William Bouton has always been fascinated with the special and unique physical properties of each of the three main painting mediums; oil, acrylic, and water colour. A “magical“ technique for water colours he uncovered while reading an autobiography from Amanda Lear about a technique developed by Salvador Dali which will be dealt with in a later blog. With acrylics, he developed his own technique and style using free flowing colours in standing water by preparing and controlling the gravitational flow.
Bouton experimented for years with various methods and techniques in oil. One evening in an attempt to create an absolutely flat sky with no brush strokes, he mixed the blue paint with a great deal of oil. The result was a perfectly even sky. The next morning, upon waking, he found an almost bare canvas and a blue floor!
After moving to Munich in 1981, he did a series of paintings on paper using shoe polish because he had variously coloured shoes and could not afford to buy paints. Months later he was able to scrape some money together and purchased a large piece of press board, 110 cm X 160.5 cm, and oil paints. Beginning in the upper right hand corner, he started by applying pure ultramarine blue very thickly. Seeing that the paint was too thick, he took a second brush with just turpentine, planning to thin out the blue. Upon touching the painting, the turpentine went strait through the colour blue exposing the white under painting. The result was the appearance of a white head. In this split second of revelation, the lifting technique was born! Bouton went on following this technique for the next nine months until his painting “Procession of the Spirit Balloons” was finished.
This was the first of a multitude of works depicting all different types of figures, small, large, even clouds as figures. This lifting technique is a form of negative painting in that the forms are created by removing the paint as opposed to positive painting where the forms are created by adding paint to the canvas. To the best of his knowledge, Bouton has never seen or heard of anyone ever using this lifting technique at any time in the history of painting.