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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Experimenting with New (Metallic and Glow-In-The-Dark) Paint

I bought two four-packs of paint which I have never used before, one pack had metialic colours, the other had glow-in-the-dark paint, which I was especially excited about.

The first painting I made was over a base I had already prepared. It was actually another painting which I started (covering the square canvas in Prussian blue acrylic) and then never got round to finishing. Using white and different shades of blue acrylic, I created a base of gestural brush strokes, which gave me the impression of a tempestuous ocean. Once this had dried, I added blue and white acrylic splatters on top. I then mixed the four metallic paints (bronze, silver, gold and green) with other acrylic paint (blue, yellow, pink, purple and orange), and added a second layer of colourful splatters. If I'm honest I don't like the way it turned out - I think I used too many different colours and it was too much to have the two layers of splatters - making the painting seem chaotic and without direction. But such is the way with abstract, splatter paintings - some turn out better than you could have hoped and others are a disappointment - it's a great metaphor for life, really.

The second painting is an A4 canvas, which I paintted with black acrylic, thinking the neon colours would contrast starkly with the background. When I opened the packet of glow-in-the-dark paint, I realised that one of them was a white "primer" because the neon colours were somewhat transluscent and wouldn't show up well against the black. Nevertheless, I think this worked to my advantage, as I added the white primer in light strokes which partially showed the black brushstrokes beneath, ultimately I think this created a stronger, more visually dynamic base texture. I then added the glow-in-the-dark paint (yellow, orange and pink) in splatters, not mixing the paints with any other colours beforehand. The reason for this was two-fold, firstly, it hadn't really worked with the previous painting using the metallic paints and secondly, because mixing the neon colours with any other kind of paint would reduce the glow-in-the-dark effect.

I realised, alike with the glow-in-the-dark stars I had as a child, that the paint only really works if the paint has been exposed to light before you turn the lights off. This is because the product contains phosphorous which has to be "energised" before it can glow. Also this glow effect doesn't last for very long. The best way, therefore to display such an artwork is under a UV light - which I don't hapen to have at home. Overall, I was much happy with this second painting, it had seriously cool-vibes and a kind of seedy-night-club-esque / grungy aeshetic which I enjoy. One issue with both paintings, however, is that this brand of paint was very thin, which meant more dynamic splatters, but also limited the physical texture of the paintings. This is something I have observed more generally with my abstract paintings, that the oil splatter paintings are far more engaging and interesting for their texture - they take an aeon to dry though, whereas acrylic and watercolour splatter paintings are good to go in a couple of days. I think I will try making more glow-in-the-dark paintings but I will try a different brand in the future and see if I can get a thicker texture.


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