Not all of my paintings work out and that included the first attempt of my latest acrylic painting. It had been a difficult one right from the start. The approach I was using, I thought, would be so beautiful. I was aiming at creating the effect of a large flower garden. After the initial layers of painted colours were placed down I went back into the painting with white and black line work. I wanted to delineate each individual stylized flower. After hours of drawing each of them in using those two inks I began to have that sinking feeling that the painting was falling way short of what I had in my mind’s eye. This painting was becoming more and more cluttered and busy looking. I also noticed I wasn’t having any fun either. It became the time to say ‘nope this can’t be saved, start over’.
So I decided to pull out my gesso and cover up that entire canvas with two juicy layers of it. Watching all those mistakes that I had made with that first painting attempt disappear behind that fresh white gessoed surface was a relief. It inspired me to try a whole new track. So I started out in an entirely different direction. The second painting became much looser and more flowing in style. I wanted it to be an abstract painting so I tried to stay more intuitive with my colour choices and painting strokes. ‘Don’t over think it’, I told myself.
I started with scraping into the wet gessoed surface before it dried with the pointy end of my paint brush. I wanted texture and looping wavy marks gouged right into the background before I started any painting. Okay now we are on to something! Then I applied different colours of oranges, purples and neutral greys and creams. On top of that I created some repeat patterning and line work. The darkest areas were mixed from burnt umber and phthalocyanine blue which created a wonderful contrast and really anchored the composition. I enjoyed adding some more detail work by using coloured pencils, oil pastels and fine tip markers.
I am so glad I realized that the first painting wasn’t working. That starting over anew was the answer. It was truly freeing to just go for it, to paint away with a fresh start. I am delighted with the end result of my new finished painting. ‘Whirlwind’ ended up having all the fun, vibrancy and movement I was hoping for. I guess you could say it blew me away!