Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Well, I suppose practice is the key. This is the 6th Leslie Saeta 30 paintings in 30 days challenge that I've taken part in.

The first challenge back in January 2013 launched my ACEO series of miniatures and also this daily blog. The challenge was a grueling process for me, forcing myself to adapt to such a tiny canvas, but it helped me immensely and the series has proved very popular with my galleries.

January 2013 - 30 paintings in 30 days

The next challenge in September 2013 continued with the ACEO series and taught me how to simplify my set up because I was traveling at the time. This was my most successful challenge to date as far as sales go.

By January 2014 I should have been more prepared, but I think this challenge was the most difficult for me. After the intense pressure of shows, holiday sales and time dated commissions, I like to relax in January, organize my studio and sort through paperwork. The challenge added pressure at a time of the year I don't need it and every painting was a struggle. Many of these paintings were of the larger Mini (4" x 4") and Miniature Masterpiece (6" x 6") series and I can even see one 16" x 12" which took several days. However, looking back I can see my creativity was really bubbling. Some of these are my favourite paintings to date.

Next was an interesting collection where I was experimenting in many ways. I was starting to add figurative work and collage to my repertoire. At the time I was also preparing for a submission of 20 new paintings around 100 sq ins, so many of these were larger than the norm - 16" x 6", 18" x 24", 30" x 15" and 24" x 36". I also introduced a new series of "Raw Edge" paintings with proved very popular because of the simplicity of matting.

In January of this year I created another 30 paintings. This series was all about texture. Acrylic paint tends to dry very flat, so the manufacturers have supplied us with many additives to make the paint 3D. For this challenge I was determined to test mediums and textural products in my studio and focus more on layering and non representational ideas.

I tried two kinds of gloss gel, three kinds of modelling paste, matte gel, tissue paper, crackle and various iridescent, fluorescent and interference paints. I also tried a variety of substrates from Canson Arches board and tiny deep wrap canvas to Strathmore water-colour paper. I tested different ways to prepare canvas panels. I learned a lot in this process and really enjoyed breaking away from the norm. If you are interested in acrylic technique, this is a great series to scroll back to in my blog.

And here we are with another collection. This time I challenged myself to practice my abstract skills. Abstracts are not popular in this neck of the woods, so I rarely paint them. However I am a frustrated abstract painter and most of my ideas these days involve massive paintings with interesting texture, collage and mixed media. This challenge was play time for me.

One of the things I learned in the process was to allow the painting to rest in stages and add more layers over time. This layering process adds interest to abstract works. I think I'm a better painter after this series. Now even when I go back to landscape, seascape and animal paintings I can apply the techniques learned and add interest to my larger works.

I think this AFFORDABLE abstract series is some of my best work to date.

Posted at #4 on Leslie Saetas Blog