From late 1994 through 1997 my practice mainly consisted of making small acrylic paintings on wood panels. Some were based on sketches but many were created directly on the surface without a prior sketch. At the time I had a fairly small studio—a spare room in our newly-bought house—so large scale work was out of the question. As well, because of my day job as a graphic designer I had little time to paint and thus didn’t want to attempt more ambitious larger-scale work.
Formal concerns in the work during this period focussed on extensive use of texturing through the use of acrylic gels mixed with the paint, as well as creating multi-layered colours through glazing. Though many people—oil painters included—have said that these look like oil paintings, it was not my intent to make acrylics look or behave like oils. I was mostly self-taught as a painter in acrylics, having only taken one painting class at the very end of my time in art school. Although I had focussed my studies on printmaking, I had continued to paint and draw on my own the entire time I was an art student. When I had originally taken up painting as a serious hobby during high school, I had started with acrylics because they seemed to strike an acceptable balance between working properties, richness of colour, and toxicity. They didn’t require the harsh solvents that oil painting seemed to demand, and the colours were much more vivid than other water-based paints. The only time I have worked extensively with oil-based media is in printmaking, and most of that was without brushes.
I’ve talked in detail in my 13 1/2 Essays On Practice, specifically Essay 7 (Why Did I Go Digital?) about why I temporarily stopped painting in acrylics. Suffice to say that I turned to digital media because the process was more amenable to a studio practice that was prone to frequent unscheduled interruptions.
I titled very few of these pieces, and my documentation from the period is inconsistent. As such, I don’t have exact dates or a chronology of the pieces. I completed approximately twenty pieces in this format, of which the images I’ve included are a representative sample. As noted, they are acrylic on wood panel, sometimes with the addition of pen-and-ink.