Acrylic on canvas, 18x36in. Not for sale.

When I shared this artwork online, I was surprised to find how many people really identified with it. I think many people have felt like this at some point or another. Certainly this concept had been at the back of my mind for a while, so it was great to get it onto a canvas.

I made this piece by starting with fluid acrylics and water to create a gradient blue base. Then I let that dry completely and added the “cliffs” on either side, using the same colours as the base, but using black aerosol paint to form some hard edges. I’ve found that if I lightly spray black aerosol onto very wet paint (fluid paint + sprayed water), then swirl it on the canvas, the floating bits of aerosol will cluster at the edges of the paint puddle to form an edge which looks quite organic.

The very wet base, with the clouds in the sky reflecting in the water.

After that part dried, I studied a few different underwater photos on Pinterest to make sure I was getting the “splash” effect right. I had initially used white paint for the bubbles, but of course the eye plays tricks on us and often white isn’t really white so I ended up switching over to a very pale blue. It was just a paintbrush job at that point. I initially tried using a paint pen to draw the falling person, but if you don’t keep the paint nib clean it dries and they are super hard to use after that! I found this out the hard way, so I gave up and went back to good old paintbrush.

All in all, the entire process took three days because it takes a really long time for the very wet paint to dry in between building each layer. This method reminds me of baking, because I’ll do 20-60 minutes of work, then just keep checking back every now and again over several hours until it’s done. I really like working this way.