Whenever I get a new canvas, especially a large one, I cannot wait to splash some paint on it. So when I recently bought two 36″x 48″ canvases on sale, it didn’t take me long to decide to create another abstract.
Because my Jubilation abstract painting has received some local attention recently, I decided this canvas of the same size should have a similar feeling. Though the final results of Revelry are similar to Jubilation, different colors were used but I kept the predominantly white background.
Plan for Revelry
The acrylic abstract, Revelry, began by drawing out a small, rough plan for placement of the shapes. I then decided on the colors I wanted to use – yellow green, violet, yellow ochre, and cadmium red. Then I started putting some texture on the canvas. A mixture of stucco patch and white glue gives a wonderful, gritty texture and adheres well to the canvas. This was scraped on with a palette knife onto various areas, loosely following my drawn design. Then a notched spreader was used to define the texture even more in some of the areas. This texture was then left to dry overnight.
The following morning, a coat of titanium white acrylic was painted over the entire canvas. Because I knew the 1-1/2″ wide edges would be white, I painted them at the same time. Once that was dry, the fun of painting the brilliant acrylic colors began.
Since I paint quickly, I often do not have time to photograph the various steps I take when painting, though I often wish I had done so. That was the case with this abstract piece of art; everything was going so well, the music was energizing, and I was really enjoying myself, so no photos in progress were taken.
My plan for this particular abstract was to begin painting with the yellow green, then add the yellow ochre, then red, then the violet. A large palette knife was used and I followed this color order when painting. The texture I had placed helped guide me as to where the various shapes would be. In some areas I covered the texture with paint; in other areas, I skimmed over the top of the texture to make it more prominent.
When this part of the painting was finished and all of the colors had been used, I moved the painting to an upright position, stepped back and surveyed the results. “Not a very good painting,” I said to myself. So I thinned some titanium white to make an almost transparent wash, added a pinch of the red acrylic to it and used a large brush to paint rectangular shapes that I believe helped to make it more cohesive in design. I also added just a few splatters of the same thinned paint to some of the areas to give a subtle feeling of movement.
Not quite right – what does it need?
The abstract was again propped up and I could see it was better, but still needed something. This is where my “Daredevil Attitude” kicked in. An artist’s “Daredevil Attitude” is what I call it when an artist decides “Aw, what the heck! If I ruin it, then I can paint over it and have another chance.” In this case, I felt the risk was worth perhaps turning a so-so painting into a winner!”
Swoosh added – better, but notice the little violet spot almost mid-center
So, I grabbed the tube of violet acrylic, squeezed it onto the large palette knife and made a large stroke from about mid-point on the left, down to the bottom edge of the canvas. Better, much, much better, I thought. Adding this larger strip of purple was a nice contrast to the many smaller shapes of the abstract and helped to balance it out.
Again, I placed the abstract acrylic in an upright position and looked at it. I took it from my studio into the living room and propped it up there. Though I wasn’t happy with the choice of the yellow ochre, I decided to leave it alone. It wasn’t that much of a distraction and trying to “fix” might destroy the whole painting.
But the little violet spot toward the middle of the painting and just to the right of my large “swoosh” seemed to draw my eye unmercifully towards it. It had to be fixed, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it right away. So the painting went to bed for the night – as did I.
The next day, Revelry was again surveyed and that little spot was still undeniably distracting. Again I put some violet acrylic on my large palette knife and made the spot a bit larger. Oh, wow! I said, That’s it! My “Daredevil’ approach worked and Revelry is complete!