Micheal Zarowsky observes, among other things, the Southern Ontario countryside with great clarity, and he presents powerful impressions of all he sees without a hint of sentimentality. This is genuinely original work in the absence of any striving for novelty for its own sake. Here are our waters edges and forest floors depicted in such a way as to emphasize vibrancy, transparency and wonderful relationships that exists between strong shapes and colours.
Never one to be contained by any medium, we have over the years made continuous leaps forward to take the watercolour medium in new directions opening new possibilities, and have once again done so here. I am now painting with watercolours directly on gessoed norwegian birch panels. Working on gessoed panels isn’t much fun, being akin to painting on kitchencounter top with every stroke beading up streaking, smearing, misbehaving like so much split coloured water, but I am dazzled by the new textures, the strength, immediacy and directness that results, (and my work on paper is strong).The paintings are finished by painting around the edges and as such can be hung without a frame or floated in a float frame. To secure the watercolour I lightly apply 2 coats of spray fixative, and once dry, lay on 2 coats of matt varnish, just as any oil or acrylic, to seal it permanently against the elements. Having scoured the internet for anyone else working in the same way, & unable to find a soul painting watercolours directly onto gessoed panels, I find myself, for a brief moment anyways, in a unique position creating something never been done before.
Following the natural evolution of thinking processes, as always for me it is normal that things should only become more complicated.
A discusssion I had with art restorer from the AGO, followed up with others with curators/gallery dealers, the consensus is that watercolours painted directly on gessoed birch panels, become, by virtue of needing to be made secure - the process of securing with a coat or 2 of acrylic varnish – become acrylic paintings. They are acrylic whether intended or not.
If as such, they are then deemed acrylics, simply because of varnishing at the end, this to me is a ‘backended’ process of arriving at acrylics. If the watercolours are going to be called acrylics simply because of that, then why not front-end load the process.
That is, work in acrylics from the getgo.
It occurs to me that, painting watercolours on gessoed panels, working from light to dark, working negatively as I do, as it involves building up layers upon layers on the gessoed panels with the watercolours, why not mix in acrylic gel with/to the watercolours as I go along, and so entere a new phase, wherein I now am painting with acrylics - acrylics that I make myself - on gessoed birch panels.