In this blog I share the inspiration for these two Abstract artworks and also a bit of the painting process.
“As I walk along the water’s edge taking in the last of the summer warmth, my bare feet sink into the cool swirling waters.
I can feel the rhythm of the ocean like a heartbeat.…It seems to echo across the crystal clear beach that sparkles with white grains of sand and broken shell.
Turquoise waves swell and roll, their white tops like lace in the early evening light.
Just for a moment, flashes of magenta and bright orange dance upon the water where the sun kissed the sea…it glimmers like jewels in an aquamarine crown.
This is my muse, this is my home! “
Olivia Alexander 2021©️
There are many layers to these two paintings. They're on 300gsm watercolour paper which I first coated with white gesso. I don’t always do this particularly if I’m using inks or watercolour. But with acrylic layering I find it strengthens the paper for my rough treatment. (It’s a great way to recycle paper as well). I made lots of marks on the surface with coloured and ink pencils and graphite. Most of this is hidden but somehow it seems to create an energy within the work.
I used acrylic paint to build up the layers using a palette knife, applying paint then scraping it back in areas. This reveals some gorgeous colour shifts that created a depth to the abstract Composition.
These two originally started as one long painting but I got to a place with them when I realised it wanted to be two. Creating an artwork is like having a conversation…the artist has to listen to what the painting needs.
So much of the painting process is about stepping back… looking, waiting, listening and observing.
It can’t be rushed!
Part of my painting process involves just sitting, eyes closed and picturing in my mind the colours and emotion I want to capture. For these works it was the mood and exhilaration I experienced as I watch the sunset’s colours dancing upon the waves. I constantly bring my focus back to that.
I always believe that to paint abstractly the artist needs to close their eyes to ‘see‘. It certainly works for me.
The watercolour paper was a rough texture which you can see in some areas even though it has so many layers of acrylic on top.
I finished off with the palette knife and some strong colour to give some contrast to the muted background colours. It also creates depth and direction in the paintings.
My paints are all artist quality and it’s worth paying that bit extra rather than buying the cheaper student quality. The pigments are stronger and you get far better coverage. My favourite acrylic paint brands are Golden Paints in both Fluid and heavy, Liquitex have some gorgeous colours, also Matisse & Atelier by Derivan.
My favourite paper is Arches 300gsm & 640gsm Hot pressed for a smooth surface. I find this paper stands up well to mixed media which can be quite wet. It also takes rough treatment well.
The Finished Pieces
The both measure 38x28cm unframed. They will look fabulous with a white mat and frame behind non reflective glass. I’m looking forward to seeing them framed and up on a wall soon.
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Thanks for reading!
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