For painting of the month April, I thought, why not just choose my most recent piece. So April is a 12×24 black canvas titled “Infinite Beauty”.
If you’ve been following along with this Painting of the Month series, then you already know my love for black canvas (over the more traditional white canvas). But recently, I have fallen in love with the 12×24 and 10×20 lengths. At first, it was simply a matter of practicality, as this size kept being on sale. But there is something challenging and constricting for me as a painter working with a longer, rectangle shape. Maybe that sounds crazy. But it really feels harder as an abstract painter working in these dimensions than something more square.
Now of late, I have literally had just outer space on the brain. First, my kid sister works for NASA and without being political, this new administration has been making things very challenging for those who love science. And as family I hear all about it. Second, my dad (who loves space and the history of the space program) told me about the nickname ‘Steely Eyed missile Men’ for astronauts in the 60s. And I instantly had to come up with a figure that captured how cool that name is. Those guys are currently in the works. Lastly, I watched the movie Passengers (liked it, feel like the previews were a tad misleading though). So here I am with all this floating around in my head one day. When my brain feels cluttered like that, I always turn to painting. Just feels like an organizational release of a sort. It didn’t take long to see all of this spill onto the canvas.
This started with a ton of spray ink. The vitrail paint (which I used mostly here) reacts and swirls so much better with a very wet surface. It has a subtle fade to it in parts, while taking advantage of the gentle slope in the table I paint on to create sweeping lines and curves. Now vitrail comes in a few different ‘flavors’. I used mostly regular and Fantasy here. The base being the ‘regular’. Very deep colors that are much more viscous, and dry similar to a hard candy shell.
The Fantasy colors all have a little hint of metallic to them. They also have a slightly different consistency. especially if they’ve been stored any length of time. And this means they react differently. Pieces tend to break off and float, creating a feathery effect.
Once you lay down vitrail, I like to give some time before I use anything else like acrylics or more ink. But its definitely a timing thing. Wait too long and the vitrail will grab your brush and you will be pulling strings of color all across the canvas and destroying the work. Don’t wait long enough and the vitrail just swallows the acrylic. The right amount and you can float the acrylic. You also capture the purest form of the acrylic color. No fading. Just the same vibrant color as if its fresh from the tube. So its great for just adding some detailing and spicing up areas to draw attention.
If you plan on trying all this, I should mention vitrail ruins brushes 🙂 Just gets all crusty and nasty. I have two brushes I use for vitrail and they don’t even look like brushes anymore. They look like lollipops that I never quite finished. So I use bar straws to apply the acrylic so the vitrail doesn’t ruin more brushes.
To get that crackling, sunburst light ray effect that sweeps the left edge of the canvas, I used the bar straw with airbrush paint. Airbrush paint is more fluid than regular acrylic so I can dip the whole bar straw in there, then fling it like a wand to splash the color on.
The final touch was adding tiny star glitter. I’m not a fan of glitter paint, but hints of glitter fleck….just hits the spot.
What I enjoy most about this painting is the fact I love it no matter which way I hang it. That is rare for me. I usually have a very strong reaction to my work when it is hung a certain way. Where it just feels ‘right’. And I know that when people purchase my work they may feel as if a painting should hang differently than I intended, and I don’t mind that. But this piece just feels great no matter what direction I flip it on the wall. (on a side note, if you ever wonder how one of my pieces should hang: I sign the back to show how it was when I painted it. So the signature will appear upright. But I sign my initials on the front of the canvas in the lower right corner to show how I intend for it to hang.)
“Infinite Beauty” is in the Etsy shop now.