Abstract Paintings on Canvas or Linen

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Abstract Paintings : Small works on paper

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About the Abstracts...


I use natural fabrics – mostly cottons, linens, some silk. Then to adhere it, I spread a coating of rice starch onto the back of each piece. It’s tricky and time consuming – and I have to make sure each fiber and each string has the right amount of paste and pressure to make it fuse. Then I repeat all the steps a few times. I end with more drawing and some flourishes of my paintbrush. I use gouache: it’s an opaque watercolor-acrylic paint that is loaded with pigment and mimics the matte-look of fabric. Finally, details are drawn in with pastels, graphite pencil, and paint-sticks. 

I combine painting with print making and quilt making techniques in these mixed media collages. It looks and feels like screen-printing - one color at a time, tight edges, flat span of color, using transparent layers to create halftones / blend colors... but in these works... some of the blocks of color are fabric. Only up close do you see the texture. 


You can also approach the work in relation to the process of quilt-making - backing, batting, quilt top pieces, decorative stitching = canvas under-painting and loose sketch in pencil, large pieces of neutral fabrics, smaller swatches of cut and pasted textiles, textures, finishing flourishes in gouache paints. I start with a stretched geossed canvas or linen (or heavy watercolor paper for my small studies). Then I sketch in pencil – a sparse outline of the composition. My underpainting is several layers of gesso, acrylic, and gouache. At this point the shapes begins forming. Then after the paint dries, I begin to cut and arrange the first of 4 or 5 layers of fabric.

© Karin Olah / karinolah@gmail.com

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