Around 250 artists gather for this mid winter school in the country town accessibly close to Sydney. The tutors offer their best know how and techniques using paints of every imaginable kind, which allowed me to get fairly clear cut understanding or overview of how serious amateur artists are approaching their art and this is reflected in new simplified information which I have set out covering the use of AI (see attached copy).
There is one particular demonstration that I would like to comment on which was carried out by Herman Pikel who is an extremely competent tonal painter and is able to impart his knowledge very effectively to his students.
What interested me in particular was that it presented an opportunity to make a very clear demarcation between three different ways of using AI. Number one, the traditional fast drying methods, number 2, the method whereby drying is delayed when the artist feels like slowing down by reintroducing moisture with an atomiser , and number 3, the situation which Herman was using where an artist decides to slow down the entire process by using a slow medium. What I discovered from Herman’s workshop was that one of Chroma’s own mediums packed under the JS label and called JS retarder gel actually works more effectively for slow techniques than our present “thick slow medium” packed under the Atelier label, and so naturally I will be converting the latter to the same formula that is used in the JS medium, but while this is happening and finding its way to the shelf in retail outlets, people in Aus who are interested in following this up could simply buy the JS product and use it the way Herman did.
The painting that Herman wanted to end up with had a light yellowish background as a light source against which most of the subject matter in the painting appeared more or less in silhouette but displaying an interesting interplay of tonal relationships which are easily achieved wet in wet but which would be extremely difficult to do in the quick layering techniques that are often used by acrylic artists. This demonstration was so successful that I hope that Herman won’t mind me passing onto ChromaLink readers the information about how he carried it out. Firstly he already had a dry layer of the very light slightly yellowish colour which was to represent the lightest tone. Before he started to paint the tonal elements, he took a large paint brush and quite liberally painted the clear JS medium over the entire surface of the painting he was going to work on. The effect of this is that the medium is so slow drying that it is possible to work on top of it with paint which will stay wet for many hours without having to worry about refreshing it with an atomizer spray etc. and the consistency of the medium is such that it is very friendly towards the painting of gradations which is what his painting really consisted of: many closely related tonal gradations which gave a feeling of depth and complexity to the painting.
I think this approach or method would work very well for artists who want to paint directly from life especially for such subjects as portraits or still life painting where it is possible to build up a complete painting in a wet in wet mode as one would do when using oil paint. The down side of using this process is that although you have used acrylic paint, you have in fact slowed it down to such an extent that you can’t expect to be able to over-paint it probably even the following day. The object is to complete the painting in one operation if possible, and if this doesn’t work out then it needs to be put to one side for a couple of days like an oil painting, nevertheless the drying time is much faster than it would have been with oil paint and can be accelerated by placing the painting in direct sunlight or close to a heat source such as a radiator to dry it out faster. I thought this approach to a slow painting technique without having to use a water sprayer was so simple and so effective that I wanted to pass it onto everyone. I am sure you will find Herman’s painting interesting especially from a tonal point of view.
Moving on from this very broad based seminar with its 250 artists, I went almost immediately to Yeppoon in central QLD where Bela Ivanyi and Peter Sharpe were carrying out an acrylic seminar with Bela’s group of very experienced acrylic artists. This allowed me to finish the document which I have posted below which is intended to clarify and simplify the many ways in which AI can be used, and because I was attending the seminar I was able to write the copy for this document and pass it back and forth for comment among the people attending the seminar and I hope that having done this I have arrived at a brief and simple description of what one has to think about when doing a painting with AI. When a paint is as versatile as this one, you can’t really expect to have the maximum success and exploit its potential if you are simply working on automatic pilot and not planning what you are doing, so I hope that these short notes will act as a guide to help people to combine more of the new delayed elements that AI is capable of into their painting processes.
Please comment on what you having experienced with the wet in wet method using Atelier Interactive, especially if you have been to either of the workshops& seminars I mentioned above.