Monday, February 24, 2014


You all know about my scratchboard... mainly because I never shut up about it (and I do have a couple of new pieces coming up that I'll put on the blog soon! Yay!).  However, I do also continue to dabble in acrylic painting as well. I started it last year and blogged about it in my 'Finding your artist's voice' series of posts here

I love working in acrylic for many reasons that are very different from the scratchboard, and yet the things I learn with acrylic painting I find I take back in a translated form to my scratchboard work.  I think for an artist, work in any medium will reverberate onto other media and increase your overall skill and technique.  Truly no learning is ever wasted unless you let it be!

The things I seem to be drawn to in acrylic painting that differ from my scratchboards are:
Subject:  I love painting people, whereas in scratchboard I greatly prefer animals.
Colour palette:  For some reason I'm drawn to high contrast and opposing compliments, specifically blue and orange, for reasons I cannot explain.
Texture:  The more the better!  I will even used modeling paste to built up extra texture.
Tools:  I find that I actually prefer a palette knife over a paintbrush!
"Inner Thoughts" 16x20" acrylic, (c) Pam Boutilier
Even though those things are very different than my scratchboard work, there are some common threads.  One is incorporating bright and/or deep colour, another is my attraction to off-kilter framing or cropping.  An interesting trait though is that I love artwork that makes sense from a distance, but when inspected more closely you find there is actually MORE to see.  As much as I appreciate a good impressionist's ability to create the illusion of detail from value and colour, I like it even more when there's something new and different up close. 

With my scratchboards I try to have the detail just as impressive from 12 inches away as the overall image is from 12 feet away.  With my paintings I try to create depth and interest in the colour and texture that comprises the subject and their background.  There is detail in the directions of the palette knife cuts, in the shadows... some of which you can't appreciate unless you get up close and personal (and sadly does not come through very well in a photograph).

I'm just a n00b at this painting thing (really I'm a n00b at scratchboard too, but at least I have a few years of that under my belt) - but being a n00b is very exciting and in some ways an advantage.  The fact that I've not had extensive formal training with painting does mean I'm learning tonnes with every painting (and probably making mistakes, but at least I'm finding it very exciting).  However it also means that I'm too dumb to know what I shouldn't be doing, and sometimes that works out in my favour!

So I hope you enjoyed this piece.  I have a couple more paintings in the works that I will post in the next couple of months, interspersed with my scratchboards.  I welcome any comments on my painting ventures!

1 comment:

Nicole F said...

Pam- I have been thinking you might enjoy Jennifer Pratt's blog. She is an equine portrait artist who made a transition from color pencil to oil and is now working on developing a looser style with oils (previously was extremely detailed). Reminded me of your recent posts!