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July 2014

Playing loosely, looking closely...

IMG_8734Whenever I teach I am always asked if I have a plan or if I know what I am going to paint.  The answer is generally no to both of those questions.  My plan if there is one is first to play with paint.  Play with the properties of paint by applying it on the surface dry or with mediums, play with it on a wet surface, or wet it after I apply it.  The magic starts to happen when I introduce a second color and watch the paint interact, mingle and fuse with the color I applied before.  This process continues as I move the paint about using various tools or techniques.  I can stop or continue at any point.  That is the joy in the process.  When I do stop I wait for things to dry.  I take photos of the surface and look at them on my monitor close up.  What is there awaiting discovery.  It takes me back to sitting outside as a child looking at clouds searching for what could be seen.  It takes relinquishing control and handing it over to your intuitive self.  Learn to look closely and from every direction.  Turn it left, right, upside down.  Something is there waiting.  I'm posting different views from this piece I am working on.  It is Fluid acrylics and High Flow acrylics on Watercolor paper, mostly wet into wet after the first lines which were dry.  It's strong and bold, but there is magic here.  Tell me will you?  What do you see?


and what about here??


Artfully yours, Chris

Leaving and in process


I make a habit of walking away from things from time to time.  Abandoning overused techniques, retiring favorite stencils and stashing them away.  When I think about it, this is a good thing.  Leaving some things behind but not totally allows us to one day re-discover them in a new light.

I love to paint happy things.  There is nothing like bright clear color splashed on a surface (or a wall).  It just does great things for my brain.  I'm a big fan of transparent pigments but of late have been exploring these colors in a more opaque mixture by adding either Titanium White or my ever-loved Titan Buff.  So although I am not abandoning my transparent colors I am looking at them differently.  So too my stencils.  I found some old floral screens (reverse stencils) and rediscovered how wonderful they are when used with glazes to create sheer pattern over pattern effects.  All of art is about discover, pushing and pulling what we already know and searching for new combinations that resonate in our practice.  There is lot to be said for taking a risk, trying that new technique, or just winging it until something speaks to you.  Don't be afraid to leave and return or stop by somewhere new.  Where have you been in your practice that you would like to revisit?  Stop by and visit me here leave a comment and you might win a copy of my latest DVD: Top 15 Acrylic Painting Starters.  I will let you know on the 25th of July!

Artfully yours, Chris