Mitosis: oil on paper 12×9″

“Mitosis”: oils and oilbar on Arches Huile paper 12×9 inches (30x23cm)

(The above is at as of mid-October 2019. The previous post “Ebley Mill” is also at the same site).

I’m not by nature really into abstract work and they tend to be a bit out of character with the rest of the pictures I make; but I do occasionally have a go, to break away from the tight and highly-focused aspects of my other styles.

Previous post’s picture was especially tight, being only six inches square and worked with small brushstrokes. If not working this way, I may be drawing with sharply-pointed pastel pencils on a relatively small scale. This month’s Theme on my main website is Small Format Art; over many years I have happily beavered away on ACEO cards and similar small-dimension stuff, using watermedia or oils. I’ve collected books on miniature/small art paintings, read much on how it is done, the surfaces used, the frames, the techniques. Creating a small piece of art is an exciting challenge and I shall continue with it, in and amongst my other media.

Relaxing out of tight, small work calls for a bit more mess. I have found that scaling up my ideas doesn’t always look right and often will not “execute” themselves in the way I expected. It is at this point I find the need to abandon realistic representation and just “spread colours”. I have read Rolina van Vliet’s acrylic abstract books over and over, trying to get an understanding of how to divide the canvas into regions that avoid too much symmetry and equal balance; where to place focus; what colours look good together “en masse” and which ones don’t.

Creating such paintings in acrylic has rarely worked for me. Acrylic can be harsh, dries quickly and makes hard edges where you don’t want them. I’ve recently played with oils and cold wax and got better, softer results….the only thing I’m not keen on is that the final colours are a bit dull and matt. The oils however do work better for me; and I’ve incorporated Sennelier oilbars into my playtime….these are NOT oil-pastels, for those who are confused between the two.

Oil bars will work on canvas, canvasboard and that nice new oilpaper from Arches. The 12×9 inch painting shown is on Arches Huile and it has taken a heck of a bashing. It started life as a black and red abstract with cold blue, before being overlaid with more cold wax and yellow ochre; I didn’t like it, so it was all scraped off (mostly) and re-used on another painting :)…at which point I got out the oilbars and reworked it again with red and ultramarine blue, adding in white and, later on, gold oilbar paint. Using them is like drawing with a large sticky pastel and I’m keen to carry on experimenting in this manner….so at least two more works are in progress. If they get finished in the next few weeks, they’ll be here….

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