Plaid Painting Progress

I’ve worked on 3 large plaid panels recently. These have had varied success – but I think I have managed to overcome all of the issues I’ve had in all bar one of them – and this may dry into a better result.

The first one I did I really didn’t like as the striped colours dry lighter/darker so it is impossible to match to those already dried on the panel. I had already experienced this issue with the striped paintings I had already created – in that the paint matched my sketch book when wet, but dried a different shade. I was so disappointed. However, I did what Stewart suggested in his tutorial and lived with the panel for a while. It was just propped up in the kitchen and over time I came to love it. I didn’t care that the colours didn’t match – in fact this seemed to add to fact that we see and experience colours differently on different days. So in the end, I decided to love the piece for what it was and ‘let go’ of my concerns about colour matching.

It took me a while to start on the other 2 panels I had (each is 60 x 60cm and has a ‘float frame’ behind it). I had issues with remembering how to mix certain colours (and therefore the over-stripes were real mismatches on occasion), the base stripes peeling off when I removed the tape and me messing around with mediums to give a consistent finish. The second panel (orange and purple) was the ‘disaster’ panel where I couldn’t mix the right vibrancy of purple, the paint peeled off dramatically and I couldn’t get the patch-up paint to match the original, so some of the patches are visible. Then I made a mess of the finish. Some of the colours dry more matt than others – depending on their component colours – so I tried thinning down the matt medium to apply to the top to even this out. I made a right mess of this panel and it dried very patchy. I tried applying this before I added the upper stripes in the hope that it might help the lower layer adhere more to the panel than the tape. It looked awful, so I tried mixing the gloss and matt to make a satin. This worked better, but still wasn’t great. In the end I stumbled across some satin varnish in Hobbycraft which I have now used and has redeemed these errors and inconsistencies.

In the second panel I also tried making the upper stripes translucent with a gloss medium. This was a disaster. Because the paint was much more fluid it bled very easily under the tape in ways the (normally) thick paint did not. When you paint your nails you always have one that repeatedly goes wrong – well this painting was the same. I also had brush marks in the medium colour – where it was thick and thinner and really I just wanted it to be like it was screen printed. Maybe these would be better as screen prints! I could get more consistent colour and application that way…

The final panel (yellowy) went far better. Although some large patches of paint peeled off with the tape, I was able to patch them up satisfactorily – it may be colours that have a lot of white in? This panel is still to be varnished.

I’m not sure I will do any more of these before I have explored my thinner panels more. I really like them and they look great as a group, but take a lot of time and drying time too. They are certainly something I would come back to explore further. I love the interaction of the colours and that they are slightly different in tone on the differing layers. The translucent variety of the upper stripes just looked like a mistake so I haven’t taken this any further at this stage, and would need to refine the technique further before I tried again.

I enjoy making the electronic versions of these – particularly with the translucent stripes – so perhaps these are something that should remain as digital prints. This is something to consider for sale in the show I guess. Limited edition runs.

I will definitely do more in the future and I feel the scale is just right. I will also use the satin varnish again as this gives a great finish. If I want to use translucent upper stripes I will have to use Stewart’s tape sealing technique. This may make it easier. Get prices on digital printed versions.

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