Dusk is my favorite time to photograph the midway. As blue skies deepen, the lights begin to sparkle. The hot, humid day gives way to cooling breezes, and the grandstand pulses to the beat of an American Idol. There’s a little extra excitement in the air. We’re going to have some fun tonight!
This is my first experience using Ampersand Aquabord. (Not a misspelling. Ampersand calls all their boards “‘bord.”) As the name implies, this surface designed for water media. I picked up some on sale, thinking if I hated it I could always use it to mount prints or paper. But I liked it. With some more experience, I think I could do some cool things on this surface. The gesso is absorbent, like paper, so I used that to my advantage for the initial soft washes (first image, below). When the background was dry, I sealed it with binder medium so the “bord” wouldn’t be quite so absorbent as I painted subsequent layers. I’m not ready to give up my beloved Gessobord, but it’s nice to have options.
Some paintings gradually come into focus as elements are layered into the scene. This is one of them. I’ve watched this carnival being built from the asphalt up, and I’ve painted it in much the same way. Here are a few images I saved along the way: