Thursday, August 28, 2014

187 The Virtues of Chaos


We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.T. S. Eliot
I started my recent exploration of abstraction by painting in oils. My hyper-thick applications of oil paint soon proved cost prohibitive and I switched to acrylic–of which I had an ample supply in my studio. I was an early adopter of Golden Acrylics and had dozens of large jars of the Heavy Bodied Paint as well as large bottles of Liquid Acrylics (I painted with acrylics in the early days of my illustration career). I bolstered this supply with a variety of discounted jars I discovered at a local art shop buying nearly the entire inventory (it can be risky buying on-sale acrylics as some jars can be semi-dried. But my purchase was excellent).

While I was painting up a storm with acrylics my abstract oils were slowly drying in the corner. But I soon noticed that the thick passages were beginning to wrinkle–showing signs of alligatoring. Some people call checking alligatoring but that, I feel, is a misnomer. Alligatoring is the wrinkling of oil paint that is applied in an excessively thick layer–which is very different from checkingand caused by an entirely different phenomenon.

Needless to say I was shocked by this development and grateful I switched to acrylics for my upcoming show. Acrylics can be applied thickly but will dry much thinner due to the evaporation of water that gives bulk to the strokes. Additives can be mixed with acrylics but I have yet to achieve the juicy, robust stroke of a brush highly loaded with oil paint. But I'm working on bridging the gap. I have a wide variety of pastes, gels, and additives to give the acrylics various textures.

In the painting above I used a profusion of Clear Tar Gel. It's an extremely glossy, odd feeling medium with a slight thixotropic quality that may give me the effects I'm looking for. Time and experimentation will tell.

Brad Teare–August 2014

7 comments:

  1. You know, Brad, I was going to ask you how you dealt with the uneven drying times of thick oil. I know it's possible with the right driers, but I've never messed around with anything other than Aklyds (Galkyd, Liquin) to mess with drying times.

    Howard Behrens is another very impasto heavy painter. I wonder how any of you all deal with drying issues.

    Regardless, thick paint applications can be a rich experience. I've never seen one of your paintings in RL, but I have sen Behrens when he had a gallery of his own in Monterey / Carmel that my wife and I visited maybe 15 years ago.

    I wonder if you could use marble dust or other additives to give the body, while at the same time adding a chemical drier so that the polymerization occurs at an even rate throughout?

    I'm not a fan of acyrlics. I have tried them in my life. They just dry too fast for me.

    Well, good luck. I enjoy your works. I'm glad you are still at it!

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    1. I'm not sure about the marble dust but it might be worth a try. The fast drying time of the acrylics is actually a feature I really like. Of course it is an entirely different way of painting. It seems more akin to the way I thought about woodcut with the addition then the subtraction of paint by scraping.

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  2. This is very beautiful Brad, the texture and the colors sing together so well!

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    1. Thanks Padmaja. I am really getting into the thickness of the acrylics.

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  3. Great job Brad! I am primarily an acrylic painter myself with focus on Golden Fluids & gel mediums. But I when I paint in oils and I like using wax to build body. (The pigments sticks like R& F Pigment Sticks and Winsor Newton and Sennelier). I like the immediacy pigment sticks/oil sticks provide. But I find myself coming back to my acrylics because I can get more work down faster.

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    1. Thanks Princess! Have you tried adding colored chalks to acrylic? It can be alike a paint stick in the way you can make a pastel like mark. Very fun! I am using mostly Golden acrylics too. I love their texturing mediums.

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Thanks for your comments!

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