Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Resin on Oil Paintings Experimentation

I began a project of something I was always kind of afraid to try - pouring epoxy resin over paintings. Wanting a glassy smooth surface on the skateboard painting I did was what inspired me to take the leap. And leap I did.

I had varnished the painting beforehand to create a barrier between the oil paint and the epoxy resin, to avoid color bleed.

Last Thursday, I attempted the first pour. I got my mask and gloves and lots of paper towels. I had both doors on my studio open and a fan blowing for proper ventilation. The stuff really does stink. I used plastic cups to measure the resin and then the hardening agent (it would appear later on that I did not get these so even on a 1:1 ratio as I needed to).

I applied the resin to the skateboard painting. Here is what it looked like after the first pour:

I had some left-over resin so I applied it to a handful of 5x7" paintings I had previously done, to further experiment.

Because I did not create "walls" to dam the pour, it did in fact drip on the towels, which I had to replace several times. You can't tell from this painting, but I had an enormous bubble problem - not big bubbles but tiny tiny little things. I try blowing on it because I had read that carbon dioxide from your breath helps to get rid of the bubbles. But for me this did not work. I also began to see that in patches, the resin was actually repelling from the varnish - and creating places where there was no resin. My 5x7" pieces had all the same problems. But a couple of those had the additional problem of the colors bleeding anyway, even though they were varnished. Ack. I kept the doors open all day and had a small heater running on low to keep the temperature in the studio up. I read that resin needs 70 degrees or more to cure properly and my studio with both doors open is definitely not 70 degrees.

I closed up the studio for the night and left the heater running on low. I came in the next morning, Friday, and saw my bubble and repelling problem was still there. And this yellowish stuff still dripping along the sides (so I replaced all the paper towels again). I came in Saturday morning and was really disappointed to see all the colors in the skateboard painting actually all yellowish or grayish - a definite dulling down of the whole piece. I was SO so disappointed. I didn't like the painting so much anymore (which I suppose is a part of the process of experimenting - letting go of what was before a certain step because it is now no more). Discouraged, I just left the studio and took my two days off (Sunday and Monday).

Came back in and found the resin never hardened properly. I guess even though I was careful about measuring, I must not have had enough hardener because everything was still sticky days later (meaning it will never harden). I don't know what else could have gone wrong!

I brought my encaustic heat gun in to tackle the bubble problem on the second pour (too late to do anything about the first layer of bubbles). I also read online if I heat the bottles of chemicals up a bit before mixing, that also helps with the bubble problem. Not having a way to access hot water in my studio, I left the bottles in front of the heater (and also wanted to get the room back up to a decent temperature before I did the second pour). Did my measuring again (and made sure I leaned a wee bit of putting enough hardener in) and masked and gloved up and went for it once again.

Here is a picture after the second pour:

You can see from the texture on the skateboard that I still do not have a smooth surface but as the bubbles are much less noticeable this time round, I decided now that the texture was at least across the whole piece and "interesting". Oh I can still see bubbles but not so bad. The encaustic heat gun did in fact help - at least for the second pour. The 5x7" pieces leveled out somewhat with the repelling problem and the color bleed problem did not get any worse. Couldn't get rid of all the bubbles but had a better time minimizing the problem with the heat gun.

You can see in a close-up in the photo below, from the light reflections, how uneven the surface is:

And here is an example (if you put aside the light reflections) of how the color bled on one painting (the orange on the left side):

The light reflection in the brown area is actually an area that is still slightly repelling the resin so the coverage there is not as good as in other areas. But what you see is the light reflection - in reality it is just an uneven textured area.

Now I'll wait 24 hours and see if this second pour will harden properly. If it does, good - I'll just learn how to accept all the ways it changed the original paintings and let them stand on their own. If it does not harden, then the whole experiment is a failure. I'd have to either consider trying *another* layer on top of it (which I'm in no mood for at the moment) or just scrap everything, sticky and a mess.

I'm definitely still in the stage of this seems to be much more trouble than its worth, but so many artists seem to handle it fine so I wanted to know for myself.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Skateboard Painting

I was asked to paint a blank skateboard for a fundraiser. I like the different shape of painting on this versus canvases or square boards - it was something different. I chose to paint a seascape of the Point Reyes Lighthouse coast.

After I saw other skateboards done by other artists, I realized mine was not very hip at all, and it was a full-blown painting (done in oil paint) whereas other artists did more graphical things. One other artist did a beautiful ink and ink wash painting but it was pretty hip, too.

I guess I can only hope that maybe a parent of a child with a skateboard will bid on mine. And hang it on a wall.

I am waiting for it to dry. When it is more dry, I'll be putting a resin varnish on it to give it a nice glassy look.

I enjoyed painting it so much, I might get another blank and paint a different one for myself.

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