Monday, December 3, 2007

A Decadent or a Decent December?

Yes, I am actually working on a painting for someone. I don't usually show anything in progress anymore, because most people just don't understand the process. So this is just to show the process and make a stab at explaining it. There are many different ways of working in oil paint. The fussiest way is with sketches and layers, which is what this is. I was taught layers a long time ago, and it's a good discipline, but I would like to take classes in alla prima (Italian for "at once") or direct painting, where the painting is done in one sitting with a wet in wet technique. I've played with it in smaller works and enjoy it quite a bit, I would just like to get more confident with my technique.
So to start I stretched the custom sized canvas (16x 24), put a gesso ground on it, sketched it in charcoal, put a light fixative over that after I wiped it down with a little English turpentine to get the dust off and lighten it up, then brushed and ragged a mixture of yellow ochre and raw sienna with a touch of a red earth for my middle value. I used paper towels and q-tips to rub out highlights, both the brightest and softer ones. There are no darker values in this yet. I like working this way because it takes the white of the canvas away, gives me an undertone to help me get my values correct, covers up a lot of the reference sketching, and gives me a feeling of some life in the subject. I'll post more photos as it progresses, for better or worse (every painting seems to go through an icky stage where it's not working, but it's mostly just in an awkward transition, like a teenager).

Now for my holiday rant: I am not a big fan of the holidays. The commercialized aspect is an abysmal shift from what used to be a holiday season in which to celebrate thankfulness and the spirtual, ineffable side of life, and then with the New year, renewal. I don't buy into the current version, it doesn't rev me up in any positive way, it just generally makes me feel pretty sad. How about you?


Peter said...

Thanks for sharing your talent - it's an inspiration. Keep up the great effort.
Greetings from New Zealand.

Unknown said...

Looks like it's going to be a nice
painting, who is it? Barbra Streisand?

TK said...

Hi Peter, Thanks for the encouragement, and best wishes to you in New Zealand!

tripper1959, how could you tell?!