Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vacation time....

Consultancy work has extended my pregnant pause for the previous painting. I will get to it upon my return from vacation. This week, I had a 2 -day practice run at vacationing, hitting the Sandbanks area near Belleville, Ontario. The muse was a happy camper! Tomorrow, we are heading towards the East coast (Cape May) and I am packing the watercolors and the raw canvases. Now I have to put my money where my mouth is!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Working on my largest canvas to date...

Yesterday, I decided to tackle a 36 X 48 largest to date (my second largest is 30 X 40). Working quickly, I established the great lines of the composition and the orange under painting. However, I felt the need for a pregnant pause before proceeding with the 2nd coat. I think I will proceed with a palette of oranges, purple reds and purple blues, California style...We'll see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Experimenting with raw canvas....

Following up on my idea to work on unmounted canvases, I recently bought 2 yards of canvas at a local art store. However, by piggy-backing on a client's order distractingly, I ended up buying raw canvas. Since raw canvas is used by a number of contemporary artists (the first one I noticed was Manolo Valdes in Madrid), I got more documentation on the topic and decided to give it a shot. Not wanting to part too much from tradition at first, I applied a thin coat of acrylic medium before starting to paint for this first experiment, so to speak.

The first application of paint made me think of pastel painting. I will try staining techniques the next time around before applying thicker paint. The beige from the canvas provided a nice warm background. I will definitely pack a few raw canvases in preparation for my East coast vacation towards the end of August.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beach scene series in the making.... still experimenting...

Capitalizing on the momentum from the two previous works, I rapidly pump up this third one emphasizing textures and somewhat of a minimalist approach; I used three layers of paint in the process (one transparent, two opaque).

Because of the composition, I felt somewhat constrained by the 24X30 frame used, especially when it came to painting the figure. So much for the gestural approach! It would be nice to paint on larger canvases. However, storing large frames can be cumbersome, so I have been toying with the idea of painting on large pieces of canvas temporarily stapled on plywood (many contemporary artists do this). I will lose the bounce of the stretched canvas but will gain in the capacity to experiment cost-effectively while resolving any storage issue. Selected canvases can then be stretched and framed for future exhibitions.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New directions - First attempts

After an 8 week hiatus from painting in June-July (my marketing consultancy work took over), I decided to make my first attempts in the direction I have always wanted to take with acrylics: a more expressive style. I also wanted to take the opportunity to use black as a color, a direct influence from 2 years of training in Chinese landscape painting, which I took in the Montreal China Town. I zipped through the first attempt with the intent of generating happy accidents (term used in watercolor), which could then be retained in my future works.

Textures and some patterns of abstraction caught my attention and served as a platform for my second attempt, a beach scene in Maui.

The subdued color scheme (grayed with ivory black and titanium white) is something that agrees with me and that I want to exploit in the near future.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gravitating towards a looser style

Although painting has been a sporadic activity for me, I have always kept the habit of sketching while traveling for business or pleasure. Ironically, some of these "looser works" received more accolades than my finished paintings. I have incorporated some of this more expressive style into my most recent watercolors (click on any slide below to view a full screen presentation).

My last works with acrylics were done with the intent of achieving control on larger canvases. The larger canvases also allowed for more gestural application of paint. So far, I have used fluid acrylics for the first layers and opaque paint for the last ones, making sure to let the under painting show through in certain areas. For more expressive results, I intend to use less layers and more texture in the future. With this new medium for me, I felt the need to achieve a certain level of technical control before loosening up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New beginnings - My artistic background

This is my first blog, so I am kind of new at this. Here is some background information on me. I have been painting sporadically over the last 35 years or so. My preferred painting medium is watercolor because of the speed and spontaneity it allows (I also recently developed an interest in Chinese black ink painting).

Over the last 12 months, my efforts have been directed at acrylics using transparent, semi-opaque and opaque techniques. To train myself in this medium, I used my 2007 traveling sketches from Hawaii and developed a series on women's eyes which I plan to exhibit at a local cultural centre in October of this year.

My objective is to develop an expressionist style with acrylics, something I was starting to achieve with watercolors. This blog is meant to be my painting journal.