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"Coast": acrylic 24x16 inches

, 13:14

This picture is in my OriginalArtUnder100.com gallery

I spend a lot of time on pastels and after a while I need to just go away and play with something else. I have found that acrylics don't bend to my natural tendency for detail; the more I push my luck, the worse things get. So instead, I attempt to take a more casual approach to them....scrub the paint around a bit...paint over old failed acrylics...chuck on some texture-paste...get out the Nancy Reyner book Acrylic Illuminations, gather up the gels and metallics and just have fun, without any "saleable" end product in mind.

"Coast" is a picture that had actually been thought about for some while. In early 2016 I took photos of a local coastline. While brooding over them some days later I was attracted to one that seemed to divide the landscape up into strips. Each one had something different in it, like water, mud or grass. I noted it and copied the file over into another "possibilities" folder on my desktop. Last week I pulled the image out again, and decided that it was time to do something.

I rarely work large; and even this size canvas at 24x16 inches is considered only modest by today's abstract painters. I am not noted for being a speedy painter, however this work was pretty much finished over three sessions, totalling around 6 to 7 hours. I worked out various textures for each strip; the grass at the bottom was done with high-solid gel gloss while, further up, the mid-distance was made with sandy texture-paste. Once completed, everything was left to dry for a few days. Adding the paint came next; I wanted to re-create the typical blue-greys and pinky browns of a coastal "tide's out" view, but add touches of shine with pearlescent white. The shimmery paint was skimmed over the ridges of dried gloss medium to resemble wet mudflats, while thin lines were put in at the horizon to catch hazy sunlight.

Some while after completing it, I realised that texture was also something I was seeking further in my pastel pictures; using thicker primer and experimenting with grainy surfaces. Some of the acrylic media are capable of being used for pastel work, such as micaceous iron oxide and sandy paste....something I can think about further in the coming weeks.

Breaker: acrylic on canvas, 16x16 inches

, 11:32

I've had a busy period; virtually no painting done. But managed this one a week or so ago. Worked from imagination, no source references. The canvas had originally been painted with a semi-abstract in reds and oranges, and with a large dark area in the lower half. Having been away from paints for several weeks, I elected to just make up a subject, using the existing canvas as a start-point.

Acrylic paint usually obliterates what is already there quite well. I saw the dark area as a rock, then worked heavy mixes of thalo blue and cobalt turquoise over and above it. Plenty of white and touches of rose-pink here and there. The many weeks working cloud paintings in oils helped to create a tumbling wave and give it volume.

After completion I found that the canvas had (ironically) acquired its own wave, so it will probably need re-stretching a little.

Balcary Bay, Galloway: oil on gessobord

, 22:05

Today I was out on a chilly coastal path, attempting to pastel-sketch the rapidly changing clouds in front of me, across mudflats. Those sketches will I hope turn into paintings a little later on. This one today has been drying a little while and can now be scanned. It is a holiday scene that took my particular interest and I have already painted it twice before; once in pastel and again in oils....albeit from different viewpoints.

Balcary Bay, Galloway : oil on gessoboard, 7x5 inches

At DailyPaintWorks auction as from 15th January, for 7 days:


I still have images of the previous versions:

Calm Light, Balcary : pastel on paper approx 13x8" This was quite a different time of day; more to late afternoon/evening.


Balcary Bay : oil on canvasboard 7x5"

The pastel was done in 2009, the oil under it not till 2012. It is interesting to do the same subject several times, although oddly enough it is something I have rarely done till recent times. I still like the pastel and have retained it; but I suspect I'll be tackling the theme again at some stage.