Texture and Abstraction in a Painting
Polka Dot Bikini
21 x 24
In an effort to prolong summer, I've been busy painting beach scenes. They have also offered a chance to work on texture and abstraction in paintings. The water in this piece was done in several stages, starting with a warm, orange tone and lots of splattering and dripping. My medium for these drips was 50/50 oil and odourless mineral spirits. While I prefer the look of watercolour-like drips that you can get from using just solvent in the paint, this doesn't make a strong paint film and I don't do it.
Then I used pure colour without white to lay different warm colours into the water and the figure. Finally, after that had dried, I went back in and added the light effects. I modified the figure with the cool blues of the reflected water and sky, and I dropped blue sky onto the warm colours of the lake. Then I could work on the sun-drenched colours of the girl's skin in the light. This is my favourite part and is very easy to overdo. I love to lay the paint on thickly to get the right value and an interesting texture in those areas.
I debated the level of completion of the face but finally decided that I didn't want the viewer to get caught up in that part of the painting. The important part of the scene was the light and colour, not the specific child, so I kept her features out of it and just suggested a bone structure.
This method of working is not natural for me: I'm usually a wet-on-wet painter, but I enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to lay colour cleanly on top of dry paint. I'll be doing more of these layered pieces to see where it takes me.