For these paintings, I use predominantly Schmincke AERO COLOR® Professional, the most versatile acrylic colour I have found. It is aliquid acrylic with incredible colour strength and high adhesive qualities. AERO COLOR® Professional adapts to many applications, and is central to my process in creating these large paintings.
I work mostly on canvas, which I sometimes prime using Schmincke Primer 2, as its slightly absorbent nature gives me a longer workingtime and the brilliant white increases the brilliance of my colours. I also use the raw side of primed linen, as the natural colour gives my colours a wider tonal range. I prepare this with Schmincke Transparent Primer, sanded with 600 grit paper after applying three coats, so it's smoother.
For my initial layer, I mix a solution of water and Schmincke AERO Medium to paint on to the surface prior to applying colour. The AERO Medium adds strength to the water so the weak film doesn't beadup - it maintains a continuous film across the canvas.
While the surface of the canvas is wet, AERO COLOR® Professional can be dropped onto it directly from the pipette to bleed and blossom. For smaller works, I use the 28 ml bottles - here the Cobalt Blue, which granulates in the canvas weave, and Red Orange which is incredibly intense.
For larger works, like this multi-panel painting, I use the 1 liter bottles of AERO COLOR® Professional and squirt directly onto the wet canvas. Each colour has its own way of reacting with others - some colours push their way into the next, mainly depending on pigmentsize. Magenta pushes into Cobalt Blue, turning it various delightful shades of violet.
Turning the canvas this way and that causes the colours to run together, mixing and creating a random background for me to work on. Even with several hues blending together and in some cases becoming dark grey tones, the colours stay clear due to the purity ofthe AERO COLOR® Professional pigmentation.
For large works, this tilting of the canvas becomes very physical andis best done outside on a fine day!
Okay, that was the easy part... Now, all that colourful background getspainted over using mostly AERO COLOR® Professional, with somemore solid areas using Schmincke Finest Artists' Acrylic PRIMAcryl®. It is during this long process that the versatility of AERO COLOR® Professional becomes so important to me.
The fluid nature of AERO COLOR® Professional suits specialistbrushes, such as the da Vinci Vario-Tip, allowing me to create texturesquickly and effectively. For more drawn detail, I use AERO COLOR® Professional through the AERO COLOR® Professional LINER Markers. These refillable pens come in five nib widths for a variety of different marks, with my favourite the 1 mm: able to be used on pointfor detail and on its side for a sketchier approach.
AERO COLOR® Professional LINER Markers give me the ability to make continuous lines, and being refillable, I can mix my own colours in them. The coarse surface of the canvas wears down the nibs, but these are easily replaced.
AERO COLOR® Professional is perfect for my airbrush too, right theway down to ultra-fine 0.15 mm nozzles, so I can make spray effects in the same colours I'm using in the rest of the painting. In fact, because I can use AERO COLOR® Professional directly from the pipette or bottle, with my brushes, with Liner Markers, my airbrush and - as it is an acrylic - with my painting mediums to alter its structure, AERO COLOR® Professional makes up about 80% of my paintings.
For the rest, I use Schmincke Finest Artists' Acrylic PRIMAcryl®, as the buttery consistency gives me perfect control over shaping and colour blending more solid areas. From late 2016, I have also been using the AERO COLOR® Professional TOTAL COVER for opaque painting. These dry to a matt, opaque finish and are great through the Liner Markers and with my brushes.
I'm a great believer in using the best ingredients to make memorable things: this is true of cooking and for painting. They exist in a delicious state already - all we need to do is arrange them in our individual way.