When I decided to switch direction in my art, I looked to not only my past and some of my goals in my own artwork, but also to others doing dimensional art in some fashion as well as those doing geometric work in their paintings. However, I wanted my own voice to be heard loud and clear. Not only does that take time, it takes experience. For me, experience starts with experimentation on multiple levels.
The first piece of the experimentation was to come up with random ideas, some that I could start with and others that might take time to work up to because of equipment or other issues. Knowing that wood was going to be my medium, the latter was and is especially true. I drew out a few ideas and then started thinking about the cuts, the tools needed, and the various color combinations that I wanted to start with and move towards. Drawing things out was one thing, but making things happen was another because they don’t make stain in the colors I wanted. That takes us to the next piece of the process puzzle.
Having worked with wood stain in the past during my brief time building tables, I knew that the stain would be an issue. First, I wanted vibrant colors. This is and will be something very important to my art. I love wood and its individual characteristics that the grain show. There are also aspects of the process that impart onto the wood that I believe deserve to be seen and incorporated into the art as a whole. So, what I needed to do was create my own stains and I didn’t want just some watered down paint because I felt that in the long-term, the art would not hold its vibrancy, so I made my own using an acrylic medium and high-pigment acrylic paint.
Once the materials were selected, the next big part of the experiment was mixing color and figuring out the necessary balance between medium and paint in order to achieve the right viscosity to achieve the staining effect that I had envisioned. This was actually a little challenging because not all paints are created equal, so you have to adjust to accommodate each paint in a mix. For single pigment stains, the process was easy. However, with two or more pigments, a lot of testing was necessary. What was interesting about two or more pigments was the level of separation that happened when the stains were not in use. Each color separated fully so when needed, a lot of stirring was necessary to bring the consistency back to where it needed to be and the stain color back to what was intended. The whole process is definitely a satisfying one.
With medium in mind as well as a few ideas, the next step is to start designing. See my next blog post for details on how I do design.