Hannah is my eleven (soon to be twelve) year old grand daughter, who is about to visit me with her family, and she is soooo excited. Every day she sends me the countdown to Spain, and we are at one week and five days now aren't we Hannah? Hannah has just left her primary school the proud winner of the Creative Arts trophy. She follows my blog and enjoys experimenting with paint and paper. Today she asked me if I have used acrylic paint, and what I have done with it. So here is my answer.
Now, while I may be a quite competent crafter, an artist I am not. I went to a grammar school where art was something they were obliged to make a small space on the timetable for, but it was not important, and the teacher was not interested in my frustration at not being able to make something look how I wanted it to, and gave me no encouragement to try something different instead. Because of this I steered clear of paints but I loved having a new set of pens, and happily coloured in other peoples art work!
Many years later, when I had abondonned my work as a secondary school maths teacher, and almost by accident found myself helping out at, and eventually training to manage a large pre-school, I made sure all the children had lots of opportunities to play and experiment with paints, clay, plaster, and anything else messy I could find. I encouraged the parents to buy them a simple polo shirt and sweat shirt as 'uniform' and to let them get it messy without fear of a telling off when they got home, and we had so much fun!
Now I am retired I have finally expanded my own range of materials to include acrylic paint amongst other things. I haven't yet managed to do a representational painting, but I am learning about form, and shading. As part of my efforts to integrate with the local people in the Spanish village where I live, I attend a weekly group called 'Manualidades' which does literally translate at handicrafts, but the room is let to us for a painting session, so that is what we are supposed to do. We are not given any tuition, but we give and receive advice from one another. There are a couple of very talented artists there, and a lot of ladies who just enjoy the company and consider it a part of their tradition to have hand painted cloths, glass and pottery ware in their homes. So I bought some very cheap acrylic paints and canvasses and here are my first efforts.
The shapes all originate from rubber stamps or printed images, which I have used for an outline, resized according to the canvas, and for now I am happy to just try to improve my shading. It is not easy here as it is so hot and the paint dries before you have time to do much with it. But it is a start. I am hoping to try an on-line painting course next winter, if I ever find the time!
Another time that I used acrylics was when I was asked to contribute some pages for a collaborated art journal for a friend to use with her students at school. For this I covered thick watercolour card with gesso and then with a layer of Buff titanium acrylic paint. When it was dry I used distress ink to colour the edges, and then, with more paint and an array of bottle tops and cardboard tubes, I stamped circles all over it. The centre image and swirl of writing was printed onto tissue paper taped to copy paper so I could put it through my printer, and then it was fixed to the page with a thin layer of diluted PVA glue.
And finally, here is a piece I made when I wanted a bright, colourful background recently. This was an absolute favourite at my nursery though we used squeezy bottles of poster paint rather than acrylic. I simply squeezed paint from my tubes onto a piece of sturdy white card, and pressed a second piece of card over it. I used my fingers to move the paint around between the cards until it started to ooze out at the sides, and then I just eased them apart to see what pattern I had made. The acrylic paint was thick enough to give this a great texture. This picture was taken as soon as I separated the two layers. When I have anything that needs a few minutes to dry, I use magnets to attach it to my metal filing cabinet, well away from my inqisitive cats. They could have had some real fun with this!
Hannah tells me she has just drawn a flower, painted it with white acrylic paint and then gone over it with a soft blue felt tip pen, and it looks really nice. I think we are going to have some fun together. See you soon Hannah.