Honeymoon with Color

February 23rd, 2011

The 8' x 2' canvas after many layers of gesso, followed by poured and enhanced of Golden Quinacridone Yellow...

Spontaneity takes practise.
-Robert Hammer

I love the beginning… It’s nothing but fun… A honeymoon of discovery. It’s quite spontaneous but only works because I have been doing it carefully for so long.

Well, the actual beginning is layer after layer of clean white gesso drying slowly. That takes time.  Sanding each layer creates very subtle new textures.

Next I begin pouring very thin washes of transparent colors, allowing each layer to dry in between. This is wild and fun. Splashy. Messy. I have special shoes that I wear for it because it always gets all over me, especially with a big canvas.

As the layers begin to dry I sprinkle them with dried pigments, spatter them with flat brushes carefully dipped in thinned iridescent colors. When they’re almost completely dry I spatter with water or rubbing alcohol. Tiny droplets of the alcohol create amazing textures and patterns.

Then MORE layers of poured paint. Sometimes as many as 10, building up into a glossy, subtly complex surface.

I mix my golden paints with a small amount of Satin Acrylic Glazing Medium to keep them from drying so quickly. It's not a strong as Retarder, but makes them last longer.

That part is just fun. It’s a dance of discovery as I tilt the canvas and watch the flows, spraying with water if edges start to form where I don’t want them. Sometimes I wish I could just stop after the surface is complete because:

Next comes the WORK…

"Arrival" shows the raven landing on wire, which is barely sketched in with blackboard chalk.

I begin a painstaking drawing of the painting composition onto the color surface that I’ve  created with the pours. I use plain old blackboard chalk to do the drawing. It’s a bit clunky but perfectly adequate. And the ease with which I can wipe off errors and start again far outweighs the disadvantages. You can see the chalk drawing on the right. Or again in the unfinished painting “Arrival” on the left.

I’ll update later as the paintings are closer to finished.

But not too much later since they will be in my show at the Feick Gallery in Poultney Vermont which will be hung on March 14, opening March 25. Hope you can make it!

Does your creative process begin with a honeymoon?
How do you begin YOUR creative process?

6 Responses to “Honeymoon with Color”

  1. Lynn Bridge says:

    I just love reading your posts.

  2. I love this post and your work!!!

  3. lizamyers says:

    Thanks so much, Lynn and Robin. It means a lot to have two terrific artists be so positive!

  4. Kadira says:

    Hi Liz – Im looking forward to seeing this work finished – it looks like you have a nice big studio to create such a large work. My canvasses also require a lot of preparation – its quite time consuming I find.

  5. WildC says:

    Thanks so much for this fascinating insight into your process, Liza. I can’t wait to see the result, the yellow is gorgeous!

    March 14th is a splendid day to hang – it’s my birthday! Have a great show 🙂

  6. Magi Treece says:

    Very cool insight into yr process – sent to R’s teacher to share w/kids. Important things, beginnings, so have fun & do them right!

Leave a Reply