Acrylic experiments with mark-making and blending.
I discovered different ways of using the medium – with lots of water, washes like watercolour can be produced, blended and graded; and with little or no water the paint can be applied thick, in a textural way.
I played with different size brushes, first getting to know them by organising them into filberts, flats and rounds.
I made marks with 2 colours side by side on the brush; dabbing with the flat of a large, flat brush, and using it on its side; produced repeating shapes, stamping the paint on; made wavy lines, straight lines, stipples and so on, by choosing the best brush and holding brushes in different ways.
I used the brush ferrule to get a dry-brush effect. You can be quite brutal with these bristle brushes apparently, but mine are a bit old and splayed from past oil painting, so I may need to invest in some new ones, especially filberts.
The paint can be mixed on the support, on the palette, or in a dish if using wet washes. I tried blending with brush, rags, fingers – the last two felt quite visceral.
When I painted the simple landscape from memory, I started out using the paint like watercolour. The paper buckled quite a lot, although it eventually dried flat. I used thicker paint for the middle ground, and neat paint for the textures in the foreground, using a variety of marks and ways of holding the brushes. I made the landscape painting very quick and simple. The aim was to start getting familiar with the paint and what can be done with it, not to make a great painting.
The grapefruit was directly lit from the side and was painted on gessoed paper. The paper still buckled, but the gesso made the surface more robust and less absorbent I think. The background was done with large flat brush with dilute paint in two colours, blended with the brush on the paper, trying to get a gradual transition from green to red-green. The fruit done with neat paint in quite coarse brush-strokes with a medium size flat brush, the marks left unblended and made to follow the contours of the fruit. The surface the fruit is on was similarly done. The notes under the painting express by feeling of struggling with a new medium.