Thursday, April 30, 2009

Skateboard Resin Painting - Final Thoughts

You will be able to see from previous posts that I've been struggling (i.e. learning) with putting resin on the below skateboard painting. All had pretty much failed (half of it hardened and half did not, it has weird texture, and it dulled down all the bright colors in the painting). The exhibit I had made it for had a due date of May 1st and I was prepared to tell them I would not have my piece after all, and I was going to just toss it out.

I met a nice artist upstairs in the building who works with resin all the time (apparently successfully - not an experience I have had yet). He suggested - at this point, I try to put a poly-acrylic varnish over it - that it sometimes creates a hard layer over the resin underneath (that will never harden). I went out and got a gloss polymer varnish by Golden and decided this would be my last crack at it before it goes in the dumpster.

It actually worked! It hardened all the parts that were gooey underneath and it didn't even feel soft to the touch. Then I got greedy and put another coat on after 3 hours and then began to notice that the parts that were gooey before were now buckling and crackling. I was kicking myself for going for that second coating! But I decided to leave it in the studio overnight and see what the morning would bring.

And it has a happy ending - the buckling and crackling areas are all clear and gone now and it all seems to be hard and dry to the touch. Yea!!!! So it would appear it has been saved from the dumpster.

In the final analysis, I still have not had a successful resin session, it seems to have interacted with the oil paint and dulled down the brighter colors (giving it an unexpected almost antique look), and the surface has lots of wavy texture - not what I was going for, but certainly different and acceptable. You can compare the below photo with some of my earlier blog postings on this project.

Will I paint on a skateboard again? Definitely. But I'm a little resin gun-shy at the moment and it will take some doing to get my courage about that going again. Maybe just a gloss varnish next time (though I hear it yellows after awhile). There's just something unique about resin but right now, it is stronger than me (I am powerless over resin and need to call on a Higher Power....)

Here is the final photo with all the failed layers of resin and the two layers of polymer varnish on top. It's a done deal! Oh, by the way, it's a painting of the Point Reyes Lighthouse coastal area.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Artists United: Spring Open Studios in the Mission

There is a new effort on the part of over 8 artist collective buildings (all pretty much within walking distance) in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, to gather their forces together and emerge as the newest and coolest arts district in the city. It's called Mission Artists United and their first Spring Open Studios was this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Everyone opened at the same time and there were big red dots on the sidewalk connecting the buildings.

I am located at one of those buildings. Friday night's Preview night went very well. There was a nice crowd there and I sold several paintings as well as smaller impulse item buys. I made sure to have a full range of price points so everyone could feel like they get something if they wanted to. Saturday the weather was great but the foot traffic was light and the majority of visitors were other artists making the rounds. Which is fine, but just different. Sunday was another good selling day and also a day some friends I had not seen in awhile stopped by to say hello. It was sunny and warm again on Sunday.

It can be an exhausting weekend (and it was) but very worthwhile. I had a great weekend. Often it is only two times a year (Spring and Fall Open Studios) that a large segment of the Ba Area art lovers will come out and make the rounds to see what artists are working on. Counter to much of the apprehension on the news, people still love art and still want to buy art, even if they can't spend what they did a couple of years ago. Art lovers will always find ways to get more art in their life and there are still a lot of people out there who want to support artists making art they love.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Resin Autopsy

As a followup to my crushing resin experimentation, I have exchanged information with many artists using resin and the best guess seems to be that perhaps my resin - particularly the catalyst, has probably expired.

One artist told me EnviroTex Lite has a shelf life (again, particularly the catalyst hardening agent) of about 1 year, which is not hard to reach if you include the time from when it is made, sitting around until shipped to a retailer, then sitting around until it is purchased (and then mine sat around for probably an additional 9 months until I got around to having the nerve to try using it).

So rather than give up entirely, I am going to buy some new catalyst (now I know I can skip the quart size stuff) and try another round of experimentation.

It was hard to throw away 6 ruined paintings and I have yet to throw away my skateboard landscape painting, but I know I have to at some point here. It is never going to harden. It was a good thought. It looks cool. Too bad it is a gooey shiny surface.

I'll leap in again. I've got to get it right at some point here. The basic lessons I've learned so far are: mask and ventilation, measuring accurately can not be overly emphasized, stirring sufficiently (at least 2 minutes), low humidity/high temperature (about 70 degrees or so), heat gun helps removed bubbles... and resin *does* have an expiration date.

It won the last battle. We shall meet again...