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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Surface Matters

The surface one paints upon, or the "support" as artists call it, matters...a lot!  Different surfaces receive the paint differently producing a different look and feel in the final product.  The surface matters again when you go to frame something: will it need glass? can it be hung without a frame?  This partly depends upon the surface.  I found another place where the "surface mattered" this week so I thought I'd share it.

Often a "study" is done of a piece in a small size sometimes as a practice piece before it gets painted in a larger format.  The study can be a way to work out color combinations, composition or just to become familiar with the shapes before enlarging them.  So I decided to play with a study of the Golden Gate bridge in a 12 x 9 size with acrylic paint.  I had done a much smaller one previously in pastel and it is fun to revisit the same subject in a different media.  Here is the work completed:

Golden Gate 12 x 9 acrylic on board
I knew that the larger size canvas I had, 24 x 12, was not the same ratio and thus some of the composition would need cropping; however I did not pay too much attention to the fact that the study was done on a board (a very hard surface) and that the second one would be done on canvas (a very bouncy surface). 
I used exactly the same kind of paint and a lot of the same colors but the brushes did not move the same way over the two different surfaces, many of the techniques were not transferable and the feel of the paint grabbing was very different.  Here's the larger painting:
Golden Gate Bridge acrylic on canvas 24 x 12 x 2
So it was really like painting a whole new piece except that I knew my subject matter.  If you look closely however you will notice that I did change the lighting a bit between the two.  Artist perogative!  Or maybe one was in a slightly different time of year and the sun rose slightly closer to the north??  Anyway, next time I do a serious study for an enlargement I will definitely remember to stick to the same surface for both executions.  And as long as I am illustrating the difference the surface makes, I will add that the top painting will need a frame (no glass) to be hung and the second one, due to a "gallery wrap" canvas, will not.  It is painted on the 2" edges all the way around and can be hung as is...or framed.
Hope this helps the next time you are looking at a piece, remember to ask about the surface or support used and how that affects your care of the piece.
P. S.  I am in the slow process of putting new work onto my web site for purchase and will let you know when it is updated.  Meanwhile feel free to contact me with any questions should you see something that you wish to own.  

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