acrylic painting


A Call for Artists came through in an email last night.  To my surprise, the exhibit (in a hospital gallery) will be of nudes.  As far as I can tell the “no breasts”, “no cracks” restriction does not apply!  I have entered two, large watercolors.

Autumn Nude, Acrylic on Canvas

At the end of the month I’ll sift through my studio, saving the strong work and disposing of the weak work to make room for new explorations.  Seeing Autumn Nude was like crossing paths again with an old friend.  The opportunity to return to full-time painting is a bit overwhelming.  My approach to the business of art will be quite different this time around.

Painting: Autumn Nude – Acrylic on Canvas – 22″ wide x 28″ high. Technique: Thrown Paint, Drips and Line Drawing

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As I mentioned yesterday, I darkened the value of the sky slightly so the tree shapes would stand out a bit more.

Morning Landscape, acrylic painting sketch

Ten minute acrylic sketch on 5″ x 5″ wood panel.

It is only a slight difference.  However, it is quite noticeable, especially when viewed from a distance.

I posted the original version of this painting in yesterday’s post.

Running late…. just posted last Tuesday’s Blues Jam paintings on Facebook in Musicians Album III.  Dad is back from his three week vacation in Cape Cod.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t even remember being there.  Good news is that I am still in love with watered down acrylics.

Morning Acrylic Landscape Sketch

I painted this quick, ten minute, acrylic sketch on Tuesday morning. This group of trees only shows up in the morning when the trunks contrast against the woods in the distance.  The acrylic paints were still delightfully moist in their stay-wet covered palette.

I did a second painting, also a ten minute quicky.  I darkened the sky when I returned today from my Walk with Dad.  I’ll post that after I scan it.

Morning Landscape Sketch No. 2

Limited palette: Perylene Red, Indian Yellow Hue, Prussian Blue Hue, Permanent Sap Green, Titanium White

When I arrived home this evening a note from Tom lay on the chopping block beside one of yesterday’s acrylic paintings.  “This one is my favorite.”

Acrylic Landscape Sketch No. 3

I am delighted.  In the sixteen years we have been married, he has never written me a note about any of my paintings.  He has always been 100% supportive, but not necessarily a fan of my work.

Limited color palette: Perylene Red, Indian Yellow Hue, Prussian Blue Hue, Permanent Sap Green, Titanium White

The day passed.  As the sun was setting I felt like the Cheshire Cat, grinning from ear to ear.

Acrylic set up on front porch

I didn’t use the paper palette that can be seen through the sheet of plexiglass.  I ended up moving the damp paper towels with squeezed out paint onto a stay-wet palette that I can easily move aside to clean off the plexiglass every few minutes before the paint hardened on it.

The results of my first day making friends with acrylic paint

My first mental block had been my inability to mix lovely colors.  My second block was the idea of ruining my good brushes by using them with acrylic paints.  The first block I erased when I took the time to create color charts.  The second one was erased by using a flat pan filled with water to rest the brushes in when I wasn’t using them.  Easily portable.  Perfect!  I used synthetic watercolor brushes.  They are still fine this morning.  Whew!

My favorite of the day

As the hours passed I allowed myself more freedom to be creative with color, shapes and strokes.  I used the landscape across the street as a catalyst for tapping into my personal response to the paint on the wood panel, allowing inventive forms and color schemes.

When the sun set, I was able to stack all eight paintings on top of one another and carry them into the house.  Incredible.

Limited palette: Perylene Red, Indian Yellow Hue, Prussian Blue Hue, Permanent Sap Green, Raw Umber, Titanium White.

After taking the time to make color charts based on five tubes of acrylic paint, I decided to keep trying rather than give my acrylics away.

En plein air with acrylic paints

I’ve posted the color charts on my other blog, Creative Color.

My limited palette is Perylene Red, Indian Yellow Hue, Prussian Blue Hue, Permanent Sap Green and Raw Umber.

Complete frustration and failure was avoided by using a sheet of plexiglass for a palette.  I folded damped paper towels that I lay along two edges of the plexiglass.  I squeezed the paint out onto the dampened paper towels and continued to mist the paint with water throughout the painting session.  For me, the key was to wipe the plexi palette clean every few minutes.  I limited my mixtures to using only two colors (plus white).

Though I still struggled with the quick drying time, I found myself enjoying the experience.  I kept my colors clean, though not terribly exciting yet.  I used only two brushes that I lay flat in a tray filled with water when I wasn’t using them.  This worked well to keep the paint from hardening in the bristles.

Final Stage of three-part collaborative art project on 10″ square panel for ‘We’ Exhibit at Connexions Gallery, Easton, PA.

Stage Two & Three of 'We' Panel

Stage One: Application of flowers on white background by Megan Crouse

Stage Two: Transformation into Self-Portrait wearing Swimming Cap by Michelle Neifert

Stage Three: Addition of two figures and development of color and value design by Chris Carter

I had to complete my panel early so that I can return it prior to my surgery.  What a fun project.  The greatest challenge was to preserve the contributions of the previous artists while making an idnetifiable contribution of my own.

In the first panel I wanted to simply provide an initial seed of inspiration without dictating the direction that the second artist could move toward.

First Panel - Stage One by Chris Carter

The second panel was challenging because so much of the ‘story’ was already told.  It didn’t give me very much room for my own input and still leave room for the third artist.  I felt badly about altering the foreground figure as much as I did, but I had to change the expression in order to connect with the painting.  The mural behind the figures was my main contribution.  I left the second figure exactly as it was.

Second Panel - 'We' collaborative project

The third panel was the most fun of all and the most challenging.  I knew that the first stage was the application of flowers on a white background because I was at the gallery when Megan dropped it off.  I loved the transformation of the flowers into a 1950’s Swimming Cap by Michelle Neifert.  It was one of those fabulous, costly ($5.00) bathing caps that I never had and always wanted.  My first challenge was to develop a design pattern of values for the panel.  I came up with about six and chose the one I liked best.  Into that pattern I designed figures that fit within that design.  I was tempted to paint over the dark circle in the lower right corner.  It presented the largest challenge of all, bringing a great deal of attention to itself.  The only solution I could come up with was to create a rather large breast around it.  Working backwards from the design to the ‘story’ was exhilarating.  I used oil paints to paint over the layers of acrylic applied by the first two artists.  Fortunately their layers were thin and did not present a problem painting over in oil.  The end result allows plenty of room for interpretation and smiles, a little serious, a little silly.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s ‘We’ exhibit.

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