Acrylic Painting

Allison Bullock paints with both wax (encaustic) and acrylic paint. Today, she shares her process for an abstract acrylic painting. 

"Since I've been involved in many aspects of the arts throughout my life, I've always been interested in how they can interact and influence one another. For many years I've been exploring the idea of visualizing music. Asking myself what contemporary songs look like, sometimes the music itself can inspire a painting, and other times, its the lyrics and how they are sung.

About a year ago I prepared two large canvasses after being inspired by song lyrics. I wanted to play with subtly and decided to include the song lyrics in the painting itself. I wrote the lyrics on the canvas and used gel medium to trace over them, knowing that when the gel medium dried, it would be easy to paint over. 

After I'd prepped the two canvasses, I began painting the one pictured above. It turned out well enough, but I wasn't 100% pleased with it, so I didn't feel inspired to paint the second canvas. Putting it away, I just came across it again this past summer and thought I'd give it a go; since it was quite large (24x24) it seemed like the perfect chance to use my new 18" and 20" paintbrushes.

The brushes are natural hair with a wood handle. They're really nice to work with but I didn't anticipate the weight of them! My hand was quite sore after laying down the base colour! The soreness of my hand might also have had something to do with the pace at which I was working; I was going quickly because I wanted to blend the paint while it was wet. Even though its possible to add 'retarder' to the paint to increase the open time, I've never liked it; I find that it changes the texture of the paint too much. 

 Notice in the photo above the words are difficult to see; this is exactly the effect I wanted. I had a good feeling throughout this painting which, as many artists will tell you, is actually very unusual! Many times I have to force myself to finish a painting that I can barely look at because it is not at all what I envisioned. Apparently putting the canvas away for the year brought new perspective!

I can't say where the bubbles came from. There was no mention of them in the lyrics, but I felt compelled to add them and they turned out well. At this point I felt the painting was about 80%  complete; I'd added some texture with the paint, but I wasn't in love with the blank space in the upper left of the canvas. I'd used the last of my base colours on four artist 'trading cards' that I had laying around, and decided instead to stick them in the empty corner. I also added more bubbles!

The two paintings in the series are below and both will be at the Studio Tour!

Loose Electricity
All the Way to the Light

You can see Allison's work (with her mother Diana and grandmother Grace) at Studio #10