Life etc., painting

Layers of Control

This new series of paintings has been keeping me busy over the last few months as I’ve been experimenting with painting in, over & with resin. I’ve worked with resin for the last 8 or 9 years as a top coat for my lockets and wood block prints, but this new series uses many layers building a beautiful depth & 3D quality.
I’ve had to think about the way I work quite differently too as the resin requires a solid 48 hours to cure in between each layer. I usually prefer working with acrylics, which dry quickly, so I can build & build & build while still in the creative flow. This process of thinking about what I want to see at the end, what I want slightly hidden, what I wish was a little more visible…interesting to navigate. I have to plan as if I’m an architect while still submitting to the fluid nature of the resin, which is impossible to control 100%.
Painting is my creative outlet, but I hadn’t considered how much pleasure there is in having total control. So much of life is random or dependent on other people or simply out of my control. Sitting down at my easel, I choose the canvas, the paints, the subject. I can paint wildly with broad brush strokes. I can go slowly & refine each tiny detail until it is almost perfect, until it is just so. Exactly the way I want it. Total control.
With the more liquid mediums – glazing liquid, pouring medium, resin – they each have different viscosity. Several layers in these new painting experiments have been just perfect. The pouring medium & fluid paints I’ve been working with have swirled in the most beautiful way & I say to the canvas, “That’s it! Right there! STAY!!!”
Sadly, the laws of physics are not under my control. The paint says, “Nope! I’m not dry yet.” The slight dips in the surface cause the liquid to pool somewhere else. That beautiful swirl of deep blacks with an oily purple & sparkle of cobalt blue? 20 minutes of dry time later & it just looks muddy. The subtle shimmer has blended into a solid blah.
What have I learned? Less liquid, more layers.
Go slower.
Accept that you may not be able to control everything, so make more & keep the ones where the magic happens. Don’t be afraid to scrap a painting & start over from scratch. Don’t be afraid to ruin the painting with that one last layer. It WILL happen.
Keep going.

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