30 Days of Unfurling - Day 30: Ending on a High!

Well I made it! Day 30 of 30 Days of Unfurling. I'll admit it's been harder than I thought showing up every day and writing a blog post but I'm so glad I stuck with it and I'm super grateful for everyone that came along for the ride with me.

Towards the end of the 30 days I started getting a bit frustrated with myself, thinking that I'd invested too much time in the blog at the expense of my painting practice. But today, I went into the studio and I was able to put into place so much of what I've learned in the past 30 days. Throughout this post, I've linked to other blog posts so you can also see the connections I've made.

I continued working on several new abstract pieces using this more intentional approach that I've been craving. I'll admit that there are times when I just throw paint at the canvas and hope for the best and usually I get there in the end but there's a lot of circling involved. Not that I want to hurry the process but sometimes I do feel like I could avoid a bit of painting heartache if I had more intention at the beginning. I'm not talking about a fixed plan, just some helpful parameters.

The starting point with these paintings was to think about the words 'flow' and 'cluster'. I also set out with a particular colour palette in mind. I'm using a colour palette that I've used before and one that has plenty of opportunities to create contrast.

Choosing a colour palette from the outset allowed me to really focus on the words and the techniques I wanted to use to explore the words. I've still got more layers to add to these but I am excited about the progress.

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As I was working, new ideas came to me and I worked with those ideas rather than pushing them aside. For example, I felt like adding gold leaf rather than the gold paint I was originally thinking of. Actually if I am totally honest (which is the point of this unfurling series), my daughter begged me to use gold leaf because she loves any painting with gold leaf in it!

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I have to agree with her, gold leaf does add that something special to a painting.

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It can be a bit fiddly and I always end up with it all through my house and garden but it's fun. You might also notice that I am working on a variety of surfaces. Gallery wrapped canvases, canvas board and a birch wood panel. While I am working on a variety of sizes and surfaces, I am hoping to unify them with a common colour palette so that they can be hung together as an eclectic cluster (there's that word again). I'm continuing to start my paintings with a base coat, except the wood panel where I want some of the wood to shine through. I've used different colours in the base coats but all from the colour palette that I chose initially.

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One of the benefits of choosing my colour palette in advance for these paintings is that it freed me up to concentrate more on composition. Thinking about the possible structure of a painting, can really help to avoid so much of that 'circling' phase. Although sometimes the composition doesn't come together and then of course you just try something else. Here you can see a few different compositions taking shape:

I call this a patchwork painting but I it's more commonly known as a grid.

I call this a patchwork painting but I it's more commonly known as a grid.

This one is heading towards being an L shaped composition. There are many compositions based on the shape of letters, particularly T, H, S and Z.

This one is heading towards being an L shaped composition. There are many compositions based on the shape of letters, particularly T, H, S and Z.

The early stages of what I call a 'Nest' painting. AKA a radial or circular composition.

The early stages of what I call a 'Nest' painting. AKA a radial or circular composition.

I used Golden Fluid Acrylic and Golden Hi-Flow Acrylic to create drips and flow within several of the paintings. In the little painting above, I am not completely committed to a composition as yet, possibly circular or it could be a patchwork. I do want to tone that yellow down as it's too bright for my taste. I used a fan brush to create those delicate lines over the cobalt blue and I've never used that type of mark in a painting so that was a cool new discovery.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio to finish these paintings and that's a good sign that I am getting my painting mojo back! Once I've finished these minis, I'd like to see if any of the paintings might suit a big canvas or wood panel. Working small is such a great way to test out ideas. It's proving to be a great way to overcome creative block!

This post is getting quite long, I think I am delaying the inevitable, but the time has come. It's time to say goodbye and thank you for being a part of my 30 Days of Unfurling. It's not really a goodbye though because I am going to be continuing with my blog but it will be a post 1-2 times per week rather than daily. For now though, shine on creative friends Xx

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