It took two more trips to finish my melanin version of Klimt’s The Kiss, and it was a great opportunity for some more bonding with my little sister Alice. The painting was part of a silkscreening workshop Alice and I signed up for a few weeks ago at 4Cats art studio in Oak Bay, and as I wrote in my previous post A night of Gold, this affordable workshop gave us the opportunity to practice our mixed medium skills: using acrylic paint, gold leaf, metallic pens, a silk screen, dark paint and clear glue to create our masterpieces.
The first class operated in a group setting with each of us painting the backgrounds of our canvas, silk screening on our kissing couple and then applying any gold appliqué that we wanted onto the canvas. After that it was up to each participant to book additional follow up painting times in the studios splatter room.
Alice and I booked painting times not once but twice where our canvases were stapled to the wall and we were given three to four hours to work on the intricate details of our paintings. The most interesting thing I learned form this experience is that you first paint over a whole section of your silk screen lightly, in a base colour, before picking up a detail brush and painting in the small details. This leaves you with rich colours throughout your image, even in areas you may choose to leave untouched when dealing.
Another thing I discovered during this process is that I am a messy painter who likes to go with the flow and take shapes as I paint. It was not uncommon during one of our sessions to find me singing, taking yoga like poses to reach a tricky corner or stepping/dancing far away from my painting to take in the larger scale of things. I also took to singing, as 4Cats has some great 90’s playlists that included quite a few of my favourites from my elementary school days!
By the third painting session, we realized that unless you set a limit for yourself you could easily go on and on with the level of detail you added to your canvas. In this last session we focused on touch ups and layering of visual elements such as metallic pens and permanent marker. Some shades of acrylic paint, such as vibrant yellow, are harder to make pop on the canvas when your background is a dark purple and blue. Other colours like violet and gold however pop right away and do not require layers and layers of additional paint to really shine through. I also found that my love for all things glitter and sparkle extends to metallics and so the metallic pens, in shades of silver, gold and copper, became my detailing best friends. Best smoothed on top of dried acrylic paint, these pens gave my canvas a wonderful depth and helped play with the light to create a contrast of matte and shiny finishes on my piece.
After we had finished detailing and touching up to our satisfaction, we were each given the option of having our canvas stretched. The staff let us know in the very first workshop that if we thought we might want to stretch our canvas on a wooden frame, so that it was ready to be hung on our walls at home, then we would need to paint to the very edges of our canvas. Alice had stretched a painting before with mixed results and decided to leave her painting unstretched. My painting, on the other hand, was stretched for the reasonable price of $39 within the week in studio and now hangs proudly on my living room wall for all visitors to see.
Doing this three part workshop has inspired me to keep looking for opportunities to integrate art into my everyday life. Since the workshop I have bought a few small pots of acrylic paint, a detail brush and a few metallic pens and have found new art projects to embark upon.