One for the dustbin

The past two years or so have been a long experiment in finding a medium I can work with effectively. It’s been quite a challenging process of trial and error. What I’ve wanted to do is to work with the patterns I’ve mentioned so many times. After many years of being tied to a computer for a living the only thing I was sure of was that it had to involve working by hand. But how? With what? On what? I may talk more about that, but for now I’ll just say that it’s important that the materials themselves aren’t the source of frustration.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with the paint I was using in my previous post. Despite showing promise early on, after many hours it became clear in a flash that I wasn’t going to be able to keep going. The paint just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to and I didn’t think I’d be able to rescue it. One for the dustbin. I don’t mind so much that it didn’t ‘work’ as a painting, but I was shocked by the negative feelings I experienced while trying to work with the acrylic paint itself.

Dustbinned, an incomplete work in acrylic.

I decided to try again and traced out a pattern on a second board. When I began painting the frustration began rising with the first few strokes of the brush. A few moments later and I knew – it just wasn’t going to work. I was shocked… I’d really thought that the paint was going to be “it”. One question remained, and that was “what now”? The only remaining options I have on hand are colored pencils and markers.

Not to be deterred, I decided to DOUBLE the complexity of the design and traced a rotated copy of the same pattern onto the board. Green brush streaks be damned, I started again with colored pencils. Back to basics. They were surprisingly pleasant to use on the clay ground surface of the board, seeming almost second nature. They require an extraordinary amount of patience, requiring layer upon layer to get the needed depth of color. The results were interesting though. Enough that I determined to see it through to the end, however long that might take. Three square feet is a lot of area to work with pencils and in the end it took 6 weeks to complete. I decided to call it “Unexpected Arrival”. It’s not quite like anything I’ve done before.

Unexpected Arrival
Unexpected Arrival. 18″ x 24″, Colored Pencil on Gessoboard, © 2013 Andrew Kersting