It’s been a while I know. It’s hard writing anything when one is in a dark place. Slowly the light is beginning to seep in and brighten things up a bit. I’ve also been suffering with chronic lower back pain. I can’t sit for long periods of time, making it difficult to get any work done. I had to put the editing of Teacups and roses on hold as we had software issues and in the middle of switching to another program and learning how to use it! By end of July we should be back to normal and get back on track. I signed up with a new gallery and right now, I’m painting like crazy to replenish my stock.
I also just started a huge piece, 4′ x 5′ and will be uploading my progress with images and some video footage. I’ve spent that last few days prepping my panel for painting.
Over the many years of oil painting, there are some process that I’ve learned to implement when it comes to prepping painting panels. I way prefer painting on a wooden panel as apposed to canvas. I use Gamblin’s oil painting ground to seal the painting panel and once dry, I prime the panel with a mix of underpainting white and burnt umber. Basically an off white color to break the stark white ground.
Yes, tinting ones canvas is great, but the main reason I prime my canvas with a layer of oil paint, is Tooth. Your paint needs something to adhere to. I found that first priming this way, I can go over my entire canvas with one pass without having to go back to repaint or touch up. Alla prima made easier and quicker! Yes it takes a week to dry, but it’s worth it, believe me, you will be so glad you waited patiently. It literally cuts painting time in half.
You’re probably wondering what I’m going to be painting on such a huge panel?
I recently received a commission to paint Montana, the adorable pooch. Unfortunately he is no longer with us :- (
I’m posting my process with progress photos to show I how develop a painting. The easy way!
Here’s the photo of Montana, I love his beautiful smile! I used some artistic license to create a playful element and a pleasing composition.
I began with a 11″ x 14″ canvas I primed and sanded smoothly. Next, I tinted the canvas with burnt umber thinned with oms, applying it with a brush.
Then smooth it off with a neatly folded rag. If you bunch up your rag, it will leave marks on your canvas.
Next I drew in Montana with a brush and Burnt Umber.
Once drawn in, I begin filling in all the darks with a mix of Burnt umber and Ultramarine blue.
Tomorrow I continue filling in color with more progress photos. I’m excited!
I excitedly prepared my canvas and began my underpainting. I tinted my canvas with raw umber and tiny dash of Gamsol odourless turpentine. (No getting away from the turps. Although it’s use is very minimal in my studio.) Then rubbed the excess off with a lint free rag. I roughed-in the dark areas and drew my image with my brush and raw umber, taking out the lights with brushes and a rag. Once I’m satisfied with my composition placement and have the perspective and proportion right, I’ll start working on more detail. I placed the bricks and worked on Miss Rose, painting in her features and the detail in her coat. Her hand holding a drink and then her skirt and boots. At this point I’m deciding how I want the other side to look. Although it’s Fan Tan Alley, I’m going to change it up a bit, like I do most of my paintings. The backgrounds are all from my own imagination. Nothing is what it seems. I guess we call it ~ Artistic license :- )
I’m making some progress here with Emma paying her Cello, not too long now, hoping for under a week. This painting has certainly challenged me in every direction and then some. If ur drawing skills are not spot on, ur in trouble. I highly recommend practicing often, daily in fact. Greatness requires enormous time. Based on a study by Anders Ericsson, it takes 10 000 hours to perfect ones craft. That’s 20 hrs a week of practice for ten years. There are no shortcuts. U gotta put the time in. Find the work of a master painter and emulate him/her. Study their technique, look at edges, light, reflective light, the colors they use. There is so much to learn. Undeniable talent equals countess hours of practice. There’s no mistaking it. There’s no faking it. Put ur arrogance away and humble urself. Immerse urself in study and practice. Once u have learned to control ur arrogance, then u will grow as a painter and as a person.
I still have a ways to go yet…years of practice. Diligence.