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“The Other Side”

Title: "The Other Side"
Size: 16" x 20"
Medium: acrylics
Surface: canvas mounted on board

In the past I have used acrylics for color mapping under drawing media but never acrylics alone (except in college many years ago). This time the decision to switch to acrylics was made for me as the brilliant colored pencil pinks and purples I was planning to use were all fugitive. Luminance does offer several lightfast pinks and purples but they are not as vibrant as the colors I was after. Plus, I already had a large selection of acrylic paints in my studio.

I didn’t want to change my style and I was planning, as much as possible, to create a painting that looked like my drawings: colorful, realistic, with hard and soft edges and smooth blending passages. I expected to do much layering but I wanted to try some techniques to minimize it.

I tested a variety of professional, heavy body acrylic brands and I was impressed by their richly saturated pigments, buttery consistency and lightfastness; gone is the plastic look I remember from my college days. Unfortunately, they still present a color shift from wet to dry, some brands more than others.

To facilitate blending I experimented with a retarder, with an airbrush (to keep the paint wet with water on the canvas), and with Golden Open acrylics. I live in Southern California where the climate is usually dry and warm. Golden Open Acrylics stayed blendable for a much shorter time than I expected. They would probably perform better in thick layers and in places with higher humidity and colder temperatures. I didn’t like using the retarder very much as it made the paint too sticky. The airbrush worked well but the water thinned down the already thin layers way too much for my liking.

I will continue to use acrylics for underpainting with colored pencils or with oils and use them alone for small size art. What I liked the most about them is their versatility and how they lend themselves to experimentation. What I liked the least is their color shift from wet to dry. I guess one can get used to it after a while but I really struggled with it.

There are many artists who create incredible art with acrylics. Whether they apply them with an airbrush, rely on optical mixing without blending, or use a mélange of techniques, at the end it’s the result that counts. Art mediums are like people; they come with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. No matter what medium one is attracted to, a great relationship is only possible after a lot of work and perseverance.

Click here to see how I use acrylics with colored pencils.


“Pebbles from Heaven, No. 3”

Title: "Pebbles from Heaven, No. 3"
Size: 16" x 16"
Outside frame size: ​23" x 23"
Medium: colored pencils, wax pastels and oil pastels
Surface: Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth board
Technique: Icarus Painting Board

Original available here. 25% of the proceeds will be donated to Caterina's Club, a charity that provides free, warm, nutritional meals to underprivileged children in Orange County.

Giclees available here

More information on my "Pebbles from Heaven" series on this blog post.


“Everlasting” on the Cover of PhD Thesis

My painting “Everlasting” is on the cover of Shauvik De’s PhD thesis. His research is on computational modeling and experiments of "non-newtonian flow through porous media". He told me: “Primarily I study how fluids flow through rock structures.Your art form of rock paintings is an artistic interpretation of a scientific problem”.

I think it’s a match made in heaven!  


How I Frame My Artwork

After mounting my artwork on 3/4" Ampersand Claybord, painting the sides in acrylic, and varnishing it, I place it in the exact middle of a fabric covered, 3/16" thick Gatorboard which functions as a mat. I insert four very thin sewing pins at the corners of the artwork and make sure they come out on the other side of the Gatorboard to mark the position of the four corners on the back.

I use screws with large washers to mount the Claybord onto the Gatorboard. The screws need to be inserted in the exact middle of the Claybord's stretch bars.

After inserting the artwork mounted on the Gatorboard mat into the frame, I secure it with framers points.

Details of framers points, screws and washers.

I mount the backing paper with double stick adhesive and trim the edges.

I screw in the D-rings, insert the plastic coated stainless wire, and twist it at both ends.

I wrap self-fusing silicone tape around the ends of the wire to prevent it from scratching the wall. For the same reason I staple some paper, folded four times, over the d-rings and screws.

Rubber bumper pads always come off so I make my own with a hot glue gun; these never come off.

Last step is to secure my signed certificate of authenticity with double stick adhesive on the lower center of the back.

This is how my artwork looks in the frame. I developed this concept myself and I've been framing all my artwork in this manner for years.

A different angle that better shows the 3D effect of my presentation.

I always try to take a good photo for social media with me by my work. This personalizes the art while giving a better view of its actual size.

Other blog posts on framing: