View Full Version : an abstract acrylic painting

07-17-2001, 10:08 AM
'lo all-

generally when I paint, i create an intense, chaotic background and then add a figure or two in over the background ... well, someone told me they thought my 'underpaintings' could serve as finished pieces. Here is an example of an underpainting I finished last night ... do you think it stands on its own?

It's acrylic and ink on canvas, 9 x 12 inches ...


07-17-2001, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by jheinrich
... do you think it stands on its own?
YES! But, you've forgot the butt.:p

07-17-2001, 12:44 PM
Yes, it can. But bigger! Gigantic!


07-19-2001, 05:03 AM
Your picture is a pleasure for my eyes.
Great Stuff.

07-19-2001, 12:18 PM
Wow, that is so cool!! i think it's beautiful!!!!!!!

Personally, if it were up to me, this would be hanging in my living room!!!!!!!! :D

07-19-2001, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by Chuck

YES! But, you've forgot the butt.:p

lol, you know how long I debated? :D almost did it

well folks, it may have stood on it's own, but I couldn't leave it alone.

here's the end result, entitled "Abstract" lol

Wally's Mom
07-20-2001, 09:04 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap:
I love it both ways !

07-26-2001, 12:50 PM
I would love to know more about your technique! I think it's beautiful (both ways) !

Trish Booth
07-26-2001, 05:42 PM
Your painting is far more powerful without the figure, I think. :)

07-26-2001, 06:08 PM
trish: thanks for your honesty, I agree ... it's one I put on my christmas 'give-away' list :D

live and learn ... I've been doing a few more abstracts, next to something BIG, 3 x 4 foot or likewise interesting.

thanks aja and mom for your support :D


Trish Booth
07-26-2001, 06:18 PM
I think bigger would be good---You've really got some great motion and gesture in there. And you never know until you try! Good Luck!

07-26-2001, 07:04 PM
u are right, it should grow in size, big time! But the only thing i didn't like about it was having such a serene charachter with such a chaotic background! it kinda throws it into whack, i don't know if it is supposed to be a emotional or calm mood!

But other than that, i think this painting is too cool! Keep it up :D :clap:

07-26-2001, 09:22 PM
trish- thanks ... I'm looking forward to trying something big ...

strawberrrie ... I think you hit on the head why this isn't working- plus the face looks weird ...

here's a link to a new abstract I did, and promise to leave alone, if you're interested ...

07-27-2001, 03:33 PM
as a viewer of art i'm always looking for art that i can connect to. either visually or emotionally. generally i find that with abstract work this becomes very hit or miss.
the colors in the original piece are very powerful i think, but i don't know, it just doesn't move me. you know?
i think with the introduction of the figure the painting gains a certain amount of depth and therefore becomes much easier to connect with, even without knowing your intention.
there. is that long winded enough for you? i like the image better with the figure, but don't give up on the abstracts. they have the potential to be just as powerful.

08-16-2001, 12:47 PM
oh my gosh, that is so cool! i MUST have one of these for my home ;)

I would love to see u create one of these abstract backgrounds step by step, cuz i have no idea how u could do it! It would be too cool to see it happening ;) I think these are so incredible, they should appeal to the most picky person, if u ever sell one, it should bring you a nice little paycheck, i wouldn't know, i'm too wussy to sell mine!!!!!!!!

Excellent, excellent work, keep it up by all means ;)

08-16-2001, 12:54 PM
I love it either way! with the boy sitting there it looks like he is watching the openning to another dimensions.

Love it!


08-16-2001, 05:02 PM
that is so cool. could you please tell me how you did that? i really would like to know because that is really neat. i have to say i like it better with out the figure, but other that it is cool! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

08-16-2001, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by strawberrrie

I would love to see u create one of these abstract backgrounds step by step

well, for those of you who are curious ... I can't really show a step by step because I don't have a camera and since I work wet in wet, I can't turn it over to scan in progress. so here's a description:


canvas or watercolor paper
colored inks
rubbing alcohol

Use the sponge to ENTIRELY wet --I mean sopping -- your canvas or paper ...

decide on your palette, and then spread your colors so that each mix some and each maintain their original hue some - put the paint directly on the canvas, no side palette mixing.

once the colors cover the canvas, lightly drape the cellophane over some parts, splash rubbing alcohol over other part (reveals what's underneath) sprinkle salt as you would with watercolor, and then 'drizzle' the ink down the 'channels' in the cellophane.

let dry entirely. sometimes takes a whole day.

when you pull off the cellophane and scrape off the excess salt, sit back and evaluate what needs fixing. At this point I use small glazes to brighten or darken according to the compositional needs. I usually do a few glazes and make a few very impasto marks to solidify the focal point and there you go.

I consider this technique to be an excerise in testing your 'color/form intuition' ... whatever that means lol

If anyone else is interested in using this technique- I would love to see what you come up with. In the meantime, I'm adding one of my all time favorites that uses this technique here ...

cheers, and thanks for all your comments.

08-16-2001, 06:46 PM
Oooh! This one looks great. I'm gonna try your method -- thanks for explaining it.


08-16-2001, 07:10 PM
show me when your done, vic!

08-17-2001, 01:13 AM
:o oh my gosh, i mean, really!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!! :o I have NEVER heard of a technique that cool before!!!!!! i will DEFINETELY try it out, i was wondering, u say to let the ink drizzle down into the channels, is the 'ink' the rubbing alchohol mixture???

that is soooooooo cool! :D :D do u use rock salt, kosher/margarita, or table salt???

i just can't get over how incredibly cool that is!!!!!!!!!! :o :D

i would guess that u do all of this with the canvas laying flat,

do u do it on canvas?? if so, stretched or panel??

i want to hear everything!!!!!!! :clap:
i'm thinking about buying the camera for you so i can see it in action!!!!!!!!!!! :D

i want to buy one of those sooooooo bad!!!!! I don't know if u would except my budget limit, oh say $5, $10???? lol ;)

i think this is so cool, and i really would love to pay you for some of this, even if it is just an 8x10 sample, just so i could have some of that beauty, and i could really learn from it ;)

08-17-2001, 01:30 AM
i just got done looking at your website, and, oh, my, gosh...................

i am so incredibly jealous of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope that one day i may be able to have talent like that, it is mistaken when i think that it takes the most expensive materials to create the most beautiful work :crying: I thought that for so long,,,,, i would never have gessed u got that look out of cellophane and alchohol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am pooped after all that overwhelment, i would say more, but, 2.................tired........zzzzzzzz

(good work! ;))

08-17-2001, 02:10 AM
Originally posted by strawberrrie
u say to let the ink drizzle down into the channels, is the 'ink' the rubbing alchohol mixture?

no ... use one or the other at a time for best results.

do u use rock salt, kosher/margarita, or table salt?

mmm, I'll have to try margarita salt ... I've only used table salt ... and I don't use it every time, there are some questions as to it's archival reliablity.

i would guess that u do all of this with the canvas laying flat...

NO WAY! I tip it every which way.

do u do it on canvas?? if so, stretched or panel?

I usually use gallery wrap canvas ... canvasboard doesn't work at all because the water seeps into the cardboard ... masonite might work, I haven't tried it, but watercolor paper works famously! love it.

enough with the $$$ offers though, I'm content to share techniques, in fact I want to see what others do with this idea ...

a will to learn is all one needs.


08-17-2001, 09:29 AM
ok, i was 2 curious 2 wait for your reply, i wish i had :o because here's what i did.....

I used panel with 3 differend colors, laying flat, and when i put on salt, i COATED it with it, as well as using cellophane.....

I didn't have rubbing alchohol, so i used some, hehe, foot deodorizer spray from bath and body works (i never liked it anyways) that had been a gift to me, and it worked pretty good as a substitute:rolleyes: but, now that i am forced to have patience (letting it actually dry) i will actually go and buy some alchohol......

I will try this all on some actual stretched canvas if i like the results... i will be sure 2 post it ;)

08-17-2001, 10:59 AM
Jeannete, when you drizle the ink do you use just one color or different colors of it; do you wait for the alcohol and salt reaction completed their "job" before drizzling the ink?I uderstand that the ink goes on the celophane but when you remove it some of the ink will end up where the salt and alcohol are...

Do you prime watercolor paper and what weight watercolor paper do you use?

Thank You!


08-17-2001, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by YLCIA
Jeannete, when you drizle the ink do you use just one color or different colors of it;

sometimes one color, sometimes many- depends on what I'm trying to do. Honestly, the ink is so expensive that when I ran out, I just filled my pots with very watered down acrylics and use those now. Except for brown and black. Brown India Ink is one of the finest colors ever made. It reacts with other colors to make the most beautiful hues.

do you wait for the alcohol and salt reaction completed their "job" before drizzling the ink?

ok, hopefully I can clear this up. First, I don't put salt under the cellophane, it's just never worked for me. I don't always put cellophane over the entire surface, it's only the leftover exposed areas where I will put salt.

Alcohol can either be sprayed on with a toothbrush, or drizzled down the channels, it removes wet paint, and shows whatever is underneath.

Now the cellophane has to go on over a very wet surface, the ink/alcohol (not together) gets drizzled immediately for best results. Salt needs to go over a half-wet surface, or you'll just glue the salt particles down. If you want the cool crystally effect, you need the the paint to be ALMOST dry.

One more thought- I don't always let everything dry before pulling the cellophane, you really have to watch it as it dries- especially if you are using blacks and some other colors, as they will congeal underneath the cellophane and show lots of white canvas. I prefer to let it dry thoroughly, though, as that gives you the sharpest edges.

It's just one of those things you have to work and observe for awhile to learn what works best.

I uderstand that the ink goes on the celophane but when you remove it some of the ink will end up where the salt and alcohol are...

ink goes under the cellophane, on the canvas ...

I don't understand your question ... When you are drizzling, you have to be careful not to let it get out from under the cellophane, or it will just leave long streaking lines over whatever else you have.

If your painting is dry when you remove the cellophane, you shouldn't have a problem.

Do you prime watercolor paper and what weight watercolor paper do you use?

I use so much water, that even priming can't reduce the buckling, so I quit bothering. I use a drawing board under the paper, so I can tilt and turn easily, but don't tape ... the water just pulls the tape up. The paper takes longer to dry than primed canvas, but is well worth the wait!

various comments I thought of to add

don't add bleach- it reacts with the acrylic and creates toxic fumes.

dishwashing liquid/masking fluid/matte mediums and varnishes don't work well with this technique, in my experience.

hey- thanks for asking :)


08-17-2001, 11:39 AM
here's an example on paper ... using this technique, then colored pencils

Woodcurrent 18 x 24 inch

08-17-2001, 12:42 PM
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PATIENCE AND DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS! And this work is absolutely gorgeous! as all of your works! I am a permanent fan of yours!:D

I do like your satire too:evil: :)


08-17-2001, 02:15 PM
I've peeled away the cellophane :D

It is 2 cool, it could have been better, but i didn't know what i was doing ;)

I will definetely post this, i think it is so cool!!!!!!!!!

I would love to use this, but i am not sure if that would be considered stealing your idea, i love it, and will only use it in the future if it is ok with u ;)

08-17-2001, 03:49 PM
I've longed for others to use and experiment with this technique since I began painting and developed the method.

I have no fear from others knowing my techniques- it's not my technique that distinguishes me.

so please, have no fear, as ts eliot said ...

"bad poets (artists) borrow, great poets steal."

lol. I steal everything that makes me a better artist.

This is the first time in a year and a half of posting on wc that i've actually been asked to explain in detail, so thank you both for letting me share.


08-17-2001, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by jheinrich

This is the first time in a year and a half of posting on wc that i've actually been asked to explain in detail, so thank you both for letting me share.

I am so glad that you are willing to share!!! if anyone should be thanked it should be u!!!!!!!! That is such a cool technique that i will be sure to adopt it for many of my future paintings!!!!

If there is anything else that u know of, i would love to hear it... this has been so incredibly helpful, thank you sooooooooo much for teaching it to us!!!!!!!! :clap: :clap:

08-17-2001, 04:45 PM
ok, here it is... i think this took about an hour to complete and then i let it dry overnight.... there should be a pen in the top corner to help u get an idea on the size...

08-17-2001, 04:56 PM
I also made this one with the leftovers that i had ;)

I think i actually like it better :D
sorry that it is on it's side, i don't know enuf 2 change it ;)

Is this opening??? if it's still not, tell me why :(

09-09-2001, 08:17 PM
oh bugger, i can't fix the second one, but i would like to know whether or not u think this is ok for a first try....

So what do u think, don't u think it's ugly!!!

I kinda do ;)

09-10-2001, 01:59 AM

This is great and I like your technique. The origional with the figure is very good.

The person is in there room, sitting on the bed, looking deep into the cosmic realm of the mind--or something like that.;)

I wish I had found this thread sooner. Have been a fan of your posts for a while, but this is the first reply I've made. Thanks


On your second image, go look on your hard drive and make sure you have no spaces or other grammatical signs in the name of your file (commas, dashes, etc.). Maybe that will help you get the picture posted.

09-10-2001, 11:19 AM

thanks for your comments and praise ... look forward to seeing more of you around :D


they don't all work out! lol ... if you'd seen how many I've painted over or thrown out, your little heart would lift! it takes practice ... check your second image again ... I'd like to see.