Thursday, July 2, 2009

Playing around with acrylics

July Sunset
acrylic on matboard, 5x7 in.

This one was from a photo I'd taken of a beautiful volcanic sunset a few evenings ago (one of the few days this summer with an actual sunset instead of a gradual deepening of grey). The first one I tried was a throw-away. Then I did another and this time worked quickly, letting the paint happen. A little progress. At least recognizable.

I don't know why I am struggling so much with acrylics. They just feel so different both from my oils and from what I remember from painting with the acrylics I used as a painting student long long ago (I think I last painted with acrylics when Nixon was President). I was in a state of total frustration, ready to give the things away. I even completely wiped off a canvas (it was a humid day, so most of the paint actually came off).

But, being a Stratton, I am stubborn and hate to give up. I may eventually choose not to work in acrylics, but dang-nab it, I want it to be a choice, not a throwing in of the towel!

I had made a stack of sealed and gessoed matboard pieces to use for plein air (which is what I got the acrylics for, too, so I wouldn't have to carry wet oil panels). Instead I put the matboard pieces on my easel this week, and just began slapping paint on. After a while, I found that I began to get a feel for this paint. No real keepers yet, but I'm feeling more optimistic. After all, I did dozens of these when I began oils. More than that back when I began using pastels. And of course, there's that box of peculiar looking fused glass in my glass shop....

This one that began with me playing with the blobs of paint left on my palette. It was kind of fun, so I put out a little more paint and played until this emerged. I don't know what it is, but it reminds me of desert flowers after a rain, or an estuary bottom full of colorful life. Maybe a pile of my granddaughter's clothes. Just color and shape and fun. After doing this one, I at least felt I'd learned something about how I need to work with this paint.

Playing with Color
acrylic on matboard, 5x7 in.