Here’s where she’s at.
I tried the big colour overlay a few days ago… total, heart-wrending failure! I sat, staring in disbelief at the loss of all those hours of subtle work, for a good ten minutes (i’d used an additive medium, which saved me in as far as it slowed drying time!), before my inner pragmatist shouted to my outer stunned mullet “Try to wash it off! You’ve got nothing to lose!” which galvanised me to rush the canvas under running water and, with a cloth, scrub the disastrous colour layer off; yay for acrylic which, when dry, is 100% water resistant, but, till then, 100% water soluable!
Anyway, lesson learned… stick to the style you have spent years developing! This is now going to be a fully committed Chris Attwell black and white painting… so I’ve actually done a lot more work on the shading, with lots to go, but am happy with my progress. After all, if I really want to add colour, I can do it in Photoshop!
She’s nearly ready for the colour glaze! I’ve learned good stuff doing this. I’ve learned that the technique I taught myself over the last several years, which involves many, very thin washes, is not only needlessly difficult, but also actually destroys some of the properties of the acrylic; I should have been using an additive to make the colour transparent, rather than water, which eventually thins the acrylic so much, it barely bonds to the substrate, and is ridiculously hard to work with. I am hoping that, when I start using the proper additive, the work will be faster/easier after years of doing it the dumb, hard way; I’m aware, from the research I’ve been doing, that the transparentising medium presents problems of it’s own, so I will need to practice with it, first, so as not to ruin this painting, which I am very pleased with, so far.
I’d forgotten how much work physical painting involves! Because it’s been a year since I last did one, there have been a few ‘three steps back, one step forward’ moments. She’s coming along nicely, though; however… I’ve put so much work into developing the shades of black and white, I may not want to risk ruining her by attempting the untried (for me) overlay of colour technique. The thing with very thin washes of acrylic is that you only have a very short window in which to work them evenly before they begin to show every stroke, which is not what I want at all (every stroke showing) for the colour wash. When that happens with the black and white I can simply curse and mumble and wait till it dries, then re-do it from a few steps back, but if it happened with the colour wash, I’d have to go all the way back, redo all the subtle tonal variations… no, thanks. I will look into additives that may help, but may also just not try.