I got chatting with a fellow artist friend, Lynette K, the other day about sharing the creative process. She asked me if I’d ever made videos of me working (I haven’t, I’m not comfortable with the idea), as she was considering sharing her own.
Check out her funky art here, it’s very cool.
I did say to her that I had thought of sharing the process here on the blog and she told me it was something she’d like to see…. I hope you all find it interesting too!
First things first, a support to paint on.
I chose a canvas for this demonstration, but I more often work on paper, which I prime first using Art Spectrum transparent gesso, also known as pastel primer. It’s gritty and provides a good grip on any type of paper.
Next I need a subject matter! Sometimes I work from life, but more often from photographs. My process takes time, and it’s easier to have a static, unchanging subject.
I chose this photo of gum blossom that I took on a walk in my local park.
Next I dip the brush in the masking fluid and flick drops of it onto the background.
The very first time I did this was because of an accident! Some drops of masking fluid fell where I didn’t want them because I’d loaded my brush too much. You pretty much can’t remove it when it’s wet as it will just smear, so I decided to go with it and created more spatters in my background. It turned out so well it’s become an integral part of my style.
All dry and now it’s time to paint the background. I use acrylic ink for my backgrounds as they have very vibrant and rich colours that contrast beautifully with the softer feel of the watercolour pencils I use for the subject.
Once the background is painted it also needs to dry completely, which also takes a while. I can get impatient with this process and have to force myself to leave it alone. As a consequence I sometimes lose my muse and I always have a pile of UFOs in the studio. (Unfinished objects!)
When it has dried completely the masking fluid gets peeled or rubbed off. If I’m using paper, this is where the primer becomes crucial. I’ve found that without it the paper often tears, especially if the masking fluid is thicker, and there’s nothing more frustrating!
My favourite watercolour pencils are Derwent, especially the Inktense range, but I also use Faber Castell Albrecht Durer.
Generally when I paint on canvas I use ink, sometimes a felt tip pen. On paper I mostly use a black pencil.
I primarily did reduction linocuts then, and my final layer was always a black outline. It feels somehow more “finished” to me!
My greatest inspiration back then was the work of Australian artist Margaret Preston…. this is one oh her works from 1925:
And so my gum blossom painting is complete. I hope you enjoyed reading about my process!