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Friday, March 29, 2013

"Sunflower" acrylic on canvas

Sunflower, 12" X 12" acrylic on canvas by April M. Rimpo
acrylic on canvas

Every now and then I have to try something new.  Sunflower is one of those experiments.  I've been combining fluid acrylic with watercolor for a while, but I've painted primarily on paper and occasionally on Aquabord.  Sometime in the last year or so I had purchased a few canvases thinking I would apply watercolor medium to the canvas and use them for watercolor paintings.  However, when looking at my canvases the other day I thought, "why bother with watercolor medium, why not just go ahead and do an acrylic painting on the canvas?".

I have never done a painting in only acrylic. My freshman year in college my roommate painted in acrylic and I was amazed at how quickly acrylic paintings dry. I felt like the edges were too hard for my taste.  At the time I was an oil painter used to having a wet canvas to return to the next day.  Watching her work I thought, "I'll never work in acrylic".

Well you know how they say, "Never say never".  Admittedly, she worked with tube acrylics and I use fluid acrylic by DaVinci.  I like fluid acrylic since I don't have to spend time diluting the tube paint to a water consistency and can work more like I do when painting in watercolor.  (As a side note: I haven't painted in oil in 15 years.  Once I discovered watercolor I haven't wanted to go back.  Although I'm not saying "Never" on that subject.)

I decided if I was experimenting, then I might as well do a subject I don't generally paint in watercolor either.  I reviewed my photographs of flowers and selected one of a bouquet with a large daisy.  As always I played around with the cropping and coloring  and created the composition you see above.  With my composition in hand, I put out small amounts of my paints and jumped in.  Since the paint dries so quickly, I worked small areas wet into wet to get soft edges like watercolors and gradually moved around the canvas.  I returned to areas to add very thin transparent washes as needed to either tame down the colors in the supporting cast or adding white (what a phenomenon for a watercolorist!) to areas that I wanted muted but light.  I wanted the flower in the box to be lighter and more realistic in color but with some pastel blues and green highlights, while the flowers outside the box are bolder in color and include darker blue accents.  Basically, I just had fun since it was an experiment, which meant no real pressure.  If it came out well that would be great, if it didn't that was OK too.

I think experimenting in art is important to foster new ideas in your work.  I'm not sure how often I'll work in acrylic and I don't know how often I'll include the variations of color within a single object as I did with the sunflower inside and outside the box.  However, I might try it again since I now have a little practice behind me.

I'd love to hear what you think about my little acrylic.  Is this a direction you think I should continue to explore or just an interesting diversion?

1 comment:

  1. This was really interesting. Your experimentation is to be commended! You are so right that artists grow by leaps and bounds when they are willing to try new things. I also love that you did the acrylics your own way, and did what felt comfortable for you, as a watercolor painter. The piece is beautiful! I'll check back to see how you're doing with the new medium and what new discoveries you make!


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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