Project 2 – Exercise 2: Mixing materials into paint

Continuing with experiments paint and found materials. For this exercise I decided to go through a more methodological series of materials.

The materials I choose are linked to my subject matter of residential building, interior, living on countryside as well she more linked to painting as suc:

  • Salt
  • Ground Coffee
  • Tea Leaves
  • Earth ground
  • Rabbit hide gue
  • Bee wax


1) Series #1 (1-6): various materials, hide glue, acrylic emulsion, gesso, acrylic paint, oil paint, charcoal

I went for my first series a bit differently than mentioned in the course materials and prepared rather a textured ground with applying a layer of hide glue on each board, adding the materials, and continuing from there.

Next step was a layer of acrylic emulsion and gesso. I spilt each board in two half so that I can see the different effect better.

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 2 - #1-6 - progress

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 2 – #1-6 – progress

I found out that the tea leaves (soaked in water before applying to the board) were increased significantly the drying time. From the current set of board I like the one with salt and earth (coarse and uniform structure), coffee giving a similar effect as earth, and hide glue (thickening further over time of drying). I was wondering about bee wax and whether a pre-mix with turp would have a simile swelling effect as hide glue with water.

I continued with adding layers (translucent and opaque) with oil (left side of board) and acrylic (right side). After drying I rubbed with charcoal stick over the surface to disclose better the surface texture.

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 2 - #1-6

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 2 – #1-6

I am continuing here my artefacts series (Artefacts I and Artefacts II made in part 4 during the outdoor painting exercise – click here)

‘Artefacts III’ – Gallery of six boards (24 x 18cm)

I liked the continuity of the patterns and tried various assemblies – changing order and direction. I found that the resulting overall image became another image, a landscape of texture and unconscious painting. There may be various way of assembling them. The boards are the same size, thus the cluster seems rather constructed in a modernist manner.


Artefact assembly – a constructed landscape


2) Series #2 (7-13): various materials, acrylic paint, oil paint, enamel paint.

For this series I extended my materials range. My thinking went also along the line of water and turp soluble materials:

  • Salt (water)
  • Sugar (water)
  • Tea leaves (water)
  • Rabbit hide glue (water)
  • Hen egg shells (insert, turp)
  • Bee wax (turp)
  • Carnabau wax (turp)

I pre mixed the first four items with a bit of water and a mix of acrylic paint. I was careful to get a blend of a still flowable consistency but also with enough texture.

The last three items were mixed with turp and a mix of oil paint (trying to obtain similar color as the acrylic mix).

Considering my earlier painting and experiments with fluid paint (ink, acrylic, oil) I went a similar road and tilted the board so that the textured paint can flow downwards.

Stefan513593 - Project 2 - Exercise 2 - #7-13 -progress

Stefan513593 – Project 2 – Exercise 2 – #7-13 -progress

Gallery of textured paint series (18x 24 cm):

I was disappointed about the hide glue and bee wax results. I expected somehow a bit thicker texture. Definitely something that needs more careful preparation (time, temperature) to achieve the desired effect. But this would lead me most likely towards process painting (process of material development, dissolution) in an abstract way and away from a textured painting, the latter should be simpler in preparation in order to focus on the subject painting as such. However, I can relate the characteristics of materials that change phases (salt, glue or wax into solution) to my subject matter of building deterioration and fading images.

I continued with a bit more elaboration with acrylic, enamel and oil paint.  Working without any pre-conceived ideas, letting the image in front of me inform what to do.

The results are quite different. I used again gravity force by tilting a board in one or the other direction, letting the paint drop and covering partly the previous layer of textured paint. I am call

Artefacts IV‘ – Gallery of paint in texture series (18x 24 cm):

The next project and two exercises will be fully embedded in my personal project.


  • Keeping my textured ‘Artefacts‘ paintings rather simple and contained, I got a sense of what could work and what not.
  • Being less premeditated and self-conscious about the results, the visuals seem to move towards surrealist automatic landscapes.
  • I purposely tried to build on the material characteristic e.g. swelling of glue or tea leaves in water, thickening of wax in turp. Not all experiments were successful, depending on mix ratio and temperature and time. Nevertheless I got a sense about process options.
  • Material characteristics that change phases eg. solid salt to solved salt or solid glue to liquid thickened paste) could work as an abstract presentation of my subject matter (building deterioration and fading images). I haven’t decided yet whether to go this road for my project or not.
  • Overall I prefer the coarse material e.g. salt for its rather uniform surface appearance. Eggshells are adding an effect rather intermittent.
  • I find that textured painting do convey a certain narrative in itself. The narrative of the material used and the way paint is incorporating this into a more or less coherent picture.

Next Time:

  • Build on my experiments in meaningful and elaborated paintings. Careful consideration when to incorporate materials in paint.
  • Considering material characteristics as an intrinsic aspect for my peronssl project.

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