Friday, April 20, 2012

"Jostling" and "Time Out"

Jostling, 6x6", oil on canvas board

So, as I mentioned in the prior post, I'm trying to loosen up my painting, so I'm going back to frequent small exercises. Being loose means a lot of things. For me it means being painterly and feeling more relaxed -- mostly -- while I'm painting. I got tired of feeling tense and perfectionistic.

OK, so, I did the painting below (blue basecoat). It made me impatient with myself (I might have to paint over it). But you don't paint every petal! You know how they say to mass in the general shapes? I haven't been doing that enough! So I simplified the composition and redid it and came up with the above (black basecoat). Better. OK, I see a few problems, but it's in the right direction.

Time Out, 6x6", oil on canvas board

I looked online to see what people said about painting loosely. One page said that to paint loosely, you put down the paint once and don't touch it. Fixing it is what looses the freshness. It brings to mind a wonderful exercise we did in the Carol Marine workshop I took long ago: How many strokes does it take you to do a painting? I did a little 6x8" in about 200 strokes.

What did I learn so far? Set up your still life so there are interesting shadows. Then I like to mix my main colors on my palette. Then mass in the shapes just like they say in the books. Spend time loading your brush the way you want, then put down the stroke. Use a couple of variants of each color to add richness and build dimension. Don't be too attached to making it match your setup. Instead, be interested in what's on the canvas. Use the setup only for reference. As the painting continues, you should look at the canvas more and more and the setup less and less.

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