Artist Patricia Coulter creates vibrant light-filled canvases. Visit her website to view more of her abstract paintings.
My favourite technique in watercolour painting was always wet-on-wet. I loved how the colours flowed, merged and hung out together! I even liked looking at the beautiful puddles left behind on my palette. I wanted to capture this same flow and ebb with bolder colours and in a bigger way. Originally working with watercolour, I experimented with painting on larger sheets and tried out more colours. Then it seemed the more I tried to paint larger, the smaller my paintings got. Once I discovered fluid acrylics, a whole new world opened up. I fell in love with the vibrant colours and the pure energy that emanated from them!
These large, bold paintings reverberate with the quotation by Georgia O’Keeffe, who stated “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way– things I had no words for.”
I have been inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s words and paintings and also the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and Bette Ridgeway.
I am attracted to the looseness that fluid paint offers and the organic shapes that form. I have some definite plans in mind before I begin, often thinking for several days about how I want the colours to play and shape before I set up the canvas.
I began to experiment with pieces of canvas, set up at various heights. It took a lot of manoeuvring to get the paint to flow where I wanted it to. I have some general idea of what I want to create when I start, but part of this process is being open to surprises!
The canvas is set up at different heights and it often takes several adjustments to check that I am getting the directional flow of the paint that I am planning for. This preliminary stage is crucial and requires a lot of ingenious ways to gently move the canvas to guide the liquid acrylic. Then the paint has to dry and the canvas is repositioned for the next layer. There are often several stages of relocating the canvas and layering before the painting is completed. Then I add finishing touches with fine brushwork, if needed.
I have a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degrees and have recently retired as a high school art teacher. I am thrilled to be able to now concentrate on my own art. I am a watercolour painting instructor on cruise ships for the Cunard and Celebrity cruise lines. I am also a watercolour instructor for Artists Network University and have given workshops locally and at many teachers conventions.
Using the canvas set up at various heights requires some careful thought and planning ahead of time. Sometimes the paint rushes in a new shape I wasn’t expecting but I modify and make the most of this. This style of painting creates exciting, flowing paintings that feature sweeps of color and bold energy!