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Opposite Pieces

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I’ve been working on several different projects lately and wanted to share a couple of them with you. I like how “opposite” these two pieces are. One drawn using a grid, highly realistic, and painted in a watercolor style. The other, purely a product of imagination and play.
Untitled – Creek Rocks Acrylic Painting, 2022
Several weeks ago I was out on a bike ride and taking photos on a gravel bed in Mud Creek.  I shot several photos of the gravel and then took a picture of a worn brick in amongst the gravel. Later, I looked at the image on my computer and decided to print it, cropping the photo to position the brick toward the center-right.

I pulled out a piece of colored mat board matching the proportions of the photo and, as I’ve done many times before drew a grid on the board, enlarging the photo in the process.  So, square by square, I drew the “scene”.  At first, I just outlined most of the rocks but included shadows and textures.  I can’t say for sure but I think I spent several hours of drawing and outlining to get it to where I felt the need to start painting.

This painting was handled more like a watercolor painting than a “normal” acrylic painting on a panel. To me, this means using thin washes to establish colors and in the dark shadows I used a mixture of black and blue. I continued working in this way for several hours over several days. With the main rocks delineated I would go back in to the blank areas and draw the tiny rocks. The last thing I did was to work on getting the shapes to appear rounded, so to speak. After several days of this, I sat it up and looked at it for a while, coming back to work on it more a day later just to tidy up a few things. Then I quit.
Untitled, Abstract Flower, Acrylic painting, 2022
This second piece is a good example of what happens when I’m exploring as I paint with no clear endpoint in mind. In this case, I started with an older piece of masonite panel that already had something else painted on the front. I sanded the panel with a sandpaper block to remove some of the paint but not all of it. I have a process that I repeat several times where I add a wash of color, then scrape the surface with a pocket knife or X-acto knife. Then I pencil in an abstract design or sketch. Sometimes I will even take a ruler and delineate a square or rectangular area and do some doodles here and there to see what will happen.  I’m sorta thinking while doing this but I am really turning my hands and arms loose and letting them go.

You see…I’m operating on faith.  The various layers of paint will evolve into some arrangement that will inspire me.   It just does.  Or at least it happens to me all the time.  In this case I sorta outlined the rectangle with a ruler and then located the center line and established a crucifix in a vague way.  I did this using a fine, liner brush.  I’m making marks but in a very loose way…intentionally loose.  I am using all those layers of colors as a backdrop for this crazy crucifix that I am lazily creating out of squiggly lines of paint….over and over until………I quit.
Thanks for reading, now back to the studio!

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