Nancy Wood uses pouring methods to create vibrant abstract works by using the differing characteristics of various pigments against one another. These works capture the imagination, and at once appear both as vast vistas, and microscopic worlds. We spoke to Nancy about her process and her artistic journey from watercolour to pouring.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your work involves:
Based in Southampton I work from my attic studio in a never ending experiment in the interaction of pigments in poured fluid acrylics. I aim to create compositions from naturally occurring paint effects as they form organically.
How did you first become involved in the arts?
I have always been involved in art and 20 years ago had the chance to take up painting full time. The intense desire to spend my time creating artworks has dominated my life and probably always will.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes from colour and the way colours behave in nature. Deep space, deep sea and the colours created by the sun and shadows dictate my choice of palette.
How and why did you make the transition from watercolour to more fluid mediums and techniques?
My transition from watercolour happened when I saw that acrylics in fluid form had the potential to magnify paint effects already evident in watercolours. I was inspired by the work of Paul Jenkins and Holten Rowers and set about learning through experimentation how pigment molecules interact by adding inks and dry pigments to fluid acrylics.
How do you decide on the colours and titles of your pieces? Does one inform the other?
The decision on which colours to put together is based on knowledge I have gradually built up over several years. I favour complementary and contrasting colours as they produce exciting and vibrant results. Titles are often dictated by the way the composition forms but I try not to lead the viewer too much as abstract work will say different things to different people.
What surfaces do you find best to work on?
I work on rigid surfaces. Cradled wood panels, though expensive are the perfect surface for my 3 painting mediums, fluid acrylics, resin and poured encaustic wax and framing is not required. I also use composite aluminium as it is stable and very flat. Canvas is unsuitable for large fluid work because of its tendency to ‘belly’.
How long do your pieces take to dry?
Drying time depends on the thickness of the paint but 24 hours is average. Encaustics dry in moments and resin ‘cures’ overnight.
Tell us about a piece of work that you are particularly fond of:
‘Organic Flow’ is my all time favourite work. Rusty oranges and grey blues in which the pigments granulate and merge into as near a perfect composition as I can produce. It is moody, full of movement yet completely organic. One of those works that simply happened naturally.
What are 3 tips that you would share with someone who wants to experiment with pouring?
1. Expect to waste a lot of paint and achieve ‘mud’ to start with. Keep at it and try to observe how the colours behave together.
2. Use only 3 or 4 colours in each piece. Avoid using silicones as they produce random cells or patterns rather than art that is based on strong composition and use of light and shade.
3. Spend time looking at other pourers work and identify what it is you like about their work. Once you achieve interesting effects work on developing your technique into a personal style.
See more of Nancy’s work on her website: nancywoodartanddesign.com
Open edition prints are available at www.artgroup.com