Acrylics on Canvas for Alliance Healthcare Exhibition and Framing Canvas’s with Stripwood – Cheap, Effective, Easy to Do – Framing Problems Solved! – Jenny Meehan London/Surrey Artist Blog

June 1, 2012

iridescent medium in acrylic paint example jenny meehan

Here I am, using acrylics most of the time, mainly because of the quick drying and the limitations on space.  They are OK.  But I’m missing my oil paint.  I am also missing using the silicate mineral paint I love so much. Eco friendly, beautifully light reflective and velvety matt.  I miss that paint I spent months last year getting to know and learning to love.   Yes, it has its restrictions, but I am keen to start some more work with it, on limestone I think, this year.  The Keim Soldalit, (third generation silicate, with more applications possible due to product development)  (which I have plenty of), is great on primed rigid hard board, and I have to confess to having quite a few paintings started and on temporary hold, due to this recent set of work in acrylic.

The reason for using the acrylics is that I want the paintings (which are destined for display from September at Allied Healthcare, Chessington) on canvas, and the Soldalit needs a hard substrate, as does any mineral paint, because it doesn’t have the plasticity of acrylic.  Never mind.  What I have carried over from that work last year is a preference for certain colours, the most permanent and enduring pigments  have won me over any dye based types, and it is kind of lovely to have realised where my attractions lie colour wise.  The earths and the metal based colours have gotten right into my being; I spent so much time mixing large amounts last year for the mural, that I cannot get them out of my system. I am not consciously excluding particular colours, but I think I have got to know some of the most essential ones quite well, and lean on them, like old friends.

Because I will have rather a lot of paintings for this Allied Healthcare exhibition, (the space is big), I won’t be able to afford to frame them all.  Even with the very economical frames from Great Art, which I quite like,  it’s going to cost money I don’t have, so I am planning to use stripwood to make surrounds for the canvas’.  I think this will be a good option, even if I could afford to buy frames for all the paintings, because there are some paintings which, as they develop, I can see quite clearly require a very defined but very thin surround, not a chunkier surround, and the strip wood is just the job.   I was initially thinking that I might display the work unframed, but I require a clear division to be made, and using strip wood is the quickest, cheapest, and best way of doing this.  I understand that it is possible  to use black fabric tape also, in order to create neat black edges on the canvas, and that sounds like something worth trying out too.  But I do want a visible line from the front, and Wickes sell both pine and hardwood strip wood, 6x18x2400mm, which will be easily attached to the edges of the canvas with veneer pins.  I guess these would also be easily removable, without damaging the stretchers, in case I need to frame the work “properly” later on.

This sunny weather is proving excellent for the type of work I am doing right now.  It’s  great having paintings drying so quickly in the garden, and the fresh air and sunlight do their job well.  As I work my way through the paintings I have started, they begin to develop their own individual courses, and the last part of the painting, say, around the last twenty percent of the process, is the hardest.  I don’t enjoy the cerebral part of the painting process as much as the beginning, which is founded on instincts more than any articulated thoughts.  But towards the end, it is necessary to work out what has been going on, or at least to have some much firmer idea of the direction I have been going in.  What starts as a happy meander, needs to find a clearer sense of direction towards the end of the painting, otherwise it is impossible not to get completely lost in all the possibilities, and this is too disheartening.  At this point the critical eye, both mine and that of others, is brought into play.  Other people’s responses often help me a lot; negative or positive, it matters not.  In the end, I feel I am just here to learn.

A pre-defined picture image is much simpler!  But it is so exciting, this experimentation. I am learning a lot of things as I try to find ways through the difficulties I encounter.  Nothing radical, but it just helps to know what could open up the continuation of a painting which seems to have shut down.  Things like using masking tape to suggest divisions while I think about if I want to go down that route…So easy to pull it off, no damage done. When I need to move into oils.  With some paintings, acrylic just proves not to be flexible enough towards the end stages.  I need to be able to apply the paint and wipe it off if I change my mind or I want to lessen the impact.  It can be done with acrylics, of course, but because I know the paint will dry so quickly, it puts too much pressure on me to “get it right” which is the last thing I want to feel when I am working in this experimental way.

I am also increasingly aware of the need to view the painting at a very distant distance.  It has always been important, but I’m walking right to the back of the garden and viewing the painting indoors, in dimmer light.  It helps.  Also viewing the painting under spotlights (particularly helpful if the surface texture is a matter which needs assessing) and generally spending longer looking, across a longer period of time.  I am not sure all this effort with respect to the decision-making process is going to be clear to anyone else but me, but I have to work in the way I feel is right, and if it means this, then that is what it means.

Here are some more small sections of the paintings recently completed.  Once I get the time I will post images of the whole paintings up, but I haven’t quite gotten around to that yet!

non objective romantic british contemporary painting lyrical abstraction

Non objective abstract painting sample with glass beads

glass beads and acrylic medium on non objective easel painting

sample acrylic texture colour markmaking experiment jenny meehan

I’m enjoying using glass beads and sand in my painting, and getting more experience with different textures and how I might use them.


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