Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Painting on Glass - Hanging Rock #2

The second of series of paintings that was inspired by views from Hanging Rock State Park. Like the earlier painting done this was painted on two different surfaces. The lower surface is that encompasses the sky and mountains is painted on a 16x20" Gessobord. The portion of the painting that shows the rock and the big tree is painted directly on the glass.

I love the overall finished look of these works, but they are so much more challenging than traditional paintings on canvas or boards. A few things to point out.

1. Glass has no absorption - Despite masking and priming areas of the glass - the painting process requires several layers so to avoid streaking. The varnishing is also critical so the paint will not lift off the surface.

2. Framing - I like to offset the glass about 1/4" away from the panel to give a dimensional depth effect. I use spacers around the perimeter of the panel and the all the media is set into a metal sectional frame. I have framed dozens of pieces like this, but as we all know glass is quite fragile. If glass breaks during the framing process of matted artwork, all it costs me is a new piece of glass. On these works we are talking about hours of painting time wasted if the glass breaks. Needless to say the framing part is a bit tricky.

3. Photography - I still have not quite figured out how to do this so as to avoid all the reflections that occur from the glass. Back lighting, side lighting, front lighting - all have their advantages and disadvantages, but I have yet to take a perfect photograph from these paintings.

Hanging Rock State Park #2 - 20x16" Acrylic on Glass and Panel

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hanging Rock

We visited this area last Fall. After hiking several miles up we reached the top of Hanging Rock which is where I shot the picture that inspired this painting. When I began photographing the area I knew almost immediately the types of paintings I would do. The rock is so massive and the view is so spectacular it created two distinct elements that had to be separated. I decided that I would paint the rock directly on the glass and offset it about a half inch from the panel to give me some depth. I began first by painting the sky on the panel - it was not my intention to give the sky so much attention, but I found that some of the colors I was using were not giving enough vibrant punch. I knew these would be behind glass, so I needed to make the sky jump out. The mountains in the back ground are a bit more subtle but help in making the sky and the rock really come alive.

Painting on glass is always a challenge as it has no absorption. Even traditional primers like gesso do not always adhere well. Several coats of priming were used and even then the surface is still pretty tough. I painted the rock, by first using traditional heavy body acrylics in a series of color patterns. After about 8 hours the basis of the rock had formed, but the colors were not vibrant and streaked alot. I then used acryl Gouache to go back over these colors. Everything on the rock is opaque, so I did not concern myself with losing transparency by using the gouache. After doing this I again used the acryl gouache and made the patterns and symbols on the rock that are found in many of my works.

When I finally framed the piece and offset the glass from the panel got really excited from the results. The additional work and challenges of working on glass definitely paid off!.

Hanging Rock State Park - 16x20" Acrylic on Glass and Panel

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Corner of Rolesville and Puryear Road

I came across this Tobacco field not far from my home on Rolesville Road in Northeast Raleigh. The picture was taken in late October so there were some interesting fall colors in the composition. I used some of my favorite Matisse acrylic colors to create this painting. Australian Sienna is somewhat of mix of Raw Sienna and Cadmium Orange – you see a lot of this in the field and in the center of the big tree. Some of the greens used are Australian Olive Green and Australian Sap Green – I generally avoid specialty colors like these, but the Australian series of Matisse acrylics is a real good range.

Matisse Flow paints are a thinner consistency and match the color range of the heavy body structure acrylics. I use these for glazing and for accentuating certain areas. The big shiny leaves on the tree and certain areas of the field are a combination of Flow acrylics and glazing medium. I usually apply this with applicator bottles, similar to how one might decorate a cake. This gives a neat effect that works well with things like flowing water or leaves blowing in the wind.

Corner of Rolesville and Puryear Road - 12x12" Acrylic on Canvas