Saturday, February 19, 2011

Inspired to Crackle by Giovanni Braccesco

I've been fooling around with backgrounds in my painting. While I love some of the beautiful and outrageous textures I've stumbled upon, they don't really work well as a background for the kind of detailed designs I like to paint (too busy.) On the other hand, a completely plain background seems a bit boring to me.

The other day I was looking through some of the hundreds of postcards I've collected of artwork, gathered from a multitude of museums and galleries, and my eye caught on a detail from one of Giovanni Braccesco's tryptics, "L'Annonciation."

The background color is my favorite (I love warm blues and greens) and the way the old paint has cracked adds interest. (It's a bit difficult to see in this detail. Look at the sky on the left.) Aha! I think I will try using some crackle paint and see if I can achieve a similar effect - and then see if this works in my style of painting.

So I took one of my small canvasses (16x20) and painted burnt sienna over the burgandy that was already there. Then I spread crackle medium over it and let it dry for a few hours. Later, I mixed up some turquois color oil paint and spread a thin wash of it over the canvas. It only took a few minutes to begin to texturize. I see now that I didn't spread it very evenly but that's OK. It's an experiment.
I wish I'd made the turquois a bit lighter, so I may try washing the whole thing with a very thin white later to lighten it and even it out a bit. Hopefully this won't spoil the effect.
It's been fun.

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