Toxic Beauty is a new series of richly colored layered resin paintings that I started working on as an experiment. I wanted to play with resin art techniques to heighten the paint properties and characteristics of acrylics in order to develop exciting textures and deeper dimensions. Working with this polymer, resin and acrylic painting literally captures light and glows from the inside out. It flows in unexpected ways that make it a journey into the unknown. All I knew, when I started this journey, was that in order to have the translucent layered depth, that resin provides, I would need to accept the reality of not knowing exactly what would happen. As an abstract artist, letting go is key.
What is Resin?
Resin is a sticky, organic secretion that firs and pines and other plants produce to protect themselves against insects and other potential invaders. Even in its organic state, it is toxic, but the qualities surpass the restrictions. Just think, “Amber” which is fossilized tree resin. This jewel-like substance has been appreciated for its beauty throughout history. The type of epoxy resin that I use to create my artwork is non-toxic, but it still poses some risks in handling. To honor the resulting characteristics of this medium and the process I go through to create my paintings, I called this collection of resin paintings, Toxic Beauty.
What is Resin Art?
Resin art comes in many forms from paintings to sculptures to jewelry. Artists incorporate it into their creations because it can transform paint properties and characteristics. Often it’s used to increase the brilliance of colors so they really pop or change the thickness of acrylics and inks to create new textures. And the shiny finish can give art a more modern look while providing a protective barrier.
I was first introduced to resin by my friend Michael Hayden, a fellow abstract artist, who uses layered resin painting techniques to create his large-scale artworks. Michael combines the polymer with tinted beeswax. This technique is also called encaustic painting. His unique artwork also incorporates found objects and other mixed media giving his paintings a sculptural quality.
The Lessons of Resin Paintings
With the first of my Toxic Beauty resin paintings series, there was definitely some trial and error. I learned very quickly that dust and dirt particle, no matter how small, lands on the sticky canvas and can ruin the work. Creating art in the heat of the summer became a challenge. I had to turn off my air conditioning and close my windows.
Instead of creating resin painting on canvas by covering the entire surface, which is the more typical method, I learned to pour it in the center and keep adding layers as I worked outward. I adjusted the thickness of the medium and it allowed me to create abstract art paintings on canvas without having to worry about it bleeding through.
My final lesson was that I needed to have a lot of patience. When creating a layered resin painting, you have to give it enough time to dry fully or you may lose the textures and colors you worked so hard to create.
Resin Paintings As A Series
I finished five works, each organically created by the lessons I learned and the events of my environment. Below the Reef, was inspired by the mysterious depths of the ocean.
Eclipse was inspired by last month’s extraordinary solar eclipse. I used the resin to really bring out the shine of the gold paint that I believe captured this once in a lifetime event for me.
Resin Paintings As Inspiration
Using resin has energized me and inspired me to take more risks with my art. I look forward to continuing to explore creating more abstract paintings for my Toxic Beauty series. See the full series here.
Clara Berta is a passionate, award-winning abstract artist of Hungarian heritage. Her dynamic, highly textural abstract paintings have been exhibited in the United States and collected worldwide. In addition to exhibits across the US, Clara’s work has been featured in film and television including CBS’s Two Broke Girls, Bravos’ Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, Disney’s You Again, Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, ABC’s The Catch, and the indie TV film Broken Links. Her art has also been seen in LA Weekly, Singular Magazine, Culture Trip, Downtown News and other publications.