Exuberant Energies at Work

Erik ReeL  painting #1665
Erik ReeL acrylic, Opus 1665

In Opus 1665, I am using a paper I usually don’t paint on. Its very lightweight,  less than 130 Kg/m2 and does not take the same degree of textural effects as what I usually work on.  In some ways this makes things clearer. Exuberant energies at work here. Enjoy.

 

Opus 1663

Erik ReeL painting, # 1663
Erik ReeL, acrylic, opus 1663

You can see that I was on quite a roll from opus 1660 to 1663.  Since the general process per painting takes at least about 5 days due to drying and setting times of the paint,  I tend to work on several, up to a dozen, at a time, .

Ironically, I tend to do an oil painting in less time than a similarly-sized acrylic, partly because I use a lot more layers in the acrylics as I exploit the substantially greater transparency of the polymer medium.

All papers are not created equal

Erik ReeL, painting, #1662
Erik ReeL, acrylic on paper, opus 1662

The Opus number refers to my current studio log, which was started at the end of 1999. So opus 1662 means that this is the 1,662nd work I’ve done since the beginning of 2000.

This painting is on 30 x 22 inch [75 x 55 cm] archival printmaking paper. I am using liquid acrylic paint, pastels and pencils and charcoal and a lot of acrylic medium as well as paint.  The papers I use the most are Magnani Pescia  [crown watermark grade] and Italia,  Rives BFK, Lana Royale, Rives de Lin, DS Lenox,  and Fabriano Artistico hot press which is the only watercolor paper I typically use.  Magnani Pescia, crown watermark, is by far my most favorite paper.

Unfortunately, this paper seems to be no longer available in the United States. There are people in the USA who say they are selling it, but they are not selling the watermark grade, which is the best grade and the grade I use. It seems that the people in American who order this paper cannot tell the difference between the lower grades and the crown  watermark [or top grade] paper, so the mills and suppliers ship them the lower quality stuff, charge them the same price as the crown watermark paper and they, in turn try to fob this stuff onto us, the artists, and charge the higher price as well. There are seven versions of Magnani Pescia. This follows a longstanding, but growing trend in the USA of art suppliers substituting lower quality items for long-available quality items.

Fortunately, in some cases,  there are conscientious, usually smaller, more specialized, suppliers entering into the game who either have started producing their own art supplies  here in America, or still try to get the original, quality merchandise. If you are an artist, I encourage you to seek out and support these suppliers, especially if they are local. On the other side of things, some of the best supplies can only be obtained from their source in fairly large quantities: quality stretcher bars from China, art paper from Italy, etc., usually can only be ordered in quantities of at least a shipping container or railroad car at a time.  You’d think with globalization, it’d get easier to obtain internationally produced items, not more difficult.

Opus 1661, Into the Darkness

Erik ReeL painting, #1661
Erik ReeL, opus 1661, acrylic on paper

My acrylic on paper paintings are almost like a visual diary. It is in these works that I work out my ideas on an ongoing, almost daily, basis, before going into the larger works on canvas.

I have a general process that takes  at least 5 days, depending on drying time and the number of layers I use in a piece.  There can be as many as 30 layers to the paint, once in a while more.

I work with liquid acrylics and a lot of medium. It is like working with liquid color . I like a lot of transparency in the paint so the light penetrates deep down into the paint, enriching the colors.  Similar to when you polish wood  and it brings out the grain and depth of the wood.

Opus 1661 is a particularly deeply layered piece, almost impossible to reproduce accurately digitally. But it stil looks good.

Unlike the live image perceived by two eyes, each seeing a slightly different retinal scan and then processed in the brain, and thus extremely sensitive to depth, whether something is scratched in or scumbled on top,  and enhanced by our memory as we move into and away from the image obtaining new visual information regarding surface, color, and process, a digital image is created via a single lens, set a specific distance from the painting, and then takes all data and reduces it to a single number, without any consideration for layers underneath.  Thus a digital map of the painting is significantly reduced from what our brain processes during a live encounter with the image. Bottom line: if you like the digital image of these pieces, you’ll love the  work live.