Thursday, January 20, 2011

Painting Driftwood: Pelican Dreams and False Moray Eels

Story Behind the Driftwood
Driftwood was found on the beach by an art fan who has sweet memories attached to it. This piece was beautifully weathered with rust stains, discolorations, and rough textures. Instead of leaving it plain, he wanted a painting with ocean themes. 
Pelican Dreams ©Angeline Marie, 2011, acrylics on driftwood, approximately 8 x 36 inches

False Moray Eels ©Angeline Marie, 2011, acrylics on driftwood, approximate 8 x 36 inches
Preparing the Driftwood
Salt and paint make for great textures, but not for an archival support. Both sides of the driftwood were splashed with fresh water to remove as much of the salt and sand as possible without removing the wonderful aged qualities. After gently brushing, the wood was allowed to air dry. The wood was prepped with a clear acrylic medium instead of gesso, to allow the colors and textures to show through the coat. 

The driftwood was staged in a prominent place in my studio, where my eyes had to catch and study. This allows my imagination to create what the driftwood patterns would hold for an image. 

Pelican Dreams
Since this is a more realistic painting, reference photos of pelicans were studied, but the fish were a more abstract idea. Other than clown fish, dead fish are the only ones that might have orange scales. Why orange? The rust stains on the driftwood were integrated into the fish. 

Viola! A sleeping pelican, sweeping fish, the ocean blending into the night sky!

False Moray Eels
This side of the driftwood was not intended for paint, even though both sides were treated just as a precaution. However, when I was about to sign the back of the painting, the false moray eels slipped into my eyes! 

Abracadabra! Two false moray eels and a cave covered with coral. 

Last step, after photographing to avoid glare, is to spray an acrylic gloss to protect the paint and make the paint look shiny. 

Interesting facts learned: 1. the Atlantic Ocean does not have any truly orange fish that like to swim in schools and 2. those yellow eels that may spotted during a snorkel trip are false moray eels. So far, it is great being under the influence of Oceanography

Angeline Marie of 
Angeline Marie Fine Art


JJ said...

A-M: Thanks for the tips. I actually love painting driftwood. Not having visual artistic talent, of course, I usually paint driftwood turquoise. But I do stage them in a prominent place in my office!

Angeline-Marie said...

You paint driftwood?! Cool!!! That means you use them like the "whimsy rocks" that I made for Beth: around your office to make you smile. Great idea!
As for those rocks, I truly liked your idea of Integrity on one of the whimsies.

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