I’m revisiting my archives this week, dusting off old paintings and posts to share.
This post is from May of 2009:
Can you paint on wood without looking like an Audrey Kawasaki copycat?
I’ve been painting on canvas and in my art journal for over a year, and I thought I should mix it up. I like the look of wood and paper but both pose a problem for me: Book pages always look like folk art mixed media works, or the collage leaves and uneven messy surface to paint on, and if I draw or paint on wood pieces my girls look like Audrey Kawasaki clones.
Experimenting with art on book pages and wood pieces.
To create a background for this painted portrait, I made a collage of story book pages onto a piece of canvas paper. (Next time I do this it will be on something sturdy, a hard board panel or wood. Canvas paper is fun to experiment on but its too flimsy for mixed media layers.)
Acrylic, dye, and beeswax paints over old book pages
The collage added a lot of bulk and overlapping bits to the background which made it a challenge to get the smooth “licked surface” painterly quality that I like my portraits to have. Its obviously rough and an imperfect and I love it!
At first I was very judgmental about this background technique, I thought it would look instantly “shabby chic” or scrapbook-y. Now I want to use book pages for everything: just look at that lovely yellowing, instant age and depth.
Her face came out so nice. Every time I paint I get better: the base / underpainting is in acrylics and her features were detailed with my watercolor-esque beeswax paints. I like these beeswax paints, they are beautifully translucent while having a lot of chroma so they don’t look as flat as using just acrylics.
If you wanted to achieve this look in your paintings the color palette is: mars black, titanium white, cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, light cadmium red, burnt umber, and lots of raw sienna. My underpainting this time was purple instead of the usual raw sienna and it was an interesting and fun way to start.
pencil on wood
Luna Moths is a sketch on a tiny spare piece of wood left over from a wood-burning kit. The wood and pencil make me automatically think of Audrey Kawasaki’s work, and that is unfortunate because I think that a lot of people will have that association; still it was a lot of fun to do. If I want to work on wood I will have to be sure my style is clearly defined as my own. I like the color and texture of wood panels, even more than the book pages, I just need to solve the style dilemma.
It boils down to figuring out the equation, really. What makes this piece, or any, look like another artist’s work? Pretty girl, captivating stare, manga inspired, focus on the face and facial features, focus on tight detailed line work, muted color palette, a lot of wood texture visible, and minimal background? In this case, it’s a lot of things that could very well be solved just by painting my piece with acrylics.