The wonderful world of art and machine

# 15 – Tuesday June 28th

I’ve a thing for bikes . . . and it’s a wonder when my art and bikes intersect, especially in such a project as the SRAM pART project in support of World Bicycle Relief.   Based in Chicago, SRAM is a world leader in the design and manufacture of bicycle components.  SRAM has invited 50 artists to create a “piece” using a variety of their parts. These works will be exhibited in Las Vegas at InterBike (THE bicycle trade show) and at a gallery in Chicago,  then auctioned off, with the proceeds going to World Bicycle Relief programs . . .  that’s it . . . the SRAM pART project.  Very cool.  My box of parts is winging its way to the desert, from the Windy City, even as I write this . . . and you can bet the making of my pART “piece” will be featured here on my blog.

Speaking of parts . . . I’ve been promising an addition to my Tools of the Trade page and here it is . . . acrylic and dry pigments (my media of choice!). I started with oils, loved the smell and the creamy texture under the brush, but as my technique transitioned from a thicker application of paint, into using multiple thin, opaque and translucent layers, I wanted those layers to dry quickly,  and that wasn’t happening with the oil paint. So I started to experiment with acrylics. I’ll spend days and weeks just looking, but when it comes to making  marks or applying pigment to canvas, I’m an impatient painter. Acrylics do dry fast and as my technique expanded to include scraping, sanding, scrubbing and all manner of abrasive manipulation of the canvas, acrylics not only held up to the abuse I delivered but  glowed under the strain, and I’ve used acrylics ever since. Golden is my brand of choice. Why Golden? No particular reason other than Golden acrylics were the very first acrylic paints I experimented with, and while I’ve tried a variety of other brands over the years, Golden acrylics consistently do what I want with no surprises.

The whole dry pigment idea started out with crushing up pastel sticks and rubbing the pigmented powder into the canvas, but now it’s the way I describe my catch-all basket of mark making tools . . . colored pencil, pastel, charcoal, graphite . . . whatever gets used that doesn’t come out of a tube.  These “dry pigment” media do require something to make them stay put, and I use fixatives to accomplish that task. The original Blair 105 was a great fixative, workable and water-soluble, and had been an integral component in my technique for years  . . .  but then the 105 formula was changed and that was the end of that. I’ve experimented with all manner of fixatives since, and my current fave is SpectraFix.  SpectraFix is a casein-based fixative using milk proteins and grain alcohol . . . It does what it’s supposed to do, with no funky odor or noxious fumes . . . and that’s good enough for me.

Thanks for reading.

Charles

A little teaser. Two very new canvasses . . . so new . . . no words yet, but excited to see where they go!

I welcome any and all comments, thanks for reading!

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