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 24×16 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.