The Crow Experiment

As an artist, I’m not afraid to say I usually have no idea what I’m doing most of the time. For this particular piece, I mixed so many new ideas together that I’m surprised it wasn’t a complete nightmare. Now looking at the finished product, I really very proud of the result.

I started with the goal of just painting an abstract pattern on  a piece of plywood. I’d never attempted this before, and was a fun experiment in itself. I painted a layer or two of paint, and then I took some water and sandpaper to the surface. I randomly sanded section letting layers of other color come through. I repeated this process three times. For the most part I painted and sanded in the same direction. Next time I will try to mix it up a bit.


Happy with my first experiment, I still felt the painting was unfinished. It was almost too bright. So I attempted to create a faux encaustic finish using a mixture of soft gel gloss, soft gel matte, interference blue, and interference gold. I’m not sure if I got the correct effect, but it did add considerable depth to the piece which was a natural setup for my next experiment.

Most of my work incorporates nature in some way. So, I decided to paint a crow, one of my favorite animals, in the foreground. The cloudy depth of the background with the high detail of the crow actually turned out quite well.


I know I’m probably mixing too many things together here, and making art teachers around the world cringe. But I’ve never had an art class, and I don’t know any art teachers. So, what the hell. I tend to love detail when painting animals. The crow is a special animal to me that has so much beauty even though it is just black (to most people). I took the opportunity to add many different colors to the bird through many different tones of gray. Add a little drop shadow, and the crow almost jumps off the background.


Here is a detail of the finished painting.


The Crow, 24″ x 24,” Acrylic on Plywood, 2013