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Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to Try a New Medium without Fear

'Reimagination'          30x30    acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas         ©Karen Margulis

The results really didn't matter. And that was the key. I unlocked something that I am so excited about and can't wait to try again. All because THE RESULTS DIDN'T MATTER!

The backstory: I bought some square gallery wrapped canvas at a great sale a few years ago. I haven't touched them. (except for one unsuccessful attempt) I thought it would be fun to do some loose and fun acrylic paintings. But I don't have much experience with acrylics. I know that I will only get better at a medium if I PRACTICE. But I was afraid to even try. Paint is expensive. Canvas is expensive. What if I make a mess? What if the results are awful? I was filled with Fear!

Fast forward to last week. I was redecorating the bedrooms. New, floors, fresh paint, new bedding. I needed some new artwork for the walls and I needed it fast.  I wanted a neutral palette of grays and browns. I had several jars of sample paint colors left over from choosing paint for the walls. These would be perfect for my little experiment. The paint was cheap. I had the canvas and the results really didn't matter. It was just going to be a fun experiment. I had removed the biggest barrier to starting a new medium.....I was no longer afraid to try.

The Results and the rest of the story:  I had a blast slinging the paint on the canvas and letting it drip. Since the paint was cheap I was generous and laid it on thick with a cheap brush. I thought it would be fun to loosely suggest some Queen Anne's Lace flowers. It was so much fun and the result was interesting. My daughter loved it. I wasn't so sure. I set it aside thinking I wouldn't use it after all but happy that I had fun with it.

Yesterday though I had a thought. What if I used this painting as the UNDERPAINTING for a more representational version of QA Lace with some more color? Out came the painting and my stash of acrylics. The thick and drippy painting was perfect for my new vision! I only spent about 30 minutes refining some shapes and adding color before I was satisfied. Now I was excited!

What I learned from this experience:

  • Changing my attitude and approach when trying something unfamiliar made it less scary. As soon as I took on this 'What If' attitude I let go of any pressure to make something good and I just had fun.
  • Even if materials are expensive most of the time they can be reused and reimagined. I didn't waste a good gallery wrapped canvas when I didn't care for my first attempt. I reimagined it into something I did like.
  • Don't put off trying something new. You never know what you might discover.
I'm ready to dig out the other canvases and try some more!

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