Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time Out to Clear Out

There’s this myth that to be a good painter we need to be painting 12 hour days 7 days a week. So when we take time to do other things guilt raises its ugly head. But, hey, we’re artists. We need time to gather resources, let life soak in, think about things, see art in museums and galleries, commiserate with other artists, take long walks and meditate. This last month I have been cleaning out my studio. I filled a trash dumpster yesterday with over 20 large size garbage bags filled with all types of junk I could have sworn I would include in a collage, painting or some art project. Holding on to lots of STUFF just feels claustrophobic, and is not helpful to creativity. I decided that I wanted to really focus on painting. So everything in my studio that doesn’t fit will go. I donated 20 years of fabric collecting to an arts organization, and boxes of craft items like glitter, clay, fringe and buttons to a children’s art group. I feel lighter. I feel like I can focus. I feel GREAT – except for a few moments each day when I realize its been awhile I haven’t painted. I cleared an area around my painting spot today and will be able to get back into painting within a few days. All this clearing around me will definitely make a difference in my work. I will start with a fresh, new, LARGE canvas and see what happens – unplanned with no expectations.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tips on Pouring Acrylic

I get a lot of requests for tips to pouring acrylic. To get a very smooth glossy finish, pouring acrylic mediums is a great way to accomplish that “surfboard finish”. Pours are also cool ways to get smooth evenly applied glazes or transparently colored overlays.

My favorite pouring mediums are (these are all Golden products) Clear Tar Gel, Self-Leveling Gel, and GAC800. The Clear Tar Gel and Self-Leveling Gel both need about 20-40% water added if you are pouring in a dry warm climate – like out here in New Mexico. You don’t need to add water in wet cool climates. Adding water will enable a thinner layer to be applied. If you apply it too thickly, the top part of the layer will dry first, then the rest of the acrylic will dry slower and shrink down in volume, creating crevises or cracking on the top. Its better to pour a few thin layers, one on top of the other after they dry, then one thick layer that may crack. GAC800 does not need any water added, as it is made especially for pouring, and can be poured very thickly without crevising or cracking. The GAC800 is the easiest to pour, but has a slight yellow or cloudy look to it, that is more noticeable the thicker the pour. I like to use this in thick layers to simulate a wax or encaustic look. When I pour, I pour very gently, from a low height and a soft angle. If you pour from a high height, or vigorously, the medium may jolt out of the container creating bubbles. A light spray of alcohol on the surface before pouring, or even after pouring while the medium is still wet will eliminate bubbles too.

My book, Acrylic Revolution, has several pouring techniques with step-by-step demonstration photographs – some add color to tint, while some are just used plain to create a smooth surface. Here is a link to purchase the book.