Bob Pennycook: New Work is the title of my new solo exhibition at the Parrott Gallery, Belleville Public Library, in Belleville, ON from March 7 to 30. Official opening is Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. I’ll be there…because there’s food!
This show is a series of contemporary landscapes painted over the last two years. Each painting had its start from the view outside my studio window, but the painting process took each image a little further.
This piece is called “A Winter’s Day”. Painted in acrylic, graphite and charcoal, It’s 24″ x 24″.
If you’re in the area, drop by and have a look at the show. Gallery hours can be found here.
I’m also teaching a workshop at the Gallery on March 15 and 16, sponsored by the Belleville Art Association. I believe there are four spaces left. If you’re interested, contact the Belleville Art Association.
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A Valentine’s wish….
A 12 x 12″ mixed media painting on nine four-inch square stretched canvases.
The canvases are painted with unbleached titanium, newsprint, burnt umber a little red, some graphite and wording painted with black acrylic ink and a nib pen. The hearts are bisque ware “iced” with gel medium and painted with brown madder and wiped back to create visual texture. A little white, a little yellow were added for texture and highlights. The middle heart was painted with brown madder and not wiped back – three coats of color. White spatters and lines were added along with some purple glass shards. Then the hearts were glued to the canvas with silicone.
A 10 x 10″ piece of Masonite was screwed to the back with the screws going through the Masonite and the wooden stetcher frames. A sawtooth hanger was added. And there you go!
This is my valentine’s card to my wife…shh, she hasn’t seen it yet. But I wanted to share it with you.
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It used to be that when I wanted to draw with graphite or charcoal I worked on paper and framed the final image under glass. But lately, I’ve been working on stretched canvas, incorporating graphite and charcoal with acrylic then covering the completed image with a final coat of varnish. With no need to frame.
The process lets me work larger; gives me the opportunity to use graphite/charcoal which I love working with; and I can still add layers of color and texture which are so important to my work. The only downside to working like this is it sometimes becomes a step-by-step process where I create an interesting background to work with my concept, draw with graphite, then finish with acrylic. It can be difficult to work back into the background and around or over the graphite design – but hey, you just have to jump in and make the changes without fear if you think something’s not working.
This piece “Don’t Ignore the Whisper” is painted on a 24″ x 18″ gallery stretched canvas. I started with a color plan; worked the background with various layers of color and texture (texture meaning gel medium or visual texture created with the paint or a shop towel), then the canvas is covered with a thin layer of TriArt’s dry media ground. When the ground dried, I created the pencil drawing.
The dry media ground is much coarser than most papers so it eats up graphite. It also can make harder grades of pencil appear like softer grades simply by grabbing more of the graphite. Try a sample piece first if the pencil grade is important to you.
When I felt the drawing complete, I topped the canvas with a layer of gloss gel medium, let it dry, then proceeded to paint, mostly with knives and cut stamps. Also note the dark scratches at the bottom of the painting. For these I took a razor blade and scratched into the gel medium then dusted some charcoal into the incisions. The painting gets another layer of gloss gel medium then topped with a layer or two of acrylic varnish (matte for me) and it’s done.
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This is a recent painting based on a visit to Presqu’ile Provincial Park this past spring.
The subject seems to be a strong one for me since I’ve used this image in several paintings. The almost central image of a group of trees, for me, is iconic. It signifies a focused sense of community. But I called this painting “Warm Water” because of the foreground colors.
The painting was done on a cradle board. Several acrylic colors and values were poured onto the board using Liquitex pouring medium and left to dry overnight. I sanded the acrylic lightly to create some tooth then completed the painting with casein. I love using casein. Even after it dries to the touch it remains malleable allowing me to spritz, spray and scrape to create the design.
The acrylic area in this painting is the orange in the sky background and the warm oranges and yellows inn the foreground water.
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I attended a demo for Liquitex pouring medium and soft body acrylic colors…and this is the result of my time at the demo. It’s a marbleized 8×8 canvas painted with a bunch of my favorite colors. And while the colors are bright, fun and interesting in their movement, they were a little too strong for the way I usually work.
So I pulled out my collection of casein paints and decided to work the casein over the acrylic to tone down the intensity of the acrylic.
I love the soft, velvety look and feel of casein and thought I could create a landscape incorporating the acrylic colors. I used Shiva Violet, Titanium White, Terra Verte, Golden Ochre and Ultramarine Blue Deep and the subject was a small section of the view outside my studio window.
The painting became an exercise in experimentation. Even though you should be able to get a translucent look to the casein…I can’t…so I used shop towels, the tip of a palette knife and razor blades to remove some of the color as I applied it. And what happened as I worked – the high gloss of the acrylic started shimmering through the matte of the casein creating interesting visual effects across the surface.Most of the green, some of the yellow and a lot of the blue that you see in the photo below is the acrylic undercoat.
After I completed the basic design, I wanted to add some branches using random squiggles to create some energy on the surface. I used the tip of a scalpel to scrape away some of the casein leaving behind multi-colored branches from the acrylic undercoat. Great fun! And this one small piece is only going to lead to more, and larger, landscape paintings in casein and acrylic.
By the way, if you want to try pouring the colors onto a surface, here’s what I did. Mix about one tablespoon of soft body acrylic (pre-mix your colors) to about a half cup to a cup of pouring medium in a paper cup.Don’t mix too vigorously or you’ll create air bubbles in the paint.
Prepare three or four colors (any more colors and you run the risk of creating too much mud). Start pouring the colors on a canvas or gessoed hard surface. Pour a little of each color, or pour all of each color at a time. Then tilt and twist the surface to watch the colors flow together. Stop when you’re happy with the pattern on the surface. Let dry overnight.
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