The Trials and Tribulations of Alizarin Yuck #1, part 2

After the washes dried and the wrinkled paint dried again — oh, and after I smeared some gold on it with a coffee stir, it looked like this.  The wrinkled red and orange paint I showed in my last post seemed to have dried pretty much as it had been before, but there were some interesting puckers in other places:

Washes and paint dried

It was time for the caulk to come off.  You may have noticed in the above photo that I used a few different kinds of caulk on this one.  I was using up the last of a few tubes.  This is where it becomes a bit of a cautionary tale about using caulk on a canvas.  Basically, if you ever decide to caulk a canvas, and expect to peel the caulk off later, it’s important to use the right kind of caulk.  In the bottom right of the above photo, I used the really good, expensive silicone caulk — the stuff that’s about $9 a tube and bonds to brick and metal.  Great stuff for sealing up leaks around a metal bay window on a brick house, but it will also yank the gesso right off your canvas:

Wow, this “canvas” is a really thin weave. Seems it’d be more accurate to say we’re painting on suspended gesso, than stretched canvas…

At the top I used some cheap latex caulk ($2 a tube) that I bought just for containing washes.  To my surprise it would not come off at all.  I started trying to cut it off, and cut into the canvas:


That’s where I quit that day.  Just had to walk away before the painting ended up smashed or something.

I finally decided to accept the remaining caulk as part of the painting, having no choice really.  I added more gesso where it had been peeled off and glued that cut part down.  Latex caulk is paint-able and seems to have a lot of textural potential.  <wheels turning>

I’ve spoken before about how liberating a messed up canvas can be… well by now this one was really f’ed up!  🙂  At this point I really decided “what the hell”.  The blue and red around the edges below was just smeared on with popsicle sticks.

What the hell! 🙂

So I think it’s looking ok now, and is getting close to finished.  Maybe it needs some drips.

Oh, and a good caulk to use if you want to peel it off later, is just a ‘middle of the road’ silicone caulk.  Not the cheapest, not the most expensive.   It will seal well enough to hold a wash in, as long as you make sure you haven’t left any gaps, and when dry it will peel off in nice, rubbery ropes that kids (and artists) love to play with!


Filed under Unfinished Paintings

16 responses to “The Trials and Tribulations of Alizarin Yuck #1, part 2

  1. They do have a life of their own, don’t they?! I really like the “what the hell!” stage. A lot happening there… I think I can see the drips already!

  2. Jim

    I am intrigued by your recurring theme of how a messed up canvas is liberating and allows unfettered creativity. It makes me think about that as a broader life metaphor, and makes me wonder how we get to a place in our lives where we feel that kind of freedom in general.

    • If anyone can find real meaning in all of this, it’s you. It definitely can be read as that metaphor for life, and it does seem possible that that may be the meaning coming from my subconscious. Has a ring of truth to it.

      The liberation comes from having nothing left to lose. But nothing left to lose with a painting — especially since I don’t think of myself as a “serious artist” — is several orders of magnitude smaller than ‘nothing left to lose’ in life. 🙂 That obviously goes without saying.

      So that’s a good question about how to get to that place of freedom in life. Maybe I’ve taken a step in that direction, but much too often I forget. I forget that ultimately, almost nothing really matters. An exercise I’ve started trying is when I think something is really important — and obviously when it’s not going how I’d like — I ask how important it will be in 100 years. And if the answer is ‘not very’, then how important is it really now?

      Thanks for the 2 days worth of thought provoking comment Jim!

  3. it’s been awhile since i’ve chanced upon your posts in my reader…missed a couple…may i suggest putting a link to your blog on your gravatar page? I was actually hoping for more smears to cover some more of the paley yellow…you know when you take a shot of your work (tilted at an angle perhaps?) the gold gives off its sheen (2nd shot)…and gives it a whole new dimension not seen in the other shots…phthalo blue…never heard of it…but surprise surprise love it! Oh and what’s gesso?

    • Link in the gravatar — check! I did not know you could do that! 🙂

      Yeah, I should take photos at an angle that shows off the gold and silver when I use them…

      Phthalo blue, short for phthalocyanine blue. There’s also phthalo green which is also an amazing color. They give paints strange names. 🙂 Gesso is a white primer. It bonds to most surfaces that paint may not, and then you can paint on the gesso. Italian for gypsum, the mineral.

    • And thank you for just putting my blog over 1000 likes! 🙂

      • Yay! I’m still figuring out how wordpress works but this discovery came about when thinking whaaa? why wouldn’t a blogger’s profile link to their blog? 😛

        Ohhhhhh…..much enlightened now and admiring phthalo green as i comment 🙂 Very luscious 🙂

        Truly my pleasure =) here’s to 1000s of more likes 🙂

        • I wondered that about the gravatars too, but never found where you can add links.

          I guess I was a little vague. That green in this painting is not phthalo green, it’s fluorescent green mixed with titanium white I think. But the amazing thing about phthalo green is that it’s very dark when thick, but very light, even aqua, when it’s thin. It’s like it changes color! Part of the background in this one is phthalo green and maybe you can kind of see how it changes so much with thickness. 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts and interpretations! Your comments and likes are what keep the paintings and posts coming. :)

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