Sunday, 29 April 2012

Retrospective 2 : Clingfilm

As promised a second quick look at some of the stuff I was doing a few years back. ( around 2002, I think). I am not sure where I got the idea for using cling film to create the backgrounds to some of my paintings. Maybe I read an article in a magazine, or saw some work by an artist using this technique, but I was clearly impressed as I produced  quite a bit of work in this way.

I did not use the cling film primarily to produce texture within the flowers, but to create interesting backgrounds onto which to paint the subjects, which were nearly all flowers, although I did try some still life work in the same way.

My method of working was to stretch my paper, probably 140lbs, onto a piece of MDF as this made rotating the work more easy, and quite a lot of water was involved. I had not come across blocks of paper in those days!
I completely or partially wet the paper and then applied the cling film which immediately clings to the wet surface. It was not pulled taut, but left with a degree of wrinkling, down which the paint woulf flow! I mixed up good strong washes of the colours I required for the background. These were dictated by the colour of the flowers I was using, and nearly always also included some greens.
Using a plastic pipette or a heavily laden brush, I gently peeled back bits of the clingfilm, and allowed the paint to run down the runnels created through the folds of the film. I turned the board in all 4 directions and added paint from all four sides. At this stage it was possible, with some practice, to manipulate the film to move the paint around a bit, but I had to be careful,as I did not want all the colours to totally merge. I needed there to be quite distinct lines in the ensuing pattern, with areas remaining white.
At this point, the painting had to be left to dry completely. Not something I was very good at, and on a number of occassions, spoilt the work by removing it too soon.
When the painting was dry, the film could be removed and if I was lucky, I was left with a subtle, and beautiful background of interesting lines and colours.
I would then draw on, and paint the chosen flowers, carefully placing them to make the most of any strong lines within the design. Where necessary, I finished by strengthening some of the colours in the middle background to give the painting some depth.
It was all great fun, and just describing the process gives me the apetite to have another go!!


                                                       ' Marguerites'



As a point of interest, the tulip painting is the only one presented without a border. This is because borders only get added when I use the image as a greetings card. I obviously never used this image! In those days, I was also much less computer savvy, and my equipment was very basic, so the reproductions saved on the disc are not of the same quality that I get today. They lack a bit of 'punch' which was probably present in the finished painting.Glad you managed to find it..... Hope you enjoy looking!


  1. Some lovely paintings there. Where's the tissue paper!

  2. Thanks Peter, glad you found it. Not sure what you mean by 'where's the tissue paper'! On my screen, the Tissue Paper post is directly below the 'Technical Hitch' post and the 'Cling Film' is directly below that! If your screen is not showing that, would you be kind enough to let me know.