Today I completed another 2 experimental cheque and boxes style paintings. These were done to give me an idea of what materials and techniques I should use as well as colour tones before I commit to making a small series of them.
First of all to avoid the tonal problems I had on an earlier version of these I decided to use acrylic paints mixed up before hand in little pots. I worked out I would need 6 grey tones for these 2 paintings so I got 6 small pots and mixed up my greys. This way I know that once the greys dry and slightly darken as the do with cheaper acrylics they will still have a nice even array of shades. This approach also allows me to asses the tones on the finished paintings and then I can alter the left over paint to adjust the tones if necessary and the tones will be there for next time, at least as long as I keep the paint wet whilst in storage.
Below is the end result of the linen experiment.
This was done quite loosely as the squares are of inconsistent size. The grey tones are too close to the white end of the grey scale causing the lightest ones to look too white. These tones would need to be made darker in order to work correctly. The staining of the linen has worked well and the fluorescent paints are noticeable but not too intrusive. The contrast between the stained paints and traditionally applied paints is quite interesting but at this stage I am not sure if there is too much contrast between the two methods. Perhaps if the traditionally painted areas were more localised it may balance out more. There may be just too many individual painted areas here. The linen I used was also relatively cheap and consequently it has quite a course weave. This leaves lots of small holes in the canvas and this leads me to worry about the archival quality of the painting. This is something that is of concern to me as If I am ever going to sell work for reasonable prices it has to stay indefinitely in the condition I sell it.
I would like to do some more of these but I need to decide if I can afford a better quality linen and I'll need to carefully consider tones and areas that are painted so that the overall painting balances.
Below is the end result of the second experiment.
This one was done on 12oz unprimed canvas which was stained with a mixture of yellow ochre and vandyke brown. The staining was done too heavily first of all but I thought I would continue and use this as an experimental piece for future more finalised works. I also used a thinner tape and consequently the lines and squares are closer together and give a less chunky appearance. I think the grey tonal squares have come out much more balanced on this work and the brightest grey does not look as harsh on here compared to the other one. However, on this painting I decided to use a clear size but a normal white gesso and as before (I found this last summer) the gesson seeps under the masking tape causing little white areas next to the squares. This looks awful and very unprofessional. I will know from now on not to use the white gesso anymore. The reason I chose the white gesso over clear is because the white gesso allows the next layers of paint to have a more intense colour. Light bounces off the white gesso rather than getting absorbed by the clear gesso I sometimes use. however, the white gesso seepage is not acceptable so its clear gesso from now on.
I have 2 other unprimed canvases that I will continue working on shortly. I will also investigate the costs of a better quality unprimed linen.