To continue my story from last week about the new brush I bought I worked on a second painting with it. It was a little bit different of a challenge than last week in that I continued a painting that I had already started and intended to do in my old method. I hadn’t put down any oil paint yet but had painted the black line of the picture in acrylic as I usually do. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to shift gears an do this painting in acrylic in the new style I had done that one painting in. It ended up helping that my new style doesn’t really exist yet. It’s in development.

The problem I ran into was the broad expanse of color. How do I paint large areas of color and make them interesting? In my oil painting style I know how to. I can use the texture, direction, and size of the brush strokes to create an interesting visual surface. I can make a large area of the same color paint look nice. It’s what I’ve been doing for twenty years. But acrylic paint isn’t oil paint. It doesn’t have the same surface. In last weeks painting I was using long brush strokes of color to make the surface more interesting. But since this canvas was already started as an oil painting I didn’t have the same long strokes in the image. Hmmm…

One of the things I’ve always thought about when making a painting was impact. Near and far. I use images and I want the image to be interesting when you look at it from across the room but the painting also has to be just as interesting as you step up close to it. The image is the first thing you see but as you step closer you see the paint itself. That’s where the surface comes in. How, why, and where the paint is put on the canvas has to be as interesting as the image itself. The two things working together is what makes things work for me.

So in making a painting with acrylic paint I know I can get the image part down. It’s when you step up close that I’ve been figuring out. It this second large acrylic piece I ended up using more surface texture than in the first one. Though I didn’t want to imitate one of my oil paintings I did imitate some of the texture of oil paint with some acrylic gel medium in spots. This allowed me to hold the brush stroke in certain areas and build up the close up visual interest that I wanted.

I also worked in some brush strokes with my new brush in areas that were, at first, not obvious to me. I started seeking spots out and seeing shapes a little differently. I found that the new brush was also good at making spirals. I like spirals they are always good for visual interest in my mind. The have a life of their own as they reference their own making and continue to swirl in the imagination.

It’s still not there yet this new way of my making a painting. But I am enjoying it. I especially enjoyed stretching my thinking on this one because I didn’t know if I could do it. One of the reasons I’m trying this different way of painting is that I had my normal way down cold. I had a vision of this painting finished before I painted it. By vision I don’t mean any angels coming down from the clouds sort of thing I just mean that I knew what it was going to look like in the end. It certainly can be a good thing knowing what I want something to look like and then making it so but lately I’ve grown tired of it. I want to meander through for a while.

I’m still picking away at this one. A stroke here. Some texture there. I’m nut sure if it’s done just yet. It might need a little more something but I’m not sure. I guess that’s what meandering is.