The theme for this month was abstracted explorative pieces using pools of acrylic paints.
The idea was formed the previous month while working in Cinema 4D and needing abstract painted textures that would double as displacement and diffusion maps (Directly referencing this tutorial, which itself was an analysis of the fantastic work of Rik Oostenbroek.) In a pinch I succumbed to a google image search, but felt pretty dirty afterwards. Add to that that my go-to computer was essentially bricked as a result of Apple pulling a hell of a douche move concerning installation of their hardware, and it was time to move on to some more traditional methods.
The challenge was economic as well as aesthetic. I made the choice to go with mid-level acrylics since oils would be pricey as well as being unsure of methodology or results. Additionally I would be working on pieces at my girlfriends apartment, and I have found through trial and error that interior designers, lovely as they may be, get exceptionally grumpy when you get paint on their stuff.. Several trips to ye olde hobby shops and Targets were necessary throughout the month not just for paints, but additional items such as clear plastic plates, cups, syringes, saran wrap and storage means.
The unforeseen problems were variables. Tons of mixing and experimentation went into these, between finding what worked well as a base (water, 2% milk, heavy cream, clear dish soap, soda water, vodka, etc) to different varieties of paint. Since the paints were being photographed while still in “liquid” form, there was as much experimentation in paint to water ratio. The other major challenge was lighting. All of these pieces are shot with a macro lens, and no bigger than a stamp in real life. I was able to rig a dirty three point lighting set up in my studio using flashlights and adjustable desk lamps, but not as lucky while shooting on the weekends at the aforementioned girlfriend’s, and was usually at odds with a very unforgiving overhead light.
After maybe three weeks I finally got comfortable, but not yet confident. The pieces were definitely some of the best regarded from my online audience, and I would continue to experiment and evolve the process the following month.