Golden High Flow Acrylics

This week and last week I was experimenting with Golden High Flow acrylics. High Flow is their newest acrylic paint that can go from “brush to marker or from dip pen to airbrush and more. From fine lines to broad strokes, High Flow Acrylic has an ink-like consistency that lends itself to a wide range of techniques, including staining, leveling, calligraphy, and mixed media.”

Like the painting in my previous post I started this new painting with various background colors and a little light blue house paint. I then painted some random trunks.

Next I got out the indigo blue and turquoise high flow bottles and my water spritzer. I poured a drip of high flow to the top of where I wanted the tree branches to start and immediately shot the drip with water. Like last week the paint bloomed into interesting tree like patterns.

Ann Hart Marquis-using high flow acrylics and water

Waiting for the Morning Sun, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 14 x 1.5 inches.

It was fun to use and I loved the surprises I got from adding the spritz of water. High flow paint works well as a pour. According to Golden, it is well suited for use on large areas, where the thin consistency allows for free flowing color layers.

The pigment size and intensity varies between each of the 49 colors. Unlike other acrylic paints high flow paint is not degraded by water. It retains its intense color due to their high pigment load.

They can be modified as needed with water when working on paper and other absorbent surfaces.  Over thinning with water can create sensitive paint layers, especially when used on non-absorbent surfaces.

I enjoyed the spritzing process and now I want to see what I can do with washes and letting it free-float all over a canvas. Are you experimenting with anything new lately?

Using House Paint in Art

I never thought my art had anything in common with Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock’s work. Well it appears that we do have one thing in common. We all used everyday house paint on our canvases.

“Pablo Picasso, famous for pushing the boundaries of art with cubism, also broke with convention when it came to paint, new research shows. X-ray analysis of some of the painter’s masterworks solves a long-standing mystery about the type of paint the artist used on his canvases, revealing it to be basic house paint.”

Also, I found a reference detailing using house paint in art work and also the fact that one of Jackson Pollock’s most expensive paintings was done with house paint.

I went to a workshop last year given by Joan Fullerton. We used primarily liquid acrylics, charcoal and ink. However, she also had a small amount of light green house paint that I found very interesting. When I came home from the workshop I thought about it for a while, and remembered that I had almost a gallon of very light blue paint that I would never use again on walls.

I have been experimenting with this paint off and on for several months. I usually mix it with some kind of acrylic paint, or put acrylic randomly on a painting with the house paint. Since my blue paint is so light, I found it a good substitute for white acrylic paint.

Ann Hart Marquis-making art using house paint

Indigo on My Mind, mixed media on canvas, 14 x 14 1.5 inches.

Today I was looking at a rather dark painting I had almost finished that I knew needed more light. I got out my light blue paint and found it was just what I needed to finish the sky.

House paint is thinner than acrylic paint, enabling a painter to get smooth textures if desired. It also dribbles very well across a painting. I am enjoying it although as in this painting I use it primarily to lighten an area on the canvas. I have also used it with dark acrylic for some interesting effects. More on how I created the trees in a post to come.

I am not sure if I will continue using house paint, but I am having fun with it and I also have some light green paint. I also have a supply of available paint in the back closet, but I am OK with light blue and green for now.

Do you have any house paint that you probably won’t use again?

Painting Titles

For the last two weeks I have been writing about metaphor and how a creative work can have different meanings to different people.

Coincidentally, several days ago I posted an announcement for my upcoming exhibit at the New Mexico Cancer Center on Facebook. The announcement also contained this painting.

Ann Hart Marquis- how painting titles influence a viewer's response

The Ravine, 18 x 24 x 1.5 inches, acrylic and charcoal on birch cradle.

I gave it no title on my Facebook post and said nothing about it. Within two minutes my friend Robin Sanders, an ex-Marine who lives in Texas, made this comment about the painting. He obviously didn’t give it much thought, he just pulled an association from his life.

“The struggle is real for these surviving five lone trees. Set among the desolate but green hills, they are what’s remaining… SURVIVORS.”

This is not what I was thinking as I painted the scene, but because of this young man’s experiences, he came up with a different metaphor than I would. He probably would title this painting “The Survivors.”

This painting is part of a series that I did at my artist residency in Healdsburg, CA in June. I could have called it Hill Oaks, or Looking East, but I chose to look at the painting from a different perspective. My metaphor? Perhaps looking into the future, being in awe at all of the open space or wondering what was beyond my sight.

Titles

Which brings me to painting titles. With some paintings, the title reflects the metaphor that I am trying to project. Some paintings just get a descriptive title. In any case, I think that titles or art work deserve a little thought or introspection. I don’t title a painting until after it is finished because I don’t know where it is going or how I will know when it is finished.

In Lisa Pressman’s art blog  she says that painting titles “are crucial—not only for the viewer but also for myself. They are a suggestion, a signifier, an open door, a thread, the light: to a way to approach the image.” I couldn’t have said it better.

Do painting titles influence you?

Metaphor Part II

Last week I wrote about how metaphor is used in art to express emotions and frequently abstract ideas. That also applies to having an object or phrase or dance move that represents what otherwise could not be expressed.

In response to my post, several of my readers suggested that I explain some of my metaphors in my paintings. As I mentioned last week, an artist may not always want to explain their personal feelings that appear in their work, or sometimes they don’t know themselves what or how a particular object or scene appeared in their work.

But I will attempt this mission by starting with one of my favorite paintings by Salvador Dali. This could simply be a painting of woman looking out of the window.

Salvador Dali-Person at the Window

Person at the Window, Salvador Dali, 1925.

But does it bring to mind any feeling or questions for you? It does for me. I wonder what she is thinking? Is she feeling lonely? She seems quite isolated in a bare room, but the view is lovely. Is she loving what she is seeing or does looking at the water make her wish she were somewhere else?  We could go on guessing. Dali never explained his art, he just painted.

Here is one of mine that I will try to explain to you. I painted this while at a week-long workshop in Taos, New Mexico, a truly beautiful place to paint.

Ann Hart Marquis- a metaphor of a swing

Red Swing, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches.

Obviously, beauty was not what I was feeling. I gave little thought to the subject matter of this painting. It just appeared on my canvas. What does it mean? Perhaps that life is fragile or perhaps one may want to be careful before trusting something that may seem appealing, but on closer look is not. This painting was the first one to sell at my exhibit in 2011. Several other people also inquired about buying the painting. I have no idea why it appealed to someone else, or why she bought the painting. It doesn’t matter.

Oneness as Metaphor

Ann Hart Marquis- a painting of a lone tree that is a metaphor for individuality

Summer Solstice, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 x 1.5 inches, 2008.

Many of my paintings have to do with oneness, individuality, being alone, freedom. I also have a thing for ladders and monoliths. I haven’t figured them out yet. How about you? Any metaphors in your creativity?

Metaphor

Almost since I began painting, I had the feeling that I wanted my work to represent something that was not only my expression of myself, but something to which the view could relate. I wanted my paintings to arouse feelings whether they be happy, sad or nostalgic.

I wanted my paintings to have a message. I still do, but certainly not all of my paintings could be said to be metaphoric unless you consider a simple flower to be representative of something other than natural beauty or new beginnings. After all, Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers were just that.

O'Keefe

Black Iris (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Metaphor

The word that comes to mind for me is that I was attracted to and had the desire to paint metaphors. The dictionary defines metaphor as something that is being used to represent something else, perhaps an emblem or a symbol. Some obvious, some not.

“The function of a metaphor in art, whether in painting, sculpture, or writing, is generally to evoke a certain feeling or thought in one who reads or witnesses the work. Metaphors use symbolism and comparisons to strengthen a point, and they may also act to represent certain ideas or thoughts. Visual metaphors may be obvious or abstract, depending on the artist’s emotions, ideas or experiences.”

Ann Hart Marquis- a chair that acts as a metaphor

Green Chair, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 x1.5 inches.

The exact meaning, if there is one, behind a visual metaphor in art seems to depend on the frame of mind and feelings of the artist who created the work. It also depends of the frame of mind of the viewer. Otherwise, the meaning is lost to all but the artist. In other words, a chair is just a chair.

Oil Pastels

Almost two years ago I took an online Abstract Landscape class taught by Pauline Agnew. We used acrylic paint, and soft oil pastels and baby wipes.

During this class I painted exclusively on watercolor paper. I choose not to use canvas because when used with acrylic paint, they cannot be preserved with acrylic varnish. They need to be framed. We spent some time on Monet-like water lily paintings. I didn’t like mine particularly at the time.

Since I have now finished all of my paintings for an upcoming exhibit, I had some time to play with the oil pastels again. I did another water lily scene which I like much better than the former paintings.

Painting of water lily pads done with oil pastels

Water Lily Pads, acrylic and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 12 inches.

Oil pastels are a very different from soft pastels. They are greasier and from what I have read, do not work well for a realistic painting. They are good for expressive and impressionistic work because they glide so effortlessly and are very vibrant and creamy.

They can build up some subtle or dramatic texture as well, which you may not see with soft pastel. I have read that they lend themselves wonderfully to all sorts of techniques from scraping and stippling to color gradations and overlays.

As for mistakes, once you put them on paper or canvas, they are difficult to remove. I used baby wipes to spread around the color or to try to reduce it, but they cannot be removed completely.

I used Mungyo Artists’ Soft Oil Pastels because they were inexpensive and I didn’t know if I would like them. That was a good move on my part, because I don’t particularly like to work on paper and I don’t want to frame my paintings. They were an interesting experiment and I have friends who love them.

Evening Painting

If you read my post two weeks ago, you saw how I “fixed” a painting with which I was not satisfied. In all of the years that I have been painting there is at least one painting that I just can’t get right no matter how hard I try and how many coats of paints and glazes I have used to try to get the painting just like I want it—something that I think is a good painting.

I have one of those paintings now. In my post about it, I said, “So now with this painting finished and the others resolved, I seem to be almost ready for the exhibit. I think it is finished, but I have to live with it a while.”

Well, I lived with it for about three days. One of my first thoughts was the name of this painting is Evening and the sky did not reflect an evening sky. It was not an evening painting. Next the forefront of the painting seemed to light.

And then what about that building. It was a dull color. The real building which was my studio was red. It needed to be red.

Ann Hart Marquis--Evening at Chalk Hill-evening painting showing a dark sky and water reflected by light

Evening at Chalk Hill, acrylic on birch panel, 18 x 24 x 1.5 inches.

I then painted the sky a violet blue, the studio red (a mixture of cad red light and alizarin crimson) and the foreground darker colors. I also added more reeds in the front, left and made them darker. I didn’t touch the mountains or trees. I did take out the orange-red that was below the trees.

It is now looking good. I think.

Better than two weeks ago. What do you think?

Ann Hart Marquis-Evening at Chalk Hill- finishing a painting

Evening at Chalk Hill, acrylic and ink on birch wood panel, 18 x 24 1.5 inches.

Painting Over a Painting

As some of you know, after living with a painting for a while, I may think it needs a little touch up or perhaps I see what I would call an error that just doesn’t work. I can always remove an element from a painting, paint over a section or change the look. That is the beauty of painting with acrylic.

This week I took a painting on birch panel that had been bothering me for some time. I felt that it was not very  imaginative. I didn’t need to spend much time with it before I decided it had to go and I wanted to keep the expensive panel.

As I mentioned in my last post, sometimes when I look at a painting that I did months ago, I know my style has changed and I find the old work lacking in some way.

First let me show you my new painting. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. And I don’t think that I will be touching it in the future.

Ann Hart Marquis-painting over a painting

Ridge Oaks, acrylic on birch panel, 20 x 20 x 1.5 inches.

I took the old painting, turned it sideways because I liked some of the colors on the side of the painting, drew a horizon line, painted the sky and just started painting over the bottom half.

I layered the bottom half with mixtures of blue, turquoise and green and dabbed on some contrasting color here and there. It was all rather done by intuition.

It was fun and rather exciting to do because I had an exact image in my mind of what I wanted the finished painting to look like. And it was easy, although in some spots I had to do several new layers to cover a dark color.

Ann Hart Marquis-Chalk Hill Oak-painting a river

Chalk Hill Oak, acrylic on birch panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart marquis

Here is the original painting which I thought was rather mundane. I am happy that it is still part of my new painting. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Finishing a Painting

Last summer, I spent three weeks in June at an artist residency in Sonoma County, California. During that time I painted seven paintings that I considered finished when I left and one that I knew was incomplete. My task, finishing a painting.

Because I got off on another painting tangent, I have not paid much attention to that series. I have been recently been asked to hang 7-10 paintings for the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation Annual art exhibit in March. My summer series seemed perfect for that exhibit, so I took a long look at them again, and decided to complete the one that I had not finished.

Here is how it looked when I left California. It needed a lot of help.

Evening #1

Evening #1

Here is how it looked after working on it for several hours.

Evening #2

Evening #2

And here is how it looks for now. I think it is finished, but I have to live with it a while.

Ann Hart Marquis-Evening at Chalk Hill- finishing a painting

Evening at Chalk Hill, acrylic and ink on birch wood panel, 18 x 24 1.5 inches.

After working on this, I started to look at the remaining paintings. I really liked three of them, but the others I thought needed a touch-up here and there. I painted these paintings almost eight months ago. During that time my painting style has evolved. I have some paintings or have sold some paintings that I still would not change a brush stroke. It seems to be an arbitrary arrangement for me.

So now with this painting finished and the others resolved, I seem to be almost ready for the exhibit. But it is almost three months from now. Where will I be then?

The Fauvists

For the last four weeks I have been painting with gray as a major component in my paintings. As one could imagine, I have grown tired of grayed down colors for now. So this week I decided to create a painting that has little or no gray.

Fauvists

Optimistically Tenacious, acrylic and ink on canvas, 14 x 1.5 inches.

It felt wonderful to get back to bright pure color. After I finished this painting I was reminded of my first painting teacher Carol Watanabe who considered herself a Fauve artist. Her class took place in Soréze, France and then later in Collioure, France. Here is an example of her work.

Carol Watanabe

Carol Watanabe

The Fauvists

The Fauvists were French painters whose members shared the use of intense color as a vehicle for describing light and space, and who redefined pure color and form as a means of communicating the artist’s emotional state.

Fauvism was the first of the avant-garde movements that flourished in France in the early years of the twentieth century. Their spontaneous, often subjective response to nature was expressed in bold, high-keyed, vibrant colors sometimes directly from the tube.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

“Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) and André Derain (French, 1880–1954) first  introduced unnaturalistic color and vivid brushstrokes into their paintings in the summer of 1905, working together in the small fishing port of Collioure on the Mediterranean coast. When their paintings were exhibited later that year at the Salon d’ Automne in Paris they inspired an art critic to call them fauves (“wild beasts”).”

Although I never considered myself a fauvist, that use of bold color has stayed with me and frequently I have to force myself not to use colors that are really too intense. Graying down a color took me while to appreciate.