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I’ve been slowly working on a new series of works for a while now – I’m looking at pushing my orchid mash-up pieces forward more, trying to coax them into something greater than the contained tangle of plants which is their current state.

I want to increase the scale of these pieces.  Growing them bigger with the addition of many, many more malevolent elements.  I want to feed them with clutter and random objects until they become wild and overgrown and sprawl across large scale sheets of watercolour paper…

on white

But I find myself lacking.  Lacking time and space and energy to fill these large sheets of paper with the overgrown tangle of plants I see in my head.  Lacking the discipline to stay up and create, in the darkness when everyone else sleeps – Or to stay home when my friends are out having fun… I’m really not very good when it comes to missing out.  And discipline would definitely be needed to push through such a large project to completion… Not be sidetracked by the bright monsters and birds who also call for attention in my head.

Instead, I’m letting it branch off to the side.   Keeping it smaller and more achievable.  Same same, but different.  Playing with moving my paintings away from my safe and comforting paper and onto beautiful reverse linen canvas.  Simple, and yet a challenge for me – Still working with the paint I love, but in a new way : Gouache is water-based, used in a similar way to watercolour.  When painted onto an unprimed porous surface it sinks in and bleeds out – A nice effect if you were doing a silk painting… But not what I want.

Deaths head in progress

So I’ve changed up my process : I’m layering it between heat sealed flat acrylic – Like the white base layers below images on screen printed tee-shirts.  Carefully carefully, so the gouache doesn’t bleed off the edges and onto the unprimed fiber.  And then there is the issue of binding the layers of gouache – You see, if it builds up, it has the tendency to flake.  Another layer.  Varnish.  But only on the painted area.  To contrast with the matteness of the natural linen.  Slow.  Like watching paint dry.  …But I have to say, I’m loving these new steps in the process!

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I’m currently working on a commission painting that involves native New Zealand birds.  So I started with a few sketches.  I thought I’d try out these little 10x10cm canvases to see if I could make use of the sketches after I was finished with them :

I began with a two tone background made with a print from a vintage embossed wallpaper I’ve been saving. I then built up some texture with a crackle medium that I worked back into with a chocolate gouache which I rubbed back – It gives them a bit of a worn, distressed look when you see them up close.  I added the sketches and sealed them onto the canvas with a clear layer of gloss resin, before working over top with gouache for the white highlighting on the birds and the Manuka branches.

Sweet. I like the subtle muted colours of these little pieces. May have to try out a few more with the other four pages of bird sketches I currently have!

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I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a while now, maybe its from watching too much Greys Anatomy or House.   In my head it was fully just a line-work diagram, but it didn’t look quite right on the canvas until I added in some shaded areas – Not like my usual love of flat block colours, but I’m happy how it turned out.  Not sure if I actually managed to fit everything in… No doubt I’ll look back on it next week, or even tomorrow and find that I’ve missed some great love out; But its got most things – Though they really are just bunged in wherever, not according to size or anything – More of as they came into my head.

And these are the latest set of postcards I’ve finished to add to my stack to send off :

I wanted a set of nice bright flat color cartoons to sort of extend on the theme I’ve been going with w Narwhal lately.

I’ve still got to add the line work detailing to the other set of orchid postcards from my last post https://vincenteknight.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/postcards-postcards-postcards/ – Promise to update on them soon!

Would also like to say Hey thanks WordPress for featuring on their Illustration page today http://en.wordpress.com/tag/illustration/2/ is always good, Cheers!

 

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Newly completed canvas with vintage paper, resin, paper-cut birds and gouache layers for my lovely friends who had their wedding down in Christchurch over the past weekend.  Beautiful sunny day, with temperatures similar to Melbourne at the mo…. hot hot! My plane was delayed two and a half hours on the way down, so I only just got there in time – Luckily my bag was carry-on, so was able to change at the airport in Wgtn while waiting… trying not to stress over not being there in time!  Turned out all good in the end, even after I left the painting in the back seat of my friends car when I got dropped off at the church – what can I say, Typical Vin moment!

Have included a close up shot below so you can see the hand painted embossed paper I used – I wanted to give it an old stone sort of finish, as I had all of Christchurch’s old buildings in mind when I was painting it.  The birds have this speckled quality to them, the gouache varnish topcoat I used on them pooled a bit because of the humidity we’ve been having in Wgtn, but I really like the extra effect its given them.

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my oh my….

It seems I missed my other little blue birds, so here is a new one – the first of the pair to be finished. I had a couple  of spare 30x30cm canvases left over from the small works I did for Brunswick Street Gallery (Exhibition opening this Friday) so I thought these would be a good use for them.  They are layered gouache finished with a top coat of mat varnish to stop the gouache cracking and lifting on the canvas. I used a piece of my hoarded vintage wallpaper to print the pattern in the background by hand – I like how random it has turned out, and reminds me a bit  of falling snowflakes, not exactly our weather here, but what I have been hearing about from friends in London recently.

Unfortunately I fully ran out of time to finish the second bird before we flew off to Wgtn at the end of last week, and with no extra room in my suitcase, it’ll have to wait till mid Jan when I’m back  in Melbourne before I get a chance to finish it… Hmmmph.  Have added this one up on my Felt page, though I won’t actually be able to post it out until I get back home, but should anyone wan’t it and not mind waiting a few extra weeks, its up here…  http://www.mightymouse.felt.co.nz

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Three new little canvases I’ve finally had time to finish now that BSG works are submitted.

I started with a vintage embossed wallpaper which I hand coloured, its layered on top of the canvas. I then poured a thick layer of resin on top – giving a super shiny candy finish, which evened out the embossed paper to a flat surface.  The cupcakes are painted on top of this… I have discovered that gouache sits on top of this type of polymer resin really smoothly and evenly and dries in a nice flat layer without cracking. They then get a very thin top coat of protective resin to prevent the gouache from scratching off.

These little pics don’t seem to want to enlarge when you click on them, so here is a bigger one below as an example :

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So after all the masking, trimming and multiple layers of set resin here is a pic of a couple of the canvases ready to be dropped off to Brunswick Street Gallery for their small works exhibition opening on the 10th December.

I love this candy resin finish, its just so…. Shiny!

 

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