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Behind the Scenes

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'Preserve - Indigo Marine Blue' is an abstract seascape mixed media artwork. It belongs to an ongoing series of environmental themed eco artworks that I started last year. I began the series working with only acrylic paints, inks, and texture mediums, and a little over a month ago I started experimenting with resin, a new form of art medium. I've incorporated this additional element in 'Preserve - Indigo Marine Blue'. The concept of this series of work is heavily inspired by comparative satellite images of earth taken from space, that capture drastic environmental changes over time due to the warming climate. The motif of this collection is really about sustainability and preserving the landscapes that we love, cherish, and can't live without. For me personally, before moving to United States, I've lived in Sydney Australia for almost a decade. Like millions of lucky tourists and locals, I have enjoyed some of the world's most breathtakingly beautiful beaches and coastal scenes.

The color palette of this piece is inspired by the iconic deep turquoise water of Bondi Beach. I have so many fond memories from there: The perfect crescent shaped shoreline, the exhilarating scenic walk along the cliffs, and the gorgeous rock-pools where little kids would go on tiny crab hunts! The colors I use to mix with resin are acrylic based artist paints. I primarily use soft body colors, and fluid consistency ink colors made by Golden Artist colors and FW inks.

I use ArtResin brand epoxy resin to create my artwork. It's a trusted professional artist resin brand. According to ArtResin’s website, it has additional stabilisation additives that prevent long-term yellowing and other degradative effects caused from UV light, which can be a common problem for Epoxy resins artworks.

Before I start pouring resin onto the wooden panel, I sand the wooden cradles until they are smooth. I then tape over them with painter’s tape so while I’m working with resin, it doesn’t drip onto the wood. Once I’m done and the resin is completely cured, I can peel the tape right off to reveal sharp, neat edges, and a clean cradle surface ready for staining and waxing. I’m not a fan of messy edges. So when you hold this piece of art in your hands, it feels really smooth and looks elegant and well-made.  

After prepping the cradled panel, I draw a simple layout of the composition of the artwork. I also add Golden’s crackle paste onto surface area where I need it to be, this is a white opaque medium that cracks as it dries. The depth of the paste determines how fine the cracks will be, so I carefully apply the right thickness so that I get the desired sized cracks needed for different areas. Once it’s fully dried, I tint it with color. When you look at my finished artwork, last thing you will notice is the cracked and deserted landscape that was subtly embedded and silently submerged beneath the water. This effect is produced by the use of crackle paste that draws the eye to different parts of the painting.

Now that the prep work and background steps are complete, it’s time to start pouring the resin. I enjoy this step of the artmaking the most as building layers with resin is an intricate process, which requires lots of organizing and planning ahead, and I also have to be able to work in a timely manner. ArtResin has a 30 to 40 minutes ideal working time before it reaches a stage which it gets tacky and starts to cure. In order to work efficiently and optimize the time allowed to perfect my techniques during the pouring and manipulation, I always layout the colors and tools I needed before I start to mix the resin. During and after the pouring, I use blow torch to get rid of air bubbles and tiny dust particles on the surface. I also use the blowtorch and a larger heat-gun to move colored resin around when I want a certain effect, such as lacing and waves,  to happen in a certain part of a layer. When I’m finished with one layer, I use a tiny needle to pick out any visible dust particle that fell into the resin, to ensure a smooth surface when it dries. I then cover the artwork with a box and leave it in a well ventilated studio.

The way I make my resin art, under different lights and angles, your eyes will perceive the subtle color variations in those turquoise layers and blue-green hues. In order to capture this ocean color depth, strength, and subtlety, I create multiple layers of tinted resin one layer at a time by repeating the above process, instead of pre-mixing the colors into the resin all in one go. Each layer takes about 24 hours to cure, and between layers I sand the surface lightly so the next resin layer adheres consistently. It takes me about a whole week to finish a piece of artwork.

I have a video clip on my Instagram page showing you a close up view of this artwork under sunlight, so you can get an accurate idea of what it looks like in real life. It can be challenging to take an accurate photo of a resin artwork, due to its reflective nature, the depth of colours, and the layers that went into it. But I can say this, photos do not do it  justice. This is a piece that you need to see in person to truly appreciate it.  

'To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.' - Theodore Roosevelt

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