When I first began to use acrylic in 2009, my thinking was that I didn't want to try to make the same type of paintings with acrylics as I had been doing with oils. Not only would that be frustrating in terms of end result, but also it would limit my exploration of the acrylic medium's wide range of possibilities.
To that end I chose a subject that seemed to be the polar opposite of the layered, semi-abstract cityscapes: flowers! Here are some of the first acrylic paintings I made:
Well, they are still layered and semi-abstract, aren't they? Haha.
I used paper and sheer fabrics collaged onto the canvas.
I splattered and splashed using various acrylic-to-water ratios and learned about how to avoid that cracking thing that happens when acrylic mediums are applied too thickly in single coats.
I drew with charcoal, conte, and china marker in between the acrylic paint layers.
I also drew with oil pastels and then sealed them with more layers of acrylic - a definite no-no in the realm of archival concern. But I thought, "it's not like I'm doing great swathes of oil with acrylic on top, they're just thin lines so it should be ok."
I really wanted to be as free as possible, and it was a lovely exercise.
A few of these painting sold, and I gave some to family and friends. I also donated a few to the Calgary Children's Hospital.
Now I no longer have any desire to paint flowers, and for two years the remaining flower paintings have been just sitting in a cupboard - the very worst place for art to live! Therefore I've decided to donate them to Art With A Heart for the residents of Slave Lake who lost their homes last year.
This is the artist statement for my "floral period":
Flowers have been portrayed in art since early history; they seem to have been drawn, painted and sculpted by every culture that has ever existed. The fascination of flowers is manifold - besides their visual appeal, many have practical uses in medicines and food, perfumes and dyes.
Contemplation of flowers can inspire an awareness of the divine, as well as a delight in earthly sensuality. Be they pedigreed hothouse beauties or a field of wildflowers blowing in the wind, flowers can lend a glimpse of something greater than human design. With their myriad colours, shapes, textures and scents, they seem to celebrate life itself.
As a contemporary visual artist I also want to celebrate a love of life. The flowers in these paintings, with their vibrant, riotous colours and curling tendrils, seem to be dancing for sheer joy. It is my hope that they will bring joy to the viewer as well.
All in all, it seems very appropriate that my little florals should bring joy to the residents of Slave Lake, instead of being shut away in a dark cupboard.