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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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#reflection

Mindfulness Monday #40

This week has been a week of reflection.

I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to draw this week. Usually I’ll get an urge to start with a skull or a flower or perhaps I’m yearning to create a little furry creature, but not this week. So I thought back to some old techniques, freely drawing shapes to the music. This technique allows the music to effect the breath, to move the pen, to create shapes devoid of conscious thought. I used this to build a framework for the two pages and then started to fill different areas with different patterns as the mood took me.

What’s interesting to me is that it almost acts as a showcase for what I’ve learned over the last 40 weeks. This is a collection of patterns, lines and forms that I’ve become very comfortable with over the course of the project. They have come out of a mindful concentration not on the drawing itself, but on the emotion behind it. When I’m painting I get very focussed on what I’m doing and it’s mindfulness in a different state. It’s the total abandonment of everything else. This project however is almost about the abandonment of art. It’s not drawing to create art, it’s drawing to tap into the calm and peaceful state that painting takes me to. In a way this week’s pages are a showcase of forms which are visual representations of the process of accessing calm, and accessing your breath.

Mindfulness Mondays 40

Further Musings – Acrylic Artist, Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins.

So, having been very opinionated in my last post about the differences between oil and acrylic painting, I find myself considering the art of Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins and wondering where his technique fits in. He uses acrylic paints but with, what I consider to be, an oil painting technique.

What I didn’t discuss in my last post is the use of retarders and mediums as there is a huge variety to discuss and I must admit I have fairly limited knowledge as I’ve only experimented with a few. Craola has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t like to mix too much stuff into his paints – but quite frankly you simply could not use acrylics his way without either the use of the mediums OR alternatively you can get acrylic paints which become workable again when sprayed with either water or a relaxer. Safe to say this is not an acrylic artist using standard acrylic paints alone.

Whilst his work is incredible – so beautiful and complex – I think what has really pulled me towards his work is his YouTube videos. It’s a real pleasure to watch an artist working in this much detail. Despite the questions it raises for me and the personal discomfort of watching an acrylic artist harnessing oil painting technique, I can’t help but be thrilled by his work and his videos. It is through artists like this that the whole of art society grows and develops. He’s a real king of lowbrow, or pop-surrealism depending on your take.

finding_home
‘Finding Home’ by Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins

This is the first time I’ve shared another artists work on my blog but I am very happy to have discovered this artist and feel that it’s made me question my technique. I’m sharing this in the hopes that it will encourage other artists to go through the same self-reflection. This is how we learn and grow as artists. I just can’t shake the niggling question…. As an out and proud acrylic painter, can we really stick up two fingers at the oil elite when we are developing techniques more akin to oil painting?

So without any further comment – here’s an example of Craola’s videos. Whether it’s right for acrylic artists to mimic oil technique is a question I’ll leave with you…

Enjoy x

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