Sounds like fun, Catherine. I know you'll get some nice results from the sound of it.

I like using oil sticks on top of acrylic, but haven't for a while. I to love the buttery feel.

Catherine Carter said...

Yes, Martha, it is like drawing with big (colorful) sticks of butter!

Sherrill, the oil stick seems to dry completely within a day or so, as I recall. And the marks made are thin enough that you can paint over them with acrylic immediately, without a noticeable trace of smeared color. (I should note, I am drawing lines in isolated areas. If you filled in large shapes, it might be different.)