I?ve always been a restless painter, constantly eager to try something new. Recently this characteristic led me to develop a new painting method for my acrylics that focuses the viewer?s attention on certain images within the painting?thereby enhancing the viewer?s interest?while still maintaining the integrity of the overall work. I call this technique “pulling the shade.”
I start my paintings wet-into-wet, coating the background with a selection of warm or cool colors (as appropriate to the painting) in thin, watercolor-like washes. Then I begin to compose the picture by dropping more color into the wet areas and making shapes such as leafstalks or grasses. This is how I create patterns and rhythms across the picture plane.
At this point I have to decide to either complete the painting in the same manner or take it to a new level by pulling the shade. Essentially this method imposes a geometric order on the painting by using washes to change the value of areas that I?ve sectioned off with a pencil and a ruler. These washes are generally composed of complementary colors, and therefore neutral, and the colors are closely related to those already in the painting. The washes must be transparent, too, in order to have a see-through feel, almost like a mesh screen over the painting. That?s why I call it “pulling the shade.”
Loraine Crouch is assistant editor for The Artist’s Magazine.