Palette and timelapse of peony painting progress

peony palette
Pink peony palette

Peony palette

My staywet palette is starting to look like an abstract version of the peony I’m painting.

I mostly use heavy body acrylics with it, rather than fluid, otherwise the water in the palette soaks through the sponge and through the porous paper to dissolve the paints even further. Eventually the paints become transparent like watercolour paints, which would be fine if I were working on paper instead of canvas.

The danger really is that if the paints get too waterlogged they will flow, and the colours could get corrupted, and even slip down the sides and get on the sponge.

If they then harden in the sponge when it dries, they will of course form non-porous plastic, which means areas of your sponge won’t adhere to the wet palette paper, resulting in air pockets, and your paints drying out, rendering the the whole system useless.

I do use some fluid paints with it, but strategically. For example, sometimes it is just easier to drip some fluid titanium white in to mix a tint.

Okay, okay, now the non-painters reading this are starting to glaze over (hee hee).

Push and Pull

Timelapse #4 of 30

This middle stage of the painting is the part that makes me question my sanity. This is where I have to dig deep to continue past the hard bits, as compared to the beginning which has the energy of a fresh start, of inspiration. Or the end stage where I’m loosely adding flourishes, and have a growing sense of accomplishment and awe at the magic of creation.

Assuming you’ve got the drawing sorted out already, the push pull stage is all about tweaking the colours, values and edges. So the changes are probably too subtle to catch in the timelapse, but I can get quite obsessed with  … perfection?

I take photos of the progress because some of the changes I make don’t work out, so I walk them back.

This is where you can become a slave to your photographic references. And I have to remind myself that any realism in my work is a by-product of my way of working, but it is not my goal.

The goal is to do work that moves me, and the viewer.

And sometimes what makes me really love a painting, is just an unexpected or pleasing combination of colours,  virtuoso brushstroke, or what is left out (semi-abstraction, or enigmatic subject matter).

Hmm. Maybe I need print that up and place it next to my easel so I remember, next time I’m spinning my wheels to get a passage just right!

When I paint more frequently, and have 2 – 3 paintings on the go at a time,  the momentum gives me more confidence, and I can move through the middle stage much, much faster.

If you want to just see the timelapse videos, I usually upload them to my YouTube channel first.

 

 

 

 

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