I fully believe there are no mistakes to be made in art. When it appears as if one has been created, one must find a path for a solution to the problem. This belief I learned very early in my art education and it has carried over into my everyday life, serving me well.
Once I realized that I had over blended my paints in this alla prima abstract, I became frustrated. Once over blended, there is no turning back. How could I not waste the paint? How could I make this work and produce an abstract I could be proud of having created? Could I save it?
Not finding an immediate solution, I took a large palette knife and further blended all of the paints together into a big greenish-brown yucky mess. I hated it! But how could I fix it? I continued to ponder for a solution, staring at the canvas on my easel. Thoughts raced while searching my brain for an answer.
In my process, I do not “under paint” my canvases per sé. I knew from my many decades of painting experience, the original hues were the first paints on my white gessoed canvas. That color was still on the canvas, hidden under the surface paint. I had to find a way to bring it out; to show its beauty below. How could I accomplish this?
Scraping away the paint with my palette knife? Although a good solution, it did not work for me in this instance. I blended the yuck some more, remaining perplexed. I searched my studio for possible solutions. Nope. Nada. Nothing of use could I find easily within my line of sight.
I continued to think, finally walking away. Returning without an answer, I sat down and stared at the ugly canvas thickly covered in greenish-brown paint. Now I sat, faced with the fact I would have to wash all of the acrylic paint off and start over. But I do not give up easily. There had to be a way!
Finally I picked up one of my special palette knives designed to create patterns in paint. I sank my knife deeply into the paint. Lifting it up, I could see the beautiful colors beginning to peek through the yucky. Close, but not the solution I was searching for. I blended the yucky paint back over the hints of color and contemplated my situation on my easel once more. I kept trying to make it work. Over and over.Again and again, I tried to make it work. My knives were not the solution; too small.
Then I got another idea. What if I lifted the entire surface of paint at once? Slowly? Steadily? But how could I accomplish this feat?
Finally, I noticed a heavily patterned piece of paper sitting on a bin. I studied it for a while, turning it over and over, just looking at it. The embossed pattern was very interesting. Could this help me? Would it work as I had imagined?
Taking the paper by its top corners, I laid it over the entire canvas of yucky paint. I pressed it deeply into the now drying paint. I could see the paint soaking up into the paper as I pressed. Would it work? It was not designed for this use. Would the paper tear? Could I even lift it off? Slowly and steadily, I began to gently pull the paper off the canvas, lifting the yuckiness off.
At first glance, a total random mess. Upon looking closer into the abstract, it had life! Beautiful color peeked out. It had interest with patterns, texture and color. An interesting pattern of little textured dots all over the canvas with smears of beautiful color emerging from beneath the dull surface. Due to the many layers of paint put down on the canvas, the hues created many blends of wonderful color. Red mixed with yellow, blue with white, yellow with blue and etc. Patterned dots of the yucky greenish-brown were juxtaposed into the vibrant color on the surface below. Taking my palette knives, I worked some areas of the canvas more, until I had a painting that.