I decided to make up a small unprimed canvas to develop some of the sketches I had been doing. Last year I was using highly watered down acrylics on unprimed canvas to achieve a muted, "just about there" colouration on the canvas. This time I decided to see if I could achieve a similar effect with the fluorescent spray paint and masked areas.
I masked up my canvas and took it out side to spray it. I did not want to achieve an even coverage with the spray just a variated tone that gradually fades as it goes to the edges and sides of the canvas. Once this was dried I did the same to with the green paint. Once the green had dried as well I examined the painted areas. I did achieve a nice variated spray but for some reason the green spray did not sit as evenly on the canvas as the orange but seemed to gather in little ridges or strands. This is not something I have seen before in spray paint so made me think it may have been a dodgy batch of paint or just a strange feature of this particular green as I have not used it before.
I lightly sanded down these little ridges so they were not too visible. I then masked up the canvas again so that all the squares where the lines intersected was uncovered so that I could size and prime them to allow for later painting with oils.
I have learnt that I need to size these areas as if I don’t I cannot guarantee that the primer or paint will not seep under the tape and infect the areas I don’t want it to be in. The size and primer also add as a barrier to the canvas so that when I paint oil on top I can be guaranteed a reasonable degree of archival quality as oil will eventually rot the canvas. The use of the primer also allows the next layer of paint to sit much higher and it helps achieve a stronger tone to the paint as none of it sinks back into the canvas.
Once the size and primers had dried I then mixed up a grey oil colour mix to provide a series of gradual darkening of shade going from outside squares to the central diagonal.
Here is the final result below
Firstly the grey tones have not been as varied as I hoped they would be but I felt that while I was making them up. This is something that I often do in painting: I often don't see the full range of available tones just the variation of the tones I use. I have seen something called a "grey scale gauge" which allows one to assess roughly how light or dark a tone is on a range. I will invest in one of these soon.
I am also unsure if oils are the best type of paint for an activity such as this. Perhaps I may be better using acrylics as I am just applying a flat shade of grey and a quicker drying time would be beneficial.
The sprayed green and orange areas have also finished a bit loser than I had hoped they would. This could be a positive element in future but at the moment I think I want a more solid consistent tone. This could actually be achieved with a spray but there is a risk of it going irreversibly wrong.
The outcome is quite interesting but I do feel it needs another element or two to become a truly finished work. I also think that unprimed canvas may not be the best material on which to make work like this. I have been thinking that maybe linen or even jute may provide me with a more interesting finished result as the natural colour of linen will go really well with green, orange and shades of grey.
I will be in london tomorrow so I will pop into atlantis to get some linen and jute. I also think that jute would be a really good material to make my future grey scale paintings on. The jute would need to be sized and primed clear to allow the oil to sit on top of the jute yet the colour and texture of the jute would be perfectly visible in the final piece.