Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Watching Paint Dry

I finished the commissioned painting tonight; two days in hand. Provided the paint is dry, I may be able to get it in the post tomorrow, although how it'll be travelling remains to be seen.

The man at DHL was decidedly sniffy. "I wouldn't send a painting by us," he said glumly. "Not enough insurance."

The start of the painting process was, as always, rather slow. I squared up an inkjet print and drew it out on the 24 x 20 ins. canvas. I fixed the drawing and covered it with a magenta acrylic wash. After that it was a matter of laying in the basic colours, and then comparing and adjusting colour, tone, perspective as I went along.

When I was at university, I was encouraged to use soft brushes and to thin my paint, usually with Liquin. I've been working more or less like that ever since, and most of this painting was done that way. But I do find this method lends itself to fiddly detail.

When I began painting, I was a much broader painter and I was beginning to think I'd lost that for good. I'd look at my older pictures and wonder how on earth I actually made them.

Part of the way through this painting, however, I dug out an old tube of Oleopasto and mixed that in the paint. Wonder of wonders! That was what I'd been missing all this time. It makes the paint thicker and stickier and has such a drying effect that I find I have to work faster. Working faster means less fiddly. This is a Good Thing and something to be taken on board for the future.

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