Going with the flow
Here is a bit of background about another painting that will be exhibited at the summer exhibition in Portsmouth Cathedral from the end of July.
I had the initial idea for "Flow" in December 2019, envisaging a dynamic composition of water running over rocks. I had broken a glass with a lovely heavy base - it seemed a pity to simply throw it away. So I wanted to see whether it could be incorporated as the main "rock" in the mixed media painting, using acrylic paints as my adhesive. (I knew that the smaller shards would work as I have successfully incorporated lighter glass in my work before.)
This is what the painting looked like after the first few layers:
All glass pieces were adhering to the canvas, even when I hung the painting on a wall. Even though the painting passed the gravity test, I did not do further work on it for a year. I believe it is important to leave sufficient time when evaluating the success of experimental work and not to rush to any conclusions.
Any changes usually seem to happen fairly quickly (in the first few months), but in this instance it took a year for problems to emerge... The glass bottom fell off the canvas when I added additional paints. (In hindsight, I can see that a heavy piece of glass probably needs a sturdy substrate like a wooden board to adhere properly.)
A rethink was required. I repurposed the glass bottom as a candle holder.
However, I was not sure how to complete the painting after its focal point was gone. I put the painting aside, trusting that fresh ideas would emerge over time...
In 2021 I added glazes of natural dyes to give me something fresh to respond to. (By then my focus had shifted to finding plastic-free alternatives to acrylic paints.)
Once the dyes had cured to a rich brown, I added eco-friendly household paints and varnishes another year later.
Overall, it has taken 4 years to finish this canvas, but I am very pleased with the final result. Here are some close-ups of the rich textures and layers:
As you may have noticed, I initially envisaged the work in portrait format. Now I like the sense of gentle meandering that a landscape format provides. It reminds me how I learned to go with the flow during the painting's long journey.
However, if you want more drama, the portrait format might work better for you. (As usual the painting is signed on the back, so that it is easy to rehang it.)
The painting will be on view and for sale from the end of July at Portsmouth Cathedral.