Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, October 19, 2014

"To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul." -- Cicero

Friday, October 17, 2014

My First Pour: The Final Results

After tweaking and tweaking some more, my first poured painting went from this:
Too much green!

To this:
I'm happier with it now that some of that green has been covered over.

These closeups show how many more colors were added to reduce the excessive amount of green:

 Golden Polymer Medium vs. Liquitex Pouring Medium

After the first pour, made with Golden's Polymer Medium (Gloss), I decided to switch to Liquitex's Pouring Medium just to see if there was any noticeable difference. And there was. While the polymer medium produced an incredibly deep layer with a "surfboard shine," crevices appeared on the surface as it dried. While some folks might find these to be acceptable, they bothered me.

So for subsequent layers I switched to mixing my fluid acrylics with Liquitex Pouring Medium. This product produced a smoother surface but it didn't have quite the ultra shiny finish I was hoping for. It was glossy but not quite as glossy as the polymer medium.

Now, it's entirely possible the age of my bottle of pouring medium may have had something to do with it. It was already several years old when I opened it the other day for the first time. I plan to buy another bottle to see whether fresh Liquitex Pouring Medium, used for pouring all of the layers, will produce different results. So the experimentation continues. And that's what's so much fun, in my opinion.

If you've poured acrylics, I'd love to hear what your preferred mediums are and what techniques work best for you. Do you pour on canvas, or do rigid substrates work better for you? Do you use fluid acrylics, or heavier bodied paints? To share your views, just click the Comments link below.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seeing Possibilities in the Mundane: Altering Photos for Art Use

Recently I was sitting on a beautiful deck shaded by a canopy of trees. I couldn't help but notice the intriguing patterns the sunlight was casting all around me. Then I began to look really closely at other features in this idyllic spot -- the rough bark of the trees, the pebbled surface of the concrete path leading to the deck, and the "toothlike" appearance of the wooden steps across from where I was sitting. Thinking I'd like to add some photos to my inspiration file, which I like to tap for collage elements and painting ideas, I grabbed my camera to capture these humble subjects before the light shifted.

Here's a small sampling of what I ended up with:

An ordinary tree trunk
Rotated sideways and altered in Photoshop it becomes a textural element for a collage
Rotated in the opposite direction and colorized, it might be the basis for a future abstract painting
Shadows where a vertical wall met the concrete sidewalk
Changing its color and exaggerating the saturation results in something quite different!.
Ordinary wood steps on the deck
Those same steps look more interesting now, don't they?
I really liked this pattern on the patio lantern.
Photoshop turned it into something quite dramatic.

Playing with the color and saturation levels introduces a whole new look entirely.

Even if you don't have access to a photo editing program you can still take pictures that can inspire you, be used as image transfers, or be altered manually. With digital photography the sky's the limit! An indispensable guide to dozens of techniques for altering photos is Image Art Workshop: Creative Ways to Embellish and Enhance Photographic Images by Paula Guhin. It's a go-to resource for me. You can check out Paula's blog, Mixed Media Manic, by clicking on the link in my blog list. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

A quick update on my pouring experiment, described in my previous blog post:

I'm still tinkering with the painting. I think I'm done messing with it now, but I need to go back and clean up the edges where I put blue painter's tape. Overall, I'm happy with the way it looks, but I need more practice with pouring. As soon as I make it presentable (!!) I'll post a photo, probably toward the end of this week.

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's Pouring!

Once in a while it's fun to try something that's waaay out of your creative comfort zone. Inspired by an article by Mary Beth Shaw in the latest issue of Somerset Studio, yesterday I decided to try my hand at pouring acrylics.

Oh wow! I think I'm hooked!

A closeup view of  one section of the painting.

Per Mary Beth's instructions to use a rigid substrate, I used a gessoed-and-sanded piece of MDF measuring roughly 8x8 inches. Although her instructions didn't call for it, I created a "wall" around the outside edges of the MDF with blue painter's tape to help contain the paint and medium.

After laying down a large piece of freezer paper to protect my work surface, I poured a good sized puddle of acrylic polymer medium gloss in the middle of the MDF panel. Next I placed a few drops of fluid acrylics and acrylic inks in various colors into the polymer medium. Then the fun began.

It's all in the moves......

By tilting and moving the panel in a circular fashion, the pigments suspended in the polymer medium started to shift and blend, as the medium began to slide around on the surface, kind of like a colorful, miniature tsunami. Pthalo Turquoise merged with Hansa Yellow, forming brilliant greens that whorled and swirled in a dazzling tapestry of patterns. Quinacridone Magenta encountered ripples of Hansa Yellow, producing a vivid melon color that reminded me of a sunset I saw once on Tybee Island. Cobalt Teal, Titanium White and Ultramarine Blue joined in, as the polymer medium carried them across the MDF in all directions, blending and combining them all into fascinating shapes and hues. Yowza!

Still very wet, this is how the painting looked when I called it quits for the day. I think there's too much green, so I'll let the whole thing dry, then I'll cover up some of the green by pouring another layer of contrasting colors over it. The "white" areas near the upper right- and left-hand corners are actually reflections on the ultra glossy surface.


When I finish the piece shown above, I'll post a photo of it here on the blog.

What I learned:

While creating this piece, I learned a few things:

1. Wear gloves. Or use a barrier lotion. (I failed to do either one and spent 30 minutes trying to get dried paint and medium off my hands and arms.) Pouring is unbelievably messy!!!

2. Test the viscosity of the gloss medium on a piece of scrap before applying it to your substrate.The first layer I poured was a little too thick. It didn't move as readily as it should have, so for the second layer I added a small amount of water to the polymer medium. That made all the difference.

3. Ensure your work table is dead level before you start pouring. This is a must. If you don't have a carpenter's level, a glass of water will suffice. Make needed adjustments by slipping scraps of matboard under the table legs.

4. Don't rush the process. Allow ample time for each layer to dry completely before proceeding further. In our humid climate, letting each layer dry overnight isn't too long.

5. Start small. Six by six, 8x10 and other small substrate sizes are ideal. Pouring is an acquired skill -- the learning curve is easier to master on a smaller scale. Failed paintings can be used, too.

Talk about having fun...pouring acrylics is pure joy. If you want to be entranced and amazed, I hope you'll grab some gloss medium and give it a try!

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, October 5, 2014

"One difference between savagery and civilization is a little courtesy. There's no telling what a lot of courtesy would do." -- Cullen Hightower

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Falling in Love With Fall

Fall is in the air. Have you noticed the change in the light? The subtle color shift in the dogwoods as their leaves begin their transition from green to copper? The stacks of pumpkins now appearing in stores and markets? After the heat and humidity of our long Georgia summer, I embrace these welcome signs of Autumn. It's my absolute favorite season! So I thought I'd treat my readers to a few photos I've taken in years past, just to whet your appetite for the beauty that's almost upon us. Enjoy!

©2014 Lynn Edwards
©2014 Lynn Edwards
©2014 Lynn Edwards
©2014 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, September 28, 2014

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." -- Louis D. Brandeis