Embracing Contrasts

Recently you may be noticing that I’ve not been blogging as consistently as the past few months. It’s because my boyfriend and I decided to move in together, and we’ve been rather pre-occupied with the house-hunting. And since I am selling up my apartment in Amsterdam, I need to clear up quite a lot. Lots of clutter has accumulated the past 8 years I’ve been there! Meanwhile, I’ve been sporadically painting here and there, and of course I prefer to have some continuity but once all is settled, I shall be back with a vengeance! I’ve been managing to squeeze in some time, however, creating stuff by following tutorials. Latest one is Tracy Verdugo’s Abstract Approaches.

Contrasts with Charcoal

The first Lesson on this course is about contrasts. Although Tracy has covered this concept during the Paint Mojo workshop in Cambodia last January, it’s always good to go back and see how much I have changed in my ways. Thinking of contrasts is a useful tool when you’re stuck in a rut during a painting and don’t know how to move forward: think of straight/curvy, thick/thin, light/dark, circular/angular. In the video, Tracy has taped 15 pieces of paper on the wall on which to draw, but as I have little room for that at the moment, I just took one large paper and divided it into 12. As you can see below, I’ve made my own flow of contrasts with charcoal as she has also done:

Contrasts with Charcoal

Adding Inks

Before adding inks and paints, I firstly sprayed some strong fixative to minimize the smudging of the charcoal drawing. This certainly helped when having to layer wet mediums. Once dry, I randomly added some colour with acrylic ink where I felt like it, keeping in mind the contrasts. Even the inks already provide the contrast from solid to transparent. Whereas Tracy went for orange, I went for pink. Then I went for an opposite colour like emerald green and then proceeded with more neutral colours like Payne’s Grey and Antelope Brown

Adding Inks

Adding Even More

Here, Tracy suggests that we try bolder colours. I chose some marine blue. Where I felt it was too overwhelmingly dark, we covered it up some home-made stamps in a contrasting light colour. I used my bunny stamp I carved on lino quite some time ago which reminded me to use more often and create more of such stamps! Another thing to add was some stencilled patterns, thereby smooth vs texture as contrasts. And I love my kawaii cat stencils! Finally, as a contrast to the transparency comes opaque, and this was in the form of using gouache. And here we are now! It’s best not to do too much because later on, the divided areas will be cut up into 12 small pieces, and we will be working on each one individually. How exciting!

Adding Even More

So this concludes the first part to the Embracing Contrast piece! And this piece will be in pieces now, divided into 12 tiny ones. I’ve already started working on some of them, and what fun that has been! The best part is figuring out what to do with each of the unexpected paintings and how to develop them further to a pretty mini abstract pieces. I’ll be sharing some shortly so watch this space!


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