Blog #33 Tropical Trio (Part 1)

It’s the start of a brand new year full of promise so I wanted to create something completely new and different and brand new with my art. I decided I would take on the challenge of creating my very first triptych. A triptych is a painting made of 3 separate panels used together to create one large painting. In my case I wanted to work on gallery wrapped canvasses using acrylic paints. The overall size of 20″x48″ (4 feet wide!) was super daunting to me! How to approach such a large scale painting? How to divide up the images over three different canvasses in such a way to have each panel be attractive independently as well as having the whole piece work beautifully together in a continuous logical fashion?

Starting with a loose pencil sketch is always helpful to me when I am trying to sort out my thoughts and ideas for a new painting. It forces me to decide on the main composition and the positioning of various elements at that drawing stage. As you can see in the first photo top row left, that the drawing doesn’t need to be super accurate. It’s just used as a great guide for me to follow. In the next photo you can see that for the painting’s background I covered the white of my 3 prepared canvasses in multiple values of phthalocyanine blue with some mauves, white and slate colours tossed in.

In the photo top row right you can see me applying a fun technique where you cover up the centre of each canvas with a rectangle of paper held in place by masking tape. This protects the previously painted background area but leaves a 2″ border. When this stage is completed it reveals just the edges where I have added splotches of a deeper blue paint with my fingers and line work with my rigger brush all around the perimeter. The middle row of photos shows the paper being removed and the obtained effect.

Now I am ready to paint my fish! I plot the positioning of my fish with a light line drawing in white chalk pencil which will easily rub off with a damp cloth in the end. As you can see in the bottom row of photos I have added more and more layers of colour and patterns on my fish. Things are going well but I still have much work to do before it’s finished. There are 5 tiny fish still needing to be painted in and some aquatic plants too to be added. So please join me next week when I post part 2 of creating ‘Tropical Trio’ in my next art blog #34.