Friday, 7 August 2015

Back to the Airing Cupboard, Oil on board

It is a good idea for artists to meet other artists from time to time, to appreciate each others work and talk about our different approaches. Artists spend a lot of time working alone, so this sharing of experiences ignites new and varied enthusiasm and stops us going... nutty. It's always interesting to see how other people work - from the state of their studio space, to the music they lisen to, the lighting they prefer, their favourite brushes and of course the process they use to create their paintings. 

From time to time I visit my friend the artist Ian McAllister. His paintings are beautifully crafted, delicious mysteries. I took along a painting-to-be, of some little pumpkins that I'd arranged in my airing-cupboard-of-controlled-lighting, which I'd drawn and transferred in line to an art board. 
Ian's 'Dark Start' on the left and my 'Pale-but-interesting' on the right..
It's wonderful to see the very beginnings of another artist's process. As you can see from the two 'beginnings' above, we took the opposite aproach. Ian starts in fuzzy darkness (left), working with a really long brush and adding lights to the dense background. I (right), with my water colour and drawing history, am champion for wanting to preserve my drawing, lest I fall off the edge of the world or something..  So, lets mix it up, we thought... and slathered darks dollops of thinned down paint all over my drawing... 

Big broad strokes, but the comfort-blanket of drawing is still visible. 

Above - we managed a good bit of darker tones on top of the 'slather' until the surface was too sticky to take any more, and I took my painting home to see how I'd get on.. 

Dried, lighter
The image above shows how it dried - the tones had sunk in much more than I expected. The idea was for me to try building up colour using glazes. 

I made lots of mistakes. Grr.. I did many layers, which at first were streaky and transparent and unsatisfying. I  did LOTS of layers, in colour, then wiped over it with black to keep it soft and fuzzy. This was verging on the traumatic at times, but I soldiered on...

The set-up 
My goal was to get real depth into the warm orange colours on the pumpkin, and eventually the richness I was after began to emerge, with the colours making the objects look solid yet velevety. Then I had a little accident.. 


Yes, I'd not lowered the top block of the easel to secure the board, which was thin and lightweight. So, JUST when I was happy with a days work, and moments before I had to go out to a meeting, the board tipped over and landed in my palette. The dollops were impressive! 

Clipped on! 

Of course, I wiped it off, along with the areas around the dollops which were still wet, and laughed at myself... I worked a while more on the painting, but evenually was fed up looking at it so I ceased. I learnt a great deal from this little painting - some of what To Do and lots of what Not To Do. When I put it away, I really didn't like it, but now, some months later, I dont mind it so much and appreciate having taken the time to struggle with it. Often, what we learn is invisible, but we use it in the next painting and the one after that and the one after that..

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, I did smile when I read about the spill ( sorry) ... Just shows though, carry on and we can keep learning. I'll remember this and it helps xxx