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My painting process - Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

At last, time to paint.

With all the other jobs shouting out to be done to sustain a solid foundation for my painting world, moving from my computer to the easel becomes less frequent.

Starting to paint is not an easy thing to do. I need to have my head clear and to feel happy in my space. We artists are like sponges we soak up everything around us.

For me, the outside, the weather and the colours are my inspiration. Over time, I have put together a catalogue of ideas which I collect on my computer in

the form of photographs, written descriptions and experiences. I also keep a sketchbook with notes of shapes and colours in the landscape I have seen when I am out and about. These I can make into small works on paper which I use as studies to make the larger paintings.

I am a studio painter I very rarely paint outside. I have YouTube videos playing in my studio while I work, I find listening and working with contemporary, professional abstract artists demonstrating enjoyable. Historical and contemporary documentaries about abstract expressionism and the artists are my favourite listening. I have often been influenced by techniques the well-known abstract expressionists use, for example whilst listening to Pierre Soulages I became very excited about black and texture

I paint quite fast, when I start, I find it difficult to stop for breaks so having clear days planned is important. Next is to decide on the size I want to paint. I work in standard sizes to keep a uniform and cohesive collection. My canvases are ready primed in a standard depth which I frame myself. The next decision to make is the design of the painting. When working within a series I will have a fluency that the process of developing the series will have set in place. A new series will offer the chance to create a new colour mix which is where my colour swatches come in handy. When I make a new colour I will make a swatch to add to the collection for my reference.

Will this be a semi-abstract landscape or abstract work?

Deciding on what is next depends on whether I still have more ideas flowing within a series or have found inspiration to begin another set of paintings to add to my collection. I could alternatively be in the mood to work on a canvas beginning in an abstract way to come together organically. The abstract works are usually single pieces and not part of a series.

An abstract work will start with a chosen set of colours made up into pots for speed and even colour distribution. Making up pots of colours also helps when working on a series. I have a good-size canvas on the easel which gives me plenty of room to move around. I start by liberally applying the colours to the canvas watered down to create translucent, thin washes of colour. The paint will move and mix on the canvas, flowing naturally making drips and almost bare patches. During the build-up of the works, I will use charcoal to add character and shape some marks will stay and some will be covered. As the layers are added the paint is applied thicker, impasto using mediums and your best paints (GOLDEN acrylics) and eventually, purposeful marks are made sparingly. These last marks are one of the best parts of making the painting. The colours are dense and opaque, the joy of seeing the colours dance together is wonderful. The looser the work the larger the brushes and tools I will use.

The semi-abstract landscapes are made in much the same way but will use the influence of shape and perspective to create the work. My paintings have a high horizon to exaggerate the perspective in the landscape. The style I have adopted lends itself very well to the open landscapes of the Devon and Cornish moors and my surrounding Wiltshire landscape, which I love.

When the paintings are finished and dried I varnish with a spray satin varnish to protect the painting but mostly to seal the charcoal. I like to frame my works, they don't feel finished without. I choose a modern simple and lightweight white float frame which I make myself they are simple but effective surround to the paintings.

I have designed a moulding which is being manufactured at the moment. I am looking forward to making the prototype and hope that it works.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my painting process.

CLICK THE LINK to visit the gallery, zoom in to see if you can see any of the techniques I have described.

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