Chocolate Valentine

So my third installment in the Valentine’s Day series!  Today, I’ll write about a piece I did during the weekend.  Since I do quite a lot of mixed media, I wanted to do one that used acrylic paint only.  I haven’t done that in a long time as I tend to add other kinds of ink like Ecoline or Dylusions Ink Sprays or get my Uniposca markers out.  But this time, I wanted to seek the challenge of sticking to one medium!

Palette Knife and Fingers

I used Canson’s Mixed Media Paper (300 gsm) and before starting, added an initial layer of white gesso to smooth out the rough surface lines.  Furthermore, adding gesso in the beginning helps bring the colour of the paints out.  Then I gathered all my fluid acrylic and acrylic inks in various shades of pink and red.  I can’t believe how much I have!  Placing them all on the table, I began randomly applying them with the squishy bottle or dropper, whatever the stuff came in.  And then I spread them around not with a brush but for a change with a palette knife!

IMG_5468The point is that I wanted to experiment with runny consistency.  Hence I used fluid acrylic by Golden in red and magenta, high flow fluid acrylic also by Golden in fluorescent pink (which, by the way, I loved!), and a variety of acrylic inks by Daler Rowney and Talens Amsterdam in pink and red.  I kept layering and layering over and over again and spreading with my fingers as well.  And here is the result.

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Cut out the Heart

Am not finished yet!  Now I was planning to use that vivid pink-red melange as a background and add another layer on top.  This background is to be a negative space in a form of a huge heart shape.  Although I’m not usually fussed about symmetry and centering in my work, I wanted to make it a “perfect heart shape” though slightly elongated due to the portrait orientation of the painting.  I took some scrap paper, folded it in half, made a half heart on one side and then cut it out before tracing that on the painting with a pencil.  Then I added another layer of white gesso outside the heart.

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Mmmm Chocolate!

I was pondering about which colour to paint the positive space I had just applied gesso on.  Being a complementary colour of the background, green was considered.  But I wasn’t sure if it would look special, or Valentine’s, enough.  Besides, I’ve done so many green backgrounds in the past that I wanted a change.  I thought about blue, and then turquoise, but when I gave a little test, it didn’t look right.  Orange or yellow are too warm and intense, and I needed something to tamper the “hot” tones.  Purple is too close to the family of reds and pinks.  Then I thought of neutral colours of course.  I would’ve opted for black but I have already done a Valentines piece using black paper.  I know, how about brown then?  I tried it, brushing on some of the Dylusions paint in Melted Chocolate.  And wow!!  It’s a bit of a warm brown but as the background has some cooler tones of baby pink, it blends in quite well.  Once I was done continuing with this paint, I added some touch ups in the background with the original acrylic media until I was satisfied.  And now…. doesn’t it look delicious???

IMG_5483I certainly enjoyed this session.  As said earlier, I don’t get to create with a single medium much, so it was an experience to be “purist” for a change, especially with acrylics.  Another aspect I liked too was being able to play randomly with the various pinks and reds, especially as these colours bring out a lot of energy.  While the reds ignite the fire in me, the pinks evoke a sense of playfulness.  I have to say that since I had been feeling quite under the weather the days before, I certainly got my mojo back!

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