what we want from The Force Awak­ens

colour build­ing tips with acrylic paints

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Front Page - Craww is a fine artist and illustrator work­ing in Sh­effield, Eng­land. A habitual doo­dler, his work em­braces a va­ri­ety of medi­ums in­clud­ing graphite, acrylics and oil paint­ing. He has en­joyed suc­cess­ful shows in Lon­don, San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les. www.c

While I work in a va­ri­ety of medi­ums in­clud­ing just about ev­ery­thing from graphite and ink to char­coal and oils, I en­joy the flex­i­bil­ity of acrylics: they can be used di­rect from the tube to cre­ate thick dense colour or, as we’ll do here, wa­tered down and lay­ered to give depth and an al­most ethe­real qual­ity to light.

I’m cur­rently fo­cussed on a body of work for a show later in the year at Antler Gallery in Port­land, and this paint­ing is part of that.

Living in the coun­try­side I con­stantly find my­self in­spired by nat­u­ral forms – as much by death, bones and de­cay as pretty flow­ers and cute an­i­mals. My work em­braces th­ese themes, ex­plor­ing the beauty to be found in the com­plete cy­cle of birth, death, growth and de­cay. Melan­cholic but ro­man­tic.

As well as a fo­cus on na­ture, I en­joy us­ing heav­ily stylised fe­male fig­u­ra­tive im­agery, of­ten with a fo­cus on the hands. I use a va­ri­ety of ref­er­ence ma­te­rial, from fash­ion mag­a­zines and web­sites through to work­ing with live mod­els, but I find that the im­agery be­comes my own only when I’m able to tap into an emo­tive or ex­pres­sive qual­ity. My method of paint­ing and my in­ter­pre­ta­tion of forms, the ex­ag­ger­ated hands and the stylised fig­ures en­able me to do this.

As a self-taught artist, it’s a style of paint­ing that I have de­vel­oped over the past few years, and I’ve learned a few tricks and tech­niques that make it work for me. My process is very much a stream-of-con­scious­ness flow. I sel­dom start with a clear idea but re­ally en­joy see­ing how my work al­most takes on a life of its own, grow­ing from ab­sent-minded doo­dles, through devel­op­ment in my sketch­book to paint­ing the fin­ished piece.

I try to em­brace a spon­tane­ity in my work, and the drips and splashes of wa­tered-down acrylic lend them­selves well to that process – even ac­ci­dents that seem dis­as­trous at the time. Let me take you through my process of paint­ing when work­ing with acrylic paints.

My work al­ways starts in the sketch­book. It’s a risk­free en­vi­ron­ment to ex­plore ideas and hope­fully sur­prise your­self. I’m a con­stant doo­dler and I try and keep things as loose as pos­si­ble through­out this stage, al­low­ing for room to ex­plore the idea as it pro­gresses.

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