I made this painting with acrylic paint and one of my favorite substances : alcohol !
Mind you, not the interesting kind of alcohol. It’s not like I plundered our cocktail bar to produce this work. That might have worked, but you don’t want to end up with a piece of art smelling vaguely like vodka (or do you ? Let me know if you think there’s a market for that…)
I used 98% rubbing alcohol, bought at the chemist. Believe me, it wasn’t easy to get my hands on it ! When I asked for a rather large quantity of it, the man in the white coat looked at me suspiciously. And when I said I was planning to paint with it, his eyebrows rose even higher. But he’s a commercial man. He got me my bottle, and said something vague like “ah, so nice to have a hobby like painting”… I left it at that.
But I was, in all honesty, planning to make a painting with it ! Here’s how it works…
First, I apply a couple of layers of paint, and some medium that makes it all waterproof. Then some more layers of paint. And then the fun part : I drip the alcohol on it, while the paint is still wet, in a random fashion.
The alcohol eats away at the paint in places, so I get these weird organic shapes, showing the layers underneath.
It’s very unpredictable how it will turn out. For me, this is a good exercise in letting go, not wanting to control everything.
Then I process it a bit, paint out certain bits, add some shapes.. I left the middle part of this painting pretty much untouched ; just applied a painted border all around.
You can see in it whatever you want.
Remember staring up at the clouds as a kid, trying to make up shapes as they drifted by ?
This painting reminds me of the ocean floor, something that always amazed me when I was scubadiving (before fear of drowning got the better of me and I had to revert to snorkling).
An Australian mate saw a map of his beloved country in it (but he probably was a little homesick).
My space obsessed dad sees it as a starry constellation.
Maybe somewhere in there is the face of your favorite kindergarten teacher. Or a nasty dragon with dental problems. Give it a try, let your imagination run wild. What do you see ?
And if your mind fails to come up with anything, you can always call on the help of a little alcohol to loosen up…
Just not the kind you get at the chemist 😉
(For those of you who want to give this technique a try, Gerda Lipski has a very good Youtube channel showing how it’s done.)
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