Sometimes a canvas will sit around for a long time before I figure out what it wants to be. If it sits around long enough, I’ll often cover the surface entirely and start again from there.
In the moment, that may feel like a bit of a defeat, but in fact, those “failed” canvases that I paint over often achieve a depth and richness that the original never could have possessed.
Kind of like life: our mistakes and do-overs are often our greatest treasures.
Here’s the evolution of a recent piece, Blue Is Just a Color, which I completed at my Create & Incubate Retreat in May.
Blue Is Just a Color Process Pics
In late April this canvas looked like this:
It had been sitting around for ages like that, and I was never happy with it, so I smeared it with crackle paste, which resulted in this when it was wet:
And this after it dried:
Next I added a glaze of Golden Soft Gel (Gloss) diluted with “dirty water” that was blue from Midnight Blue Ziller ink plus some walnut ink, which made for a lovely teal. Here’s what that looked like wet (those tiny dark speckles are bits of dried Ziller ink which had settled in the dirty water):
And after it dried:
I added a layer of Daniel Smith transparent watercolor ground, and a couple of weeks later I brought it to my Create & Incubate Retreat, and added some calligraphy in waterproof Midnight Blue Ziller ink:
Then some watercolor squares:
Then some little roundels of pastel (I draw with pastel, then spray with SpectraFix and smear with a gloved finger):
At that point it seemed to be calling out for some more texture, so I started stitching with linen bookbinders thread in teal (waxed) and blue (which came unwaxed, but which I waxed myself with beeswax):
For more pics of the finished artwork, click here.
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