Monday, February 27, 2012

The Liberation of Errors! or, Oops, messed up that painting I liked!

Winter Solstice 1, MHornbuckle c 2012
A week or so ago, when I had finished Winter Solstice, I was happy with it, liking the textural elements, the impact of the red and gold sun sinking below the horizon, with light catching the edges of the light molding paste I had used in the last stages of the piece. Think I even blogged about it. Too I liked the contrast of the deep blue with red accents in the upper 2/3s contrasting to the siennas in the lower 1/3 of the painting.  My patineer saw it, and thought he might like to trade for some of the cost of the sculpture mold he had just delivered.  The isolation coats I applied afterward though, were streaky, even after multiple applications, although they did not disturb the textural quality I had liked.. Wanting to eliminate the streaks, I decided to try a poured finish of GAC800 (I had seen a wonderful demo by Nancy Reyner, our local Golden rep, about ways to pour acrylics a few weeks earlier). Check out her work on her website - she is a master!
Ignoring common sense, I proceeded to experiment on Winter Solstice, which is 16x16, not a particularly difficult size for a poured finish coat.  The next morning with the haze cleared away from the drying acrylic, I had beautiful, glassy, level surface, but the glossy texture I had so liked about the piece was gone and it really looked completely different, and was very reflective.  My call to Golden Technical support did nothing to relieve my dismay - GAC800 is, according to them, not removable, even though I had several isolation coats of Soft Gel Gloss under the pour.  I could modify the high shine of  the coating with a final UVS semi-gloss varnish, but could not retrieve the texture I had so liked.
Winter Solstice 2 -  MHornbuckle c 2012
After a few days of mulling, should I paint the whole thing again on top of the GAC, or ignore the tech's advice and try to strip off the coating with ammonia, I trekked into town, purchased another Ampersand 16x16 panel for full price (Gasp!!!) and started to make another painting using the same palette and approach used with the first painting.  Having never actually tried to make a painting a second time before, especially not an abstraction, it was a new, and great experience. First of all, I sort of already knew what I was doing, never true the first time around. I could make different painting choices as each came up, knowing what the earlier choices had resulted in.It was faster too - no retreating to think things over.  How fun it was to paint with less deliberateness, more freedom and more certainty! I won't be using GAC800 again until it is a deliberate choice as it doesn't suit my style, defeats it even, but I will be making second and maybe even third versions of paintings I am happy with - may our errors continue to liberate us!

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