Friday, 26 April 2013

Is this the road to hell? Reclaiming canvases...

Only ten days since my last post here. I am veering towards my easel again. I have banned the easel I was using: a snazzy one you could tip for watercolour, pouring, etc. because the screws were no longer holding the part you rest the canvas or paper on. That meant precarious sliding and all sorts of calamities. I can't understand why they put easels together with small screws at vital corners. When I have time, I'll unscrew some of them and take them to a D.I.Y. to see if I can get stronger ones. But there's a problem there, too. If the screws do not fit exactly, they won't work, either. If they are too thick, they won't go through without force and there's a chance that the wood will crack or split in the process. It's a no-win situation and the easel, which fortunately folds to store, will probably stay in my cellar till I have a general clear out!

The easel I am now using isn't much better and bound to go the same way. One side of the canvas rest will not screw together properly, so the canvas is held by only one screw and wonky. But I will persevere.
The third easel was taking so much space in my little studio corner (of my bedroom) that it is now on the loggia and holds a clothes line contraption that hooks onto the back and is now in use (for drying clothes!) when the weather is good. I intended painting on that easel, but either it's windy and wet or the sun is pelting down. Either way, the loggia does not seem to have the right climate for painting!

This week I've rehashed an old, quite large canvas (about 140x70cm). I've no idea what I'd painted with last time, but nothing would shift either the varnish or, logically, the paint underneath. So I gessoed it thickly and hoped for the best. I decided that if that did not work out I would dismantle the support (which I had made myself) and re-cover it with fresh canvas. But the gesso worked, so I started to reclaim the canvas by pouring liquid watercolour onto a 2nd, thinner coating of wet gesso. 

Attempts to photograph this canvas accurately have failed so far. The first is of the grounded canvas and taken with flash (the original painting was textured so this one will be, too) and the second of an extract in which the painting was turned to the wide position. I hope it will end up surrealist. Below the two paintings are 2 whose style I will be aiming for. I prefert to paint in oils because I find it easier to work slowly! I know there are open-ended acrylics now, but I need to use up what I've got before investing in them (if ever)!

I find that this style of painting takes ages to get going unless you have a preconceived design - but that is difficult if the underpainting is improvised. However, once the images start to assert themselves, it's great fun!

groundwork (gesso + poured watercolour)

first expressive stage (extract- acrylics)

daisy (2010 oils 40x60cm)
on fire (2009 acrylics 60x40cm)
fawn  (2007 oils 40x50cm)
I must at this point pay tribute to a Turkish born artist named Cetin Cam, with whom I did a fascinating one day workshop here in Germany, at which I started the little painting "on fire". His paintings are really fabulous. 

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