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Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Steep Terrain" a 30" X 22" Fluid Acrylic

Steep Terrain
Fluid Acrylic
24" X 18" mounted on 2" deep cradled wood panel

I recently joined Pinterest.  As part of setting up my boards I spent some time looking at art by others and realized a lot of the art I liked most was either abstract or semi-abstract.  The layers of color and textures in these pieces spoke to me.

I have always loved texture and use a variety of techniques to add texture to my watercolor and fluid acrylic paintings, but the pieces I saw by others had achieved so much more by including layers of opaque as well as transparent colors.

I had the beginnings of this painting sitting in my closet for about five years. All I had completed was a wash of three fluid acrylic colors applied at full strength. I set the painting aside because didn't know where to head next.  

This week it finally clicked.  I decided to use the original wash as a base for the steep cliffs.  The first thing I did was wet the paper and add a pale wash of transparent colors over the painting allowing the paint to drip toward the bottom. This created the soft glow of the sky and added some very subtle colors and texture to the the cliffs.  

Once dry I added some white and yellow opaque colors randomly over the cliffs, allowing them to drip from various heights of the cliffs.  After dry I repeated the process but added some pale tints to the white to add more texture and color over the base.  I used pale blue and coral washes along the edges which added some gray and lavender tints along the edges helping to keep my eye inside the painting.

I knew from the start that I wanted to add some abstracted trees to the tops of the cliffs.  When I started to add them I realized they needed to be quite small to help strengthen the height of the cliffs. I started by adding a few trunks and branches in masking fluid, adding color, added more mask branches, more color, repeating these steps as I added darker colors. Once I removed the mask I just had to add a couple lines here and there to finish the trees, but very little editing was needed.

I like the illusion of height and the textures of the cliffs in this semi-abstract painting.  What do you think about the result?  Do you see where this approach might solve problems in paintings you are stuck on?  I'd love to hear from you.

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I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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