Happy Spring! It's greening up here, the gardeners showed up today to take inventory and begin the season. The winds are up, something that I now know is a near constant this time of year, east of the Front Range in Colorado. A person can almost tell the time of the day by the winds. They nearly always kick in right at 12:00 noon. Painter and friend, Dave Santillanes, a native of the area, told me that last week. I've been paying attention and Dave is right, noon it is!
Why am I painting winter then? I'm taking a little break from getting all of the paintings that I sold during February ready to ship. I have all of these very fresh studies in the studio, and the memory of painting them, that I am still in the middle of churning through from last month. The painting urge hasn't let up, I'm giving it it's needed fix. There is nothing better than having fresh studies and the memory of the experience to paint from in the studio... except painting them outside! This weekend is going to be devoted entirely to packing and shipping all of the art sold. Thanks again to everyone who purchased a painting, or two, or three. I'm grateful for that support.
To further complicate my life, I've been painting with Golden Open acrylics in the studio. I'm not sure why, except that I like the solvent free aspect of them, the ability to stop and start at any time on a painting, not having to wait for it to dry or stay wet if need be. I think that I'm also overdosing a little bit on solvents and driers like Liquin.
I'm not complaining, but I've noticed that when I'm using a lot of either of those type of ingredients in my oil painting, which I do often now so that I can better control the drying time, I have some issues with congestion, slight headaches and watery eyes. My plan is to use the acrylics for awhile to see if that clears up. So far, I'm already able to see an improvement. If I don't go nuts trying to get a grip on the acrylic monster, I think it might be a good move.
Working with them is more like what I like about working with pastels... I can lay down paint/pastel, and very quickly work over it. Immediately with pastel, almost immediately with acrylics. Glazes, scumbling, are all great techniques that I like to use in oil painting too. My patience is getting shorter though, it takes too long for the oils to be ready for me to do that like I want to. If I had an area to 'rack up' paintings while they dry for these techniques with the oil paints, I could see working on a number of paintings in stages at a time. I don't. If I have 4 paintings done, it's crowded in here, and there's no where to add a rack.
With the acrylics, the drying times of these newer 'Open' acrylics, work right along with me. I paint pretty fast normally. The acrylics are almost begging for the painter to do that with them. So, they and I, seem to be working pretty well together. Taming the monster that they are, is really getting used to a process of painting with them on their terms. Once I do that, I love what they have to offer. Stay tuned...
What I'm posting here are two paintings painted from the two studies I'm also posting. That's not always a great idea, but for interest, that's what I'm doing. Don't think that I am trying to exactly copy the studies, I'm not. The studio paintings evolve from the studies, as you can see, and are usually more complex. That's the case with both of these. Field studies are the soul of the experience, the journal of your time, and are why I paint outside. The studio painting is a further exploration of that memory and experience. I like both. Since the grass is greening up, and the snow is long gone, the only way to explore either of these ideas is to do it in the studio from the studies. I didn't take any photographs in February of the locations I painted, with a couple of exceptions. So if I'm going to paint up any of the February paintings, it will have to be done only using those paintings as reference, or the photos of them once they're out of my studio.
Both of the larger paintings are painted on acrylic primed linen. "Freeze in the Air" is painted on a Frederix linen called 'Antwerp'. It's one that I've used a lot of over the years, but it's really pricey. I mounted it on a cradled birch panel, after first putting down two coats of GAC 100 (A Golden Product) to seal the wood, preventing acid migration into the surface of the acrylic paint. It's a problem with oils and acrylics, but more of a concern with acrylics. The moisture in can leach out the impurities from the underlying wood as it dries, pulling them towards the wet paint. That can cause discoloration in the paint film. GAC 100 seals the wood, providing a barrier between it an the painting. I glued down the Antwerp using Lamin-All glue.
The other painting, "Frozen Hollow", was painted on a stretched Utrecht linen (Type 66J) that I've had for many years. I used to make my own lead primed panels and stretched supports, with RSG and this linen. For this painting, I stretched it on some heavy duty bars that I first sealed the edges of with the GAC 100, then sized it with one coat of GAC 400, followed by 2 coats of GAC 100. The GAC 400 is for stiffening fabric, which is nice because without using rabbit skin glue (RSG), it's hard to get that drum tight stretch on linen. The GAC 400 helps to replicate that somewhat. Following a light sanding, I applied 4 coats of acrylic dispersion primer (mistakenly called acrylic gesso, it's not gesso), with light sanding in between coats.
This was a test of sorts... I learned that I prefer the linen mounted on board, and will continue that way when painting with the acrylics. It's nice to be able to 'lean into' the painting with p.knives and brushes when it's on the board. Can't do that with the stretched linen. Plus, the whole process of stretching and prepping the linen from the raw state was time consuming and it didn't give me any particular advantage. I didn't like painting on it as much as I did the glued down linen. I may continue to use the raw linen (hell of a lot less expensive than pre-primed even though it's acrylic priming) and prime it myself. I didn't notice much difference at all, painting on pre-primed vs my priming it. I used Golden 'Gesso'. That 's what they call it, it's acrylic primer.
Thanks for looking in!
"Freezing Fog #2"
Oil - 8x10
Acrylic - 20x24
©Marc R. Hanson 2014
"Freezing Fog #3"
Oil - 8x10
"Freeze in the Air"
Acrylic - 18x24
©Marc R. Hanson 2014