Acrylic Painting Disaster on Sunday

I spent most of my day yesterday working on an acrylic painting. I took a 16×20 canvas out of my stockpile because I have been working on 8×10 and smaller pieces lately and really wanted to work on a larger piece. I have a dream of eventually working with a huge canvas like maybe 4 or 5ft but I don’t possess the skill level yet for that, someday I will. My stockpile of canvas comes from shopping when they are on sale and not waiting until I have an idea to try and purchase the canvas for. I need to be prepared in advance for when inspiration hits.
I had an image in my head of the painting I wanted to create. Actually, in my head it was a finished piece and I felt that all I had to do was execute that idea. What I imagined was an abstract almost impressionistic piece with flowers as the subject, mostly poppies, on a blue background. The first thing that happened was that the blue for the background was not what I wanted, I used cerulean blue, I had imagined the background as being lighter blue so I mixed in some white and a lighter shade of blue (an aqua shade) as well as a little cobalt and painted it over the top until it seemed “right” or well, right enough. So from the start, the background was giving me problems.
I also imagined the paint technique as being applied thickly like Van Gogh. Well, I applied the background color with a large prep brush. Then I started on the flowers, I made cadmium red, orange and yellow poppies with different shades of green stems (light green permanent, sap green and bright green. At first, there were only sporadic poppies. Too much background was left and seemed unfinished. So I decided to make the entire canvas a “riot” of color with more flowers. I spent about 3-4 hours on this painting and when I got done and stepped back, it looked like WALLPAPER!!! The flowers were not abstract, the background paint was definitely not thick enough, and I inadvertently painted the flowers so symmetrically that they looked like printed wallpaper. So, I was so disappointed I could cry and I would like to just throw the whole thing away but I won’t do it…………yet. Maybe there is a way to fix it although now that it’s dry I can’t do the blended technique I envisioned. I felt rushed because the paints dry really fast especially when working in a air conditioned room so they were becoming tacky and hard to blend and work with.
Here is what I was up against: Quote from
“Blending Opaque Colors
With watercolor effects, the acrylic paint is applied in transparent washes. With the opaque technique the paint layers are non-transparent. Blending opaque acrylic colors can be a bit tricky as you are kind of pressed for time. It is important therefore to only work on areas that you know you will have enough time to blend. To blend two colors, first paint a block of each color side by side on your support. Where the two colors join paint down that line with a clean damp brush to soften the edges. To blend the colors even further, move the blending brush from side to side or up and down, until the desired blending is achieved.”

Well anyway, I just wanted to share with you some of the more frustrating and disappointing aspects of creating. You always hear about the successes but there are so many failures that lead up to each success, you can’t make a masterpiece every time unless you are Michaelangelo!!  I will post a picture of this as soon as its uploaded from my phone and you can see for yourself.


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