Monday, February 4, 2013

DIY Black and White Abstract Art

This is something I wanted to do for a long time but kept putting off - a DIY black and white abstract painting inspired by the minimalist sculptor Richard Serra's lithographic crayon print, more specifically, his iconic topsy-turvy circles. I've never used paintstick or wax-like grease crayon as a medium before so instead I intended to recreate the look (from afar at least) using acrylic on canvas.

This is not a small time commitment as it took me over a few weekends to complete it. Here is a step-by-step guide in case you are interested in trying out yourself. It's time consuming but otherwise pretty straightforward:

Although the 24x36" stretched canvas I picked up has already been primed, I primed it again with a black paint. Before the paint dried, I quickly stroke out the outlines of the circles. To me these circles are infinite - could you tell where it all started or ended? Legend has it that you could complete these circles in one stroke.

I waited until the black paint completely dried, then painted the circles in very heavy-body white. Through this step I added texture and dimension to the circles which later on could be painted over in black colour. To create a "charcoal and ink print" effect, I used a paper towel to dab runny white paint onto the black canvas. I was pleasantly surprised by the "texture" a ball of paper towel left behind.

I waited a few days for the above to dry up, and used a heavy-body black paint to paint over the white circles. After a few hours, I used a trowel-blade palette knife and started to layer heavy-body white paint over the remaining area. It took a few coats and a lot of patience, all of the efforts needed to create a "print" effect.

A few more days later, I used a ball of paper towel and dabbed some runny burnt umber, raw sienna and vandyke brown paint mix all over the white area to "age" the paint.

The "aged" effect.

I tried it in the foyer and kind of liked it, so I took it to a framing shop and narrowed down to two options: a gold-leaf floater frame (on the left corner in the picture below) - a very popular choice for a minimalist abstract painting like this; and a regency faux bamboo frame in a champagne finish. 
It will be ready later this week, so I will leave you with this cliffhanger for the time being. Please check back in a few days for the reveal. :)

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