Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Bird's Eye View"

(unavailable.....water soluble oils)

"A bird's eye view is the best view." I've often wondered what a bird's eye view was. Does it mean the view that a bird has while it sits on a branch or does it mean the view it has while flying in the air?  In any case, the view today is from the branch of an aspen tree.

This piece began with a base coat of lemon yellow plus white. I then painted in the tree trunk followed by the dark blue/purple and then the branches and the leaves. The lettering was the final touch using a sgraffito technique which reveals the first layer of the lemon yellow. 

This was a difficult piece to do because I wasn't sure if I could capture the essence of the image. Generally speaking I am pleased, but I'm still not quite where I want to be yet.  Actually I would like more abstraction with the idea of capturing the image with as few strokes of the palette knife as possible.

The "sgraffito effect" is trendy in contemporary art right now. Many abstract artists are using it with acrylics and scratching through the top layer of paint to reveal the first layer. It does create a nice texture. When using acrylics for this techniques it is best to scratch through the top surface while the paint is semi soft. If it does set up too quickly, it can be softened by brushing on some rubbing alcohol and letting it sit for a minute and then use a very sharp point. When I work with acrylics, I typically use a metal dental pick or an x-acto knife which will achieve the same effect.

This same technique is also effective using Speedball Printing Ink and writing or scratching marks into the second layer following by drying and spraying with acrylic coating. You can then create another layer, leaving part of the previous layer exposed. Since Speedball Printing Ink is water soluble so you can write into it or make marks simply by dipping your pointed pen into water. The point I am making is that "sgraffito" is worth experimenting with and I encourage you to try it using different mediums. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

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