I looked at some artists before I painted this…Richard Dadd , I’ve already looked at, as he his photo of him painting came up in the Wellcome collection Bedlam exhibition.
I have also been lucky enough to see Mimei Thompson’s  Cave painting [Panorama 2] up close at the Syson Gallery visit a few months ago and I wondered then how she loaded her brush to produce those different colours along the length of the mark.
Her weeds paintings are vibrant and she uses a fairly sparse composition, which I wanted to take inspiration from. Her greens are bright. She outlines some of her marks in a dark tone that I’ve seen Van Gogh do. She makes it look alive and dynamic.
I decided to really try and experiment in these last exercises. First I tried some masking fluid and layers of watercolour, then again with different colours.
The first was with just masking fluid and layer yellow, alizarin crimson and indigo blue in a fairly random fashion. Then I tried a lighter blue in the next, as well as sprinkling some salt, but wasn’t sure this was the effect I wanted.
I really liked this painting by Natalie Dowse as it gives such atmosphere – and I wondered what media I could experiment with to get that effect without using oil paints.
I have used bleach on wet black ink before, and I wondered how that would work on a ground of acrylic, because I thought the bleach being so plastic when dry wouldn’t be affected by the bleach. I tried out a few samples and was quite pleased with how that went. The effects of the bleach on the wet ink can be unpredictable.
I did not think my experiments so far had the range of tones I wanted – the first was dark and light and the second was more mid tone and dark.
So I painted a few light stems on in acrylic paint with white and red oxide and I think that gave the definition I was looking for. Drawing stems through the layers of ink as it dried gave it a multi layered effect.
What could be improved?
It’s not nearly as defined as the Mimei Thompson works and apart from the lighter foreground weeds, it just looks like a tangled mass – but thats probably more representative of the weeds I was trying to paint! The Quink ink was not so powerful on top of the acrylic as it was on white paper, so I wonder if bleach works through a dark wet acrylic colour. An experiment for another day, as I feel quite exhausted after this 6 hour marathon!