Paintings by Christine---News

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"Solar Fire": acrylic 12x12 inches

, 10:45

Back to the acrylic experiments, and this one completed last week on a box canvas. Having followed the books of Rolina van Vliet for a while, I have been trying out some of her technique exercises. It is interesting to add colour to a canvas randomly to start with, and then work at building it up into some sort of balanced image. The canvas on this particular work has rather prominent horizontal lines in its weave, which don't always assist when scratching and scraping paint. The lower section was originally very bright orange, so it was toned down by adding a more brownish mix of cadmium red with ultramarine blue; small highlights were then added back on top. All balanced against a black upper corner (mixed from thalo green and magenta, rather than tube black).

In the process of dabbling with acrylics on paper, I remembered that pastels are a good match with acrylic paint. The poor old pastels have been a little neglected of late, but as I had commented earlier, there seem to be fewer Internet buyers for pastels than "paint". I am, however, working on my own little sideline projects and there will be some pastels up here in due time. I'd like to explore combining acrylic underpainting with pastels on top but have to find suitable subjects close to hand....still life is the most obvious choice.

"Patchwork Jazz": acrylic 24x20 inches

, 13:20


Still working on some abstract ideas at the moment. With a wish to move on from the blue theme of the previous productions, I elected to use a random choice of colours to produce this patchwork. At present I am looking at several potential subjects that contain squares and rectangles....they're a little more realistic than abstract....so for the coming days I'll be working on paper, drawing out various designs in pencil and possibly pastel too. Whether I will create them in acrylic, however, is another matter....I still find this paint tricky to work with, with regard to natural subjects such as flowers and landscape. It'll probably be back to oils, where colours tend to be softer and easier to blend where required. My acrylic box is mainly heavy-bodied paint; whether I should gradually move on to liquid formats is something for me to think about, since I have found acrylic inks, for example, to go well with pastel and other line-work. All part of the great exploration.

"Ascent": acrylic on canvas 24x20 inches

, 17:28



Having had some fun with "Dimensions" (which is currently with a prospective buyer), I elected to do another piece in similar colours. Blues and purples are sometimes hard to photograph with a digital camera because they are less sensitive to this end of the spectrum. Added to that also the problem with moderate winter light and this one proved no less awkward to photograph outdoors than the previous picture.
The most ideal set-up is indoors with bright directed lights and maybe white sheets to spread the light around and discourage shadows; unfortunately I don't have suitable lighting, it's all too yellow in tone.

These abstracty pieces are really experimental and sometimes they don't work out....every few years I ditch the canvas off of old stretcher-bars where grand ideas have flumped dismally in the first few hours. Occasionally the canvas is recycled, especially when it has only one layer of acrylic....passes good enough for re-use on smaller stretchers (like 10x8 inches for example), for either another acrylic or an oil.

I am changing some of my acrylic colours over to Ara, made by Old Holland. They come in large 250ml (and bigger) squeezy bottles, which is much more economical than the usual small 60ml tubes. They are lightfast, easy workable (not quite so heavy bodied as W&N) and apparently are classed as a good mid-range acrylic. My metallic paints are by Golden (USA)....not cheap but nice to use.

I'm planning another painting with a different colour-scheme...meanwhile it'll be back to the oils and I'd like to get started again on some still-life pieces.

"Lightburst": acrylic on canvasboard 16x16 inches

, 12:21

I've decided this one is now finished and have managed to photograph it today while the sun is shining and above my horizon; by 2pm it will be gone! (the sun, that is). Is it a skyscape? seascape? something else? You decide.

I want to spend more time this year exploring abstract approaches. I often see many excellent local landscapes which are just so huge, so broad, that it is impossible to capture them and their atmospheres by representational means. By nature, I tend to go for details and this is just not suited to such large landscapes. Late last year I took many photos in the southern stretches of my home county, where grass and moorland dominate, with reeds and sparkling rivers; and I really wanted to do something different with them, with regards to painting. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.

To get myself more in the semi-abstracted mood, I have been working on several pieces, both in acrylic and oils. They are not derived from any particular "real" subject, but are exercises in trying to balance shapes and colours. I have a particular liking for the cross design in abstract work and also rectangles and lines; recent forays through Pinterest and printed books have highlighted this to me. I also rather like paintings where paint has been built up in layers, and scraped or scratched, providing texture. I would like to see how this works out in my own paintings through the year. Acrylic tends to lend itself best to this, but I am also finding it feasible in oils as well, by adjusting my painting technique. Of course, these take longer to dry....I'll post up my in-progress oil when it's dry enough to handle. Must admit I prefer the softer and more gentle handling of oil paint; acrylics always seem to have that "pile it on fast" feel to them.

And what of my smaller pictures, and pastels? well, they'll still be ongoing. Internet sales tend to lean heavily towards large paintings and it seems to be more difficult to sell smaller ones. Conversely, abstracts are not popular at local exhibitions (not where I live, anyway), so that's where smaller representational stuff comes into its own.

In Progress---Abstract 16x16 inches, acrylic.

, 14:11

With little time to spare for concentrated focus on more detailed subjects, I am digging the acrylics out and looking at a few abstracted pieces. This is a realm I rarely tackle, but there are some aspects that appeal. Freedom to treat colour simply as colour for its own sake; not attempting to portray a real subject; opportunity to use texture with fast-drying paint.

The particular one shown here is approaching a finish point, I feel, but seems to want a little more. It is intended to try and balance a sharp contrast with more delicately-coloured larger and smoother areas. The colours used are ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna and titanium white, plus a little black. The upper area already has some texture as the result of a previous work which was laid in with some moulding paste but not completed. No composition was planned but it hovers between being sky or seascape. I am not in a rush to complete it and will play about for a while with it until Christmas.

"Scintillation": Oil-bars and oils 20x16 inches

, 09:20


I'll have a new picture to photograph, in probably, a couple of days so another post here should happen shortly. A few years ago I purchased some Winsor and Newton oilbars, with a view to developing some larger work. After a few struggles with them I began to find my own method and was hopeful of improving results. Frustratingly, six months later, the paint surface was still "dentable" with a finger-nail; and similarly after a year, it was still slightly scratchable. Since I am not an impasto painter, the paint was generally thin, but simply had not dried. I am sure there is nothing wrong with the oilbars, but more likely my method of working. However, several months back I decided to have another go, this time with the smaller Sennelier oilbars (38ml).

Result: a touch-dry surface in about five to six days. This was a bit of a surprise. I decided to experiment further and used the bars to overpaint an old acrylic work, basing the new subject-material on the old underlying pattern. In addition, I included tube oilpaint at the same time, which entailed blobbing colour onto the canvas and then pushing it around with an oilbar. For example, ultramarine blue tube-paint worked with a white oil-bar; or vice-versa.

"Scintillation" was the end-product. Abstract isn't my usual style but I wasn't bothered about that aspect. It was about finding out what these oilbars would do. They are oil paint mixed with a percentage of wax, and behave like large pastels when in use, spreading colour, drawing lines, etc. They can be used on canvas, canvasboard, oil-paper and even gessoed smooth board (although there's less texture for the paint to grip to). The painting is currently listed in my gallery at Original-Art-Under100.com

My newest painting is approaching completion and I've used both oilbars and tube-paint in it. It is also one of the largest I have done for several years.