Acrylic Carving

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great week! Now, if you’re like me, you might be used to stereotypical forms of art: painting, drawing, ceramics, etc. These are what we are most exposed to because they are more traditional. What I love about this blog is that I find myself actively looking for cool things to share with you all, whether it’s a new artist or a new style I’ve never seen before. This week, I have both for you!

I recently found the artist Hannah Jensen on Instagram. Jensen is an artist in New Zealand who, while in college in 2003, created her own technique – carving into layers of acrylic paint. She begins by painting between 40-80 layers of paint before she carves into it to created incredibly detailed negative reliefs. Not only is carving a very precise art form, but the hours it must take for 40+ layers of acrylic paint to dry is also amazing in itself.

These two pieces are from Jensen’s Round Flora and Fauna Series. Each piece in the series has between 40-45 layers of paint and either 2 or 3 tones. I think this is the coolest part of Jensen’s technique; she applies multiple colors in her layers of paint, adding more dimension to the carvings. It reminds me of those black cards that you scratch to reveal a rainbow gradient underneath. I can imagine the wonder of the first piece she would carve out, revealing not only the colors she had placed but the hard work and dedication she poured into each layer. I also really love the texture of it because it maintains the feel of paint while being so different from a traditional painting.

In her series “WILD,” Jensen uses her technique to create images of animals. This piece, DISPLACED, depicts a leopard. I really love this one because of the contrast between the orange fur and the blue-green background. Jensen provided us with close ups of these works, allowing us to truly see the detail she puts into them. The marks made through her carving help create the illusion of real fur, adding to the realism of the piece. This piece has 59 layers of acrylic paint and it is obvious that she included several different colors and tones as she went. I can’t imagine the incredible planning and thought this technique requires!

Hannah Jensen Paint Layers

Here you can see the sides of this piece, showing the many different layers dripping off of the sides.

Here are two more from this series:

Although Jensen’s technique seems like it may be difficult or even stressful, I have to wonder if it can be calming as well. In high school, I had made a linocut print and I had a big area that needed to be carved out. One day, one of my friends took a break from their piece to help me, and they realized how relaxing it was. From then on, all of my friends would take turns carving, simply because they enjoyed it! Maybe all the planning for Jensen’s technique would be worth it, not only to see the color and textures reveal as you finish the piece, but for the fact that you would find your flow as you carve. It seems like it would become an extension of you. Maybe I should try this technique out (on a much smaller scale of course)!

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