Happenstance Hills

The setting: Big canvas lying on a plastic storage crate in the centre of the bit of open floorspace of my studio, so I could work flat on it with very fluid paint.

The problem: No space to walk around the canvas. Arms not long enough to reach top of canvas whilst sitting on floor.

The solution: Turn the canvas and paint clouds “upside down” onto the previously painted “dark sky” colour, starting at the top-but-now-the-bottom edge.

The happenstance: As the fluid paint spread it started to form a series of hills on the horizon, which could be the Outer Hebrides viewed over the sea or hills on the far side of a loch.

The photos: Top is how I was seeing it as I was painting it. Bottom is the canvas turned right way up. (Detail photos, not the whole width.)

Painting Clouds or Mountains

I was using Golden’s High Flow Acrylic paint, which I’ve really been enjoying the past few weeks. While it’s not cheap paint it is top artist’s quality (though some pigments do head up into the “gulp” range); the intensity of the colours is astounding and the consistency unlike anything else. It flows yet has a surface tension that holds it, so it behaves differently to acrylic ink. The paint also doesn’t create bubbles when you shake it, which I’ve found happens with DIY flow paint created using flow medium + water + paint.

I’ve been using the paint straight from the bottle, enjoying the intensity of colour and the interactions between colours as they spread and mix into one another. Spraying water over the top encourages the paint to spread, and rapidly shows how level a canvas is, or not! Sticking some masking tape around the sides creates a ‘dam’ to stop the paint dripping off the side.

I can also see great potential for glazing with High Flow acrylics. Some colours in the range are transparent, some opaque; not only do the labels tell you, but on the bigger bottles the nozzle is clear or opaque too, a clever bit of packaging design. But right now I’m entranced by it “straight from the bottle”, and mixing colours in empty bottles.

2 Replies to “Happenstance Hills”

  1. Loved your comments about the on the floor painting…love the effect that you got…and appreciate your sharing so much knowledge. God Keep, me

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