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New Techniques / More Paintings / New Sizes / Personal Thoughts

This week I wanted to share some fun stuff about my paintings. I get emails every few days asking me how I get certainly effects. So I thought I would share a few with you. I also wanted to share some paintings I have on the go as well as some new sizes and personal thoughts.

In the past when painting acrylic paintings, I have always tried to use a warm, neutral colour for a background colour. I will then sketch overtop of that with a conté crayon. Then I go through a process of painting in values from light grey to black.

In my recent painting “CoreWorld 2175”, I started with a light outline of the image with a 20-30% black. I started out by blocking in some rough colours to see if I liked the direction I was going. Some key areas that needed to be covered early were some white pipes and heating ducts. I painted these in a white with just a hint of blue/green. It was very hard to see the colour but it was there. I then let the paint dry and grabbed my metallic silver and painting a light coat (more wash like) over the white pipes. The next step was to paint some thinned green, rusty copper colour in washes over the silver. These were left to dry. Once dry, I then take VERY light washes of colour over the pipes. It worked out to about 10 coats.

So you might be thinking, “What effect will I get?” The effect is pipes that have a white base, silver reflective colour and then depending on the light, reflect light from the various washes of colour. It’s hard to describe but I can maybe take a video and see if I can capture.

Experimenting with washes on different colours and layering them is fun. In most cases, you need to let them dry before painting over them.

Another technique I have bee experimenting with is mixing shadow colours. Most painters use a form of black but true shadows are not a black but a combination. On the colour wheel ( for those that use them) you can pick a variety of shades that work well. I will upload some pictures soon to show what I mean.

More Paintings

I currently have two 18″ x 24″ Steampunk paintings underway. I will be picking these up at the framing shop this week. I also have a 36″ x 36″ painting ready for background base before sketching out the design of this beauty. Lastly, I have 3-4 paintings in development that will run in the 18″ x 24″ size.

My desire is to paint larger than the 18′ x 24″ but many clients like something affordable that fits a den, bedroom or office. For custom work I will use larger sizes.

Personal Notes

Over the past few weeks, I have had a few people ask about why I don’t paint full-time. The answer is not a simple one. I love to paint and although I enjoy working with my clients, designing web pages and solar projects, deep down I would love to paint full-time. I have so many ideas for paintings and series that I doubt I would ever get bored.

Painting for a living is tough. Many of the paintings I create don’t always appeal to a northern audience. In Dawson Creek, people love to see painted grain elevators, wheat fields, lakes and mountains etc. I love painting these but I also miss the coastal areas of British Columbia where I grew up.

Fantasy markets vary and some themes like steampunk style paintings appeal more to people living in larger centres and in many cases other countries in Europe.

The audiences for the work I do varies as well. I am seeing that more and more as I experiment with different ideas and techniques.

Over the next month or two, I hope to market myself ( and paintings) better and get more attention on my work. I don’t typically get a lot of pushback on prices, so I think I simply need to get in front of more eyeballs. Here are a few more ideas I expect to do in promoting my work:

  • The US market has bought a lot of my work over the years. Time for a big push there again.
  • I want to try promoting my work more as gifts for family, coworkers looking for an idea for a retirement gift or target doctors or lawyers (who typically enjoy creative art).
  • I will continue to advertise on the new Facebook Marketplace.
  • Promote myself on Instagram more
  • Look for more commissions. They take time and you really need to do a lot of prep work but are fun!
  • Book some more shows and paint more outside. Known as “Plein Air”

Moving ahead, I want to start selling prints more actively again. I have the scanned images and can print on demand. In the past, I used to print about 25 of each print and number them. I would print about 80% of the original size (to preserve the price of the original). The mistake I made was I should not have limited the size of the print run to a small number. Thinking a small run of 500 might be more appropriate. I will have to think about this.

Take care and let me know if you are interested in any paintings or have a question.


Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

About Gordon

Gordon Currie has been painting watercolours and acrylics for over 10 years. His work has been displayed all over Canada and the US in both private collections and displays.


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