What happens when you come across a painting that suddenly seems to look unusual and arresting at the same time? Your heart skips a beat and you tend to take a closer and longer look. You know it is a landscape but there is more to that. A few minutes later, you are in love with its colours, depth, texture, story and strokes.
This happened to me when I decided to try adding sand and salt into my paintings.
Having gone crazy over this find, I decided this was how I was going to paint my landscapes.
I was plagued by doubts over this technique. It was hard for me to think of holding up a heavy medium such as sand with paints alone. What if the sand falls down? How can a stretched canvas hold the weight? What happens after it dries? Does it have a shortened life span? And more…
But my lecturer Richard has been kind and patient all along. As much as he explained, he urged me to try. To try and to see how it really works. Deep inside the doubt, I was convinced that it was possible. That sand adds not only its weight and texture, but also its strength and soul to the painting. But I had to try it myself.
Brushes were wasted, knives were abandoned and hands were put to a good use – to feel and to convey. It was one the most memorable experiences I’ve had. The thrill of trying this sand painting technique, mixing of sand and paints, seeing the unique texture imparted on canvas, has been great. . The colours transform into interesting shades because of the sand and salt. The texture is totally new and the depth is surprising. The painting urges you to touch it, with eyes and fingers. You cant help but feel the itch to touch the grainy surface.
My Method of how to paint with sand, salt and paint on canvas:
- It can be quite messy to work with this at the beginning, until you get the hang of mixing and applying this fascinating media.
- Having got over the euphoria and goose-bumps, sieve the sand if you want a fine and even texture on the canvas.
- Mix sand into the paint colours on the palette. I later realized that pouring sand on paint, directly on canvas helped me spread the mixture better and gave me a better control of the texture and effect that I wanted.
- If you need to add more colour in specific areas, apply the oils directly onto the canvas. The colours stand out on the background of texture.
- I could not have imagined sand being stuck to the canvas, without a fixative. But it does.
- The painting itself becomes very heavy with this texture. The entire weight increases in proportion to its size.
- I don’t think these canvases can be rolled at all. I’ve have not tried it.
- The paint mixture remains gooey for many days on the canvas. As a large quantity of paint is used, it takes a very (very, very, very) long time to dry.