Sunday, June 15, 2008


The summer version of our back garden is dominated by agapanthas.
I'm no gardener so if a plant can survive summer with minimal human intervention here in the Perth hills it's ok to stay.
They attract these orange butterflies, which apart from some small iridescent blue ones are the only b'flies we get here that I know of.
I took several shots one afternoon and forgot about them until I was searching for something relatively "simple" to put on a my first 40+ inch watermedia painting last week.
Since finishing the Skiva piece I've worked on two larger paintings.
This one is 43x43 inches and was a really approached as a learning exercise.
And currently another window about 30x43in which is about 3 days from being finished at my leisurely rate.
This one started off as regular watercolour but by the time I was through with it had been touched up liberally with fluid acrylics (first time using them in any appreciable quantity as well) They're extraordinarily versatile but don't have the same surface reflectivity properties as regular watercolour when used neat(without w/c pigment mixed with them).
They have a sheen which I'm not fond of, for me this creates a look of plasticity.
Certainly no problem when standing back and probably less evident behind glass but if you're accustomed to the dull even look of a standard watercolour this slightly glossy look is a bit of a rub.
I guess it's a matter of weighing up the advantages against such a small nit. For working large, economy is important and FA are winners there.
Flow is also different I think; Not having applied any scientific method of testing I can't be too definite but I think FAs have a different holding threshold when painting on a slope as compared to regular W&N watercolour of equal viscosity. ie they let go and run more readily so less angle is tolerated. It would stand to reason I think that when glazing over acrylic areas that this would be the case but if you're used to w/c it means you need to be aware and make adjustments to technique.


Blogger Sandy said...

David,this has been a most interesting read. Thank you for sharing your first experience with fluid acrylics. It has been very informative.
I think your first painting using this technique has turned out very well . The composition is great, athe bright colours give it a fresh summer feel and the colour is brilliant!
The size is also a real life it must look even more impressive.

June 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Brilliant colour and composition David...the butterfly on the Agapanthas is just perfect!
The agapanthas is definitly one of the hardiest plants...we have them in our garden too... they are about the only things that do well in drought conditions.

June 15, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger perugina said...

Hi David,
Love the commentary you have provided here with your lastest painting… I breathed a sigh when I laid eyes on it! But I love flowers so you have me here right from the get go!

The asides about agapanthus growing without human intervention are so true, they really are weeds, that have plans for ‘world domination’ if left to their own devices so watch out! See they have already made it onto a large scale watermedia painting as a hypnotic macro!

I am keen to try FA soon and am trying to source some large rolls of Arches…shucks you are all the way over in Perth. Will have to let my fingers do the walking here in Sydney, can’t stand the driving.

Your comments on FA vs WC are also very interesting, and as suspected (not having tried this yet) that their handling would differ. Was watching NNG (Nick Simmons) DVD very closely on the weekend, and the FA looked flexible… could it be that your comment on ‘plasticity’ is a valid one. However, I really need to get in there and have a play… then we’ll sit and have a good talk.

Can’t wait to see what your next work will be.

Love the butterfly too!

June 15, 2008 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I love the painting, Dake - perfect composition, and a powerful palette. I'd love to see it framed on a wall. So you used the acrylic w/o water? I've never done that, I mix it just like watercolor and then it's impossible to tell the difference in surface quality - no plastic appearance whatsoever. I'd like to see close-ups. Whatever the surface is, the painting is totally kickass!!!!!!

June 16, 2008 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger David Burge said...

Sandy and Perugia, thanks for your comments. It's nice to have undestanding friends whe it comes to Oz gardens.
Nick, No I did add water.hehehe..I can imagine just how much I would have used if plastered straight on.
The glossy look is mostly in the areas where puddles formed, where the FAs were more concentrated, or where glazed in several layers.
I used it as I would watercolour.

June 16, 2008 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Sandy Maudlin said...

What an incredible blog you have! Thanks for stopping by mine to visit, too. Interesting about the fluid acrylics moving differently than w/c on a slanted table. I'll be checking that out for sure.

LOVE THE glorious BUTTERFLY painting as well as so many of your other posts. I'll be back soon to see what's new.

June 19, 2008 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Sandy Maudlin said...

Jeepers!!! I just checked out your web pages. What an incredible artist you are. Can't wait to see more. Your window shopping series is exquisite.

June 19, 2008 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger David Burge said...

Thankyou Sandy, I do enjoy your blog very much also.As I said it's a welcome venue to find peace and tranquility. As for the fluid acrylics I'll be using them a lot more and probably will move toward thinking of them as my first choice because of their stability and economy. I've 6 colours + black at the moment and cant forsee needing any more hues. Adding a black to your armory takes the split primary palette(loosely defined in my case) down a long and interesting path. Another advantage with the FA's is the ability to mix precisely with clinical accuracy if required as they're manufactured to come out of the bottle in drops which are always equal in volume. I've barely touched the surface with these paints and love em.

June 19, 2008 at 10:05 PM  

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