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  • Writer's pictureagprat

The Art of Experimentation

I am often asked if there is any influence from my scientific background present in my art. In the past, I would answer that there was none, that, on the contrary, art provided me a freedom and lack of structure that I never felt at the lab bench. But, the more I think about it, the clearer it is that, while I am very spontaneous in my subject choices, mark-making and overall approach to my creative practice -- tendencies that would not sit well with the rigor that is essential to succeed in the scientific world -- I have always handled my art practice in a manner much like a scientist whose diligent curiosity has them try different approaches until they get what they want to achieve.

Early on in my artistic life, I felt a strong determination to experiment with various ways of accomplishing my artistic creations. I did not limit myself to painting and drawing with one medium; I tried the more typical charcoal or pencil, but I also tested drawing with pastels and the beloved, versatile oil pastels. So many choices and so much variety to mark-making, texture, mixing, adding, and removing… From the first day I encountered it in a studio class, I fell in love with oil painting. The luscious quality, the smell, the richness of the colors, some opaque and some completely translucent -- some colors bleeding into others with a strong resolve, becoming actual actors of a painted corner. My inquisitiveness combined with chance, necessity, cost, and convenience allowed me the opportunity to experiment with the fluidity and the unpredictability of watercolors and gouache, where happy accidents bring a completely different experience compared to the more controlled oil media. I eventually incorporated acrylics into my practice; they are convenient to clean, dry fast, and reward the artist with either the fluidity of watercolor or the ability to build up in textures close to those of oil paint, depending on the application tools and process, or how much you dilute them.

When painting was not enough to experiment, I tried my hand at printmaking with watercolors and acrylics. Trying, failing, and occasionally succeeding with this entertaining and powerful medium was a great experience. You build a painting on a plate, in my case acrylic or gel, and then you transfer that painting onto damp paper to create your artwork. It is a pity that typically, to achieve good results, you need a good press that is not always at hand and for sure it is missing from my rather small studio.

Being obsessed with creating texture, it did not take long for me to try my luck with encaustic painting. Painting and creating surfaces, adding, and removing wax with tools as if I were sculpting, was another remarkable experience. The concern of the smell of heated wax, which could be toxic in a poor ventilated studio, is one of the reasons I have not studied this medium more, yet it is one that I continue to crave and enjoy.

At some point, I decided to also explore the 3D artwork experience with clay sculpting classes. I was fascinated by this new way of achieving some abstractions of the nude figure. Exploring and building 3D work is a much different beast than 2D paintings…

I eventually, and am currently, settled in the oil and acrylic media, along with anything that complements them, but I never rule out doing other types of works, including recent explorations with fabric and assemblage. Dying fabric, molding into various shapes, stitching, gluing, sewing, and painting… I plan to continue that exploration…

My artmaking is a beautiful personal journey. From my early drawings, with a tight style of mark-making -- given my early learned tendencies towards perfection and accuracy --, I eventually gravitated towards a more liberating, gestural, and looser way of applying the paint, using a bold palette and a variety of marks that range from layered fluid, highly textural, to highly controlled dot making, always searching for the abstract/non-representational approach. I hope you enjoy my art as much as I enjoy making it.

Image: “Untitled”, gelatin plate monotype, 11 x 8.5 inches, unavailable. Please feel free to browse through my website if you are interested in my artworks. If you have questions, please contact me here.

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4 comentarios

Helena Tiainen
Helena Tiainen
06 abr 2021

Nice history of your experience with different media and why you chose oil and acrylics! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I loved oil paints but became allergic to the solvents and went into acrylics which took me a while to get used to. Since nontoxic solvents and even watersoluble oils are now available, I might give oils another try. Do you have experience with any of these?

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07 abr 2021
Contestando a

Thank you Helena! With oil I try to use palette knife or disposable foam brushes (that I reuse a lot!). That is one of my problems sometimes in a small studio. That is why I also love to use oil sticks! No need to use a brush then... But when I use them I have a bit of odorless turps in a jar that I also reuse and after taking the most of the paint I clean with soap and water. So much simpler with acrylics! See you in FB! 😍

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