A layered life, by Lynne Cunningham

I like to write, so being brief in writing the descriptions and labels that caption my paintings, and short(er)  blurbs I write online is something I need to perfect.  I need to be more brief.  But there's usually a story for every painting and it can be short or long. There's the seed of the idea for the design; the beginning of the painting. There's the middle part, which is the execution of the painting. Mingled into this mixture of the whole process is what I'm feeling throughout the act of painting, which influences the artwork. And not to forget the the technical part of painting.

For my methods,  of beginning to paint with a layer in acrylics and then finishing in oil paints, this process is a well-accepted and an archival handling of paint materials; the painting will stand up to time.  Archival carries less and less importance now in contemporary art, however I'm traditional in my methods. I like to create paintings that will hold together over the years, with little chances of flaking or peeling paint.

Studio visitors ask about this when they read the label description 'acrylic and oil' . I explain that commercially sold canvases, or 99% of the canvas sold in the U.S. already has a layer of acrylic applied,  which is the base coat of acrylic gesso.  Oil paintings are painted on top of this acrylic underlayer . I might begin and finish a painting entirely in acrylic. Or begin in acrylic and then as I go along, I may see the painting could use some blending or some different textures, and I then switch to oils - - after the acrylic layer is dry.

I don't mix acrylic & oil while wet;  that won't bond well to the canvas. The differing layers need to dry in between. I do not use latex paint, that's meant for exterior or interior walls of a house.  Artist materials are for my paintings, whether pencil, pastel, ink, acrylic paints, oil pastel, oil paints, and artist mediums .  . . that's all! Tools, however, are less traditional and I get creative in buying tools for spreading and applying, buying paint tools from Home Depot or the paint department at the hardware store. Paints and paint mediums do need to be of Artist quality for my work. Besides, I just like working with brands that are a connection to art history (like Sennelier) and are a pleasure with which to paint!