Saturday, January 21, 2012

My craft is my love

I LOVE to paint. Oil painting from life.
The paintings are never easy and almost never go "as planned". The most intimidating part is looking at the blank canvas after looking at the model.
The most exciting part is moments later when you attack the canvas with the slightly thinned paint, a couple of guild lines. Blue circles, red triangles, sienna lines. A little dripping but not too much, too much dripping would mean you've put too much turp on your brush. I measure the features, I make notes in my head. The direction of the surfaces, which way will I direct my brush stroke. Fat over lean, thin then thick.
This is more than just drawing, you are feeling the figure with your eyes, this is sculpting with paint. As much as you have built up your figure, your portrait, this is when you have to lose it to find it again. Never be afraid of not being able to find the figure again. Lose the detail, lose the edges, then bring them back, but accurately.
As the painting continues, the brushes get smaller from a flat and a filbert to a bright and a round.
The paint gets tacky and drags more the longer you paint, usually an hour or two into the painting. Now you can build up the paint. It is not as buttery as it was before. You can stack for an impasto look if that's what you're going for. The highlights are thick, the shadows transparent. This is when you add your color. I like letting the viewer's eyes mix the colors. Doing as little mixing as I can on the wooden palette and most of the actual mixing on the painting itself. The colors are relative so as long as the tones are correct you're golden. Constantly adjusting the proportions, your eye is having a conversation with the model.
The most interesting works of art reveals artist and involves the viwer. The great designer milton glazer says it should "Inform and Delight". I could go with that too.

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