Sunday, December 26, 2010

WORK IN PROGRESS - Show of Hands - Stage 5+6

I had to abandon the December 18th deadline because of severe back pain exacerbated by the build up of stress as other projects/commitments increasingly demanding my attention. So, after nearly a months enforced break ( bending over a large canvas laid out across a floor did me no favours ) I tentatively renewed work on the Show Of Hands painting. I'm attemping to pace myself, but back strain seems to occur retrospectively hours after I've already done too much, making it hard to monitor in the moment.

I've stopped working on it at home. It needs to be laid out permanently flat from now on. All that rolling up overnight didn't help the 'flaky paint syndrome'. The original PVA I used to stabilise this, was just some old stuff I had lying around, the fresh stuff I bought recently, turned out to be washable. As soon as I put acrylic paint on it a chemical reaction that presumably makes it washable produces a crackling effect in the paint surface. Who knows I might be able to consciously use this effect in the future, but in this project its a bit of a pain. It disappears as soon as I apply a second coat, ( more work ! ) some colours are only thin washes, not solid colour, so a second coat would make them too dark. You can't really see the crackling from a distance, its one of those accidental mistakes I'm just having to learn to live with.

As far as the collecting of hand out lines goes I'm now down to the last few hands. I know who's missing and I'll no doubt get these four over the next few weeks. If not I'll just have to get more creative. I've already had some fun with it, creating squares for the Buddha's hand and for BooBoo - Sundara's dog.

This week I re-painted the border a darker green/grey colour which brought the colours of the hand squares much further forward. The end
effect I'm working for will have a subtle depth effect going on between alternate squares. The new border colour also gives it a more even finish. I've been battling for weeks with little bits of the old terracotta border flaking off and sticking to areas I've freshly painted. Through this process I've discovered that to stabilise the canvas surface I should've not only primed it with waterproof PVA, but slapped layers of white emulsion on it. This would also have produced a smoother painting surface. Too late now of course. This painting has produced lots of such difficulties and learning curves.

I'd estimate I'm about two thirds of the way through. I can see what the future stages of work will be to take me towards the finishing line. If next week is quiet in the warehouse I could make substantial progress. Keeping a weather eye on my back as I go, of course.

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