Thursday 21 September 2017

Shit Wednesday: Acrylic on paper (Dina Wakley Media journal)

I've already shared this on Twitter, which a few of you commented on. I don't over go over into the realms of completely abstract paintings that don't physically represent anything, and are just celebrations of colour, shape and light really. I just wanted a chance to really try out some of the Dina Wakley Media products and see what I could achieve.

This was done over Tuesday and Wednesday this week in maybe 4 different painting sessions. None were very long - but it needed to dry really well in between and I wanted to make sure it dried properly to give texture - heat-drying does often result in a "flat" painting, I find, so I don't use it if I can help it. I titled this piece "Shit Wednesday" because Wednesday was one of those frustrating days where meetings and so on mean you don't finish the things you want to finish, then I got DRENCHED on the way home in a torrential storm - once I'd put my clothes into the washing machine and got changed, I sat down and completed this.

I like the combination of textures, from the watercolouresque purple top left to the impasto shapes top right and then the in-between grid bottom left. I really love how cleaning my palette knife on top of the Blackberry kind of centre-right at the top left a few Night strokes that pulled a lot of the painting together.

The three shapes have some meaning:

  • Circle - circles traditionally represent completeness or the universe or oneself. It also represents the sun and masculinity.
  • Square - squares have been used to mean the four corners of the Earth, the four alchemical elements and so on, or anything else that has "4" involved. It is commonly used as a symbol for Earth.
  • Triangle - obviously in Christianity it represents the holy trinity, but also represents femininity or fire.
Considering the colours used also:
  • Rose gold - traditionally this represents love.
  • Violet - represents the future, imagination, escapism and the fantasy world.
  • Indigo blue - represents devotion, justice, practicality and truth.
If you put them together, you get a love of the sun (given I'd just been soaked in the rain!), concern for the future of Earth (given the recent hurricanes and so on - this is climate change (now past tense, not a future possibility), and a love of fire (I was cold!). I love hiding words in my work - or using colours and symbology to hide words or meaning and so on.


Ranger Dina Wakley Media Journal (BUY NOW: USA, UK)
(I worked on one of the "watercolour paper" pages without any prior treatments and it was a righthand page that had not been already used on the back)

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylic Paints in:
   Rosy (BUY NOW: USA, UK)
   Night (BUY NOW: USA, UK)
   Blackberry (BUY NOW: USA, UK)

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Mica Spray in:
(this is part of a 3-colour set - but you can't buy it individually: BUY NOW - USA, UK)

Prima Marketing Finnabair Art Basics Clear Gesso (BUY NOW: USA, UK)
(you can use any clear gesso for this, obviously)

Plaid Folkart Layering Stencil:
   Heart (BUY NOW: USA, UK)
(this is a set containing a heart stencil, a heart mask and a grid stencil - it's only the latter that I'm using here - and you can use any other grid stencil of a similar kind of size)

Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Distress Layering Stencil:
   Bubble (BUY NOW: USA, UK)

Palette knife
(a totally straight one is best for this kind of work)

3/4" Gold Taklon paintbrush suitable for acrylics

(I used a pretty soft one - these are economical and you can buy them in big multipacks with other sizes - I do recommend you use gold taklon and not white nylon (too stiff) or any of the more expensive filaments (not necessary) - you do need a pretty soft brush for this kind of work) 

Container of water to wash the brush and to wet it - I did not bother using separate clean and dirty water for this project to be honest.


STEP 1: I made a very quick background by putting some blobs of Night onto the page and with a wet brush, just spreading it out to cover most of it, leaving a 1" or so border around all sides. I then added a little bit of Blackberry and Rosy and blended them in - this was just to ensure my foreground and background had sympathy for one another. Whilst still wet, I sprayed the Lapis mica spray all over it and ensured the whole white border was covered in a light layer. I then let this dry completely.

STEP 2: I covered the whole thing in a thin but even coat of the clear gesso and left it to dry. You need to do this with really fast brushstrokes so that you don't lift the mica up off of the lower layer. Once dry, the mica won't have as much iridescence, but you can still see it - it sinks into the fine grid-like pattern on the paper which looks cool.

STEP 3: I drew the 3 shapes on the righthand side using the fine-tip applicators on the paints, and then left them to dry. They are not quite random shapes. The Rosy circle, Blackberry square and Night triangle have some symbolism, which I've explained up at the top of this post. As they were applied thick, they needed a few hours to fully dry.

STEP 4: I used the grid stencil and a very wet brush to apply Blackberry at the top left - I put some paint on the stencil and then used the wet brush to draw it down the page and into all the squares of it. I then flipped the stencil and pressed it onto the bottom right of the page to reflect the pattern a bit. I immediately took by wet brush and used it to draw some of the Blackberry squares to the right, creating 3/4" horizontal strokes. I added some vertical strokes just left of the 3 symbols. I really like how the Blackberry then bled on the wet paper and went under those symbols.

STEP 5: I used the same stencil to apply Night with a palette knife bottom left, then flipped the stencil and pressed it bottom right. I cleaned the palette knife on top of the Blackberry area top right, in both horizontal and vertical strokes.

STEP 6: I used the Bubble stencil to apply Rosy very roughly with a palette knife bottom right and then cleaned the palette knife in the same way as Step 5. DONE!

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