Tag Archives: polaroid

An experiment (I mean painting) that went right

"Sangre de Christo Glaze" 5x5 acrylic on board

Experiments are not meant to look good.  They are sometimes shadows of the real artwork, they are not meant for public viewing.   And just maybe they’re meant to be thrown out because after all, they’re just experiments.


But this one is special…


Sometimes you go through hundreds, or even thousands of paintings and suddenly you get to this point.  And a painting like this can even turn out to be some kind of revelation.  But ok, here’s my real feelings when I finished this one.

Wow, amazing, what the hell just happened, very colorful, what I’m trying acrylic paint?  What will it look like in oil?  I can’t believe I did it on a foam board!  Is this a fluke?  Should I continue painting more like this?  This painting’s not like the rest.  Did I just say that?  Did I just do that?

Well you get the picture, I can remember feelings more than words, so there’s a few here…

And it’s true, I did try acrylic, a special kind of acrylic paint called Open Acrylics by Golden.  They are slow-drying, similar to my water-soluble oils, but a more matt finish than oils.  But with these acrylics, it doesn’t dry right away, you can mix them like oils.  My reasoning for years about choosing oils over acrylics is that oils appear to have more flexibility and depth.  But I came across these special acrylics and was floored by the results.  It even looks better with a final glaze on.  The colors were very bright, and not muddy.  Muddy colors have been a constant issue with me.  To avoid muddy colors, one must mix accordingly and not mix too much with different colors.

I painted this in Santa Fe, NM

But no mud here, just bright, innocent and happy colors.  And it glows, it feels like an old-time polaroid, it’s simple, and it happened because I didn’t have expectations on the final result.  That’s why experimenting is crucial in art, you never know what discoveries are ahead of you, and happens when you least expect it.

So I’m pretty happy to share this latest discovery with you, and if I paint more like this in the future, you know where you saw it first.