Monday, December 3, 2012

Tried some oil painting today...

Oh man, and suddenly it all comes back to me - just how scary and frustrating and messy and inasne oil painting is! Oh yeah, now I remember! Every bit as nerve-wracking as pastel drawing, but stinkier and stickier. Damn, and I swore off pastel drawing because the messiness and lack of control stresses me out..

Notes to myself :

Apparently first you want to get the canvas covered with paint - paint doesn't like to go down onto canvas, but it goes on much better onto paint. 

It's very important to pay attention to viscosity = if there's turps in some paint and it isn't dry, then going over it with fresh paint can easily disrupt the weaker thinner wash of paint and pull some of it up - irregularly to boot, making a huge mess of things. 

Often a little playing around will fix things - but it can screw things up so easily too.

Super-frustrating when you've worked really hard on an area and have it looking fantastic, and then acidentally swipe some dark-ass paint right through it. Crap!! 

I did a little kitchen still-life with the onion cannister and the garlic cannister and a ceramic pot sitting on the little cutting board (which now has some titanium white on the corner of it!). The first pot was total crap - all the wrong colors, paint went on too thick, lost control again and again and decidedd to just move on. 2nd pot worked much better - I put it on in a drawing sort of approach, putting paint down and then lifting it with a rag. Pretty nice underpainting approach. The ceramic pot looks good too - I started to find the right thickness of paint and the way to work with it - making sure to get enough on the brush but not too much etc. When you get these factors all right it works beautifully. 

Then before quitting I decided to scrub off the first one - the result actually looks excellent!! Similar to the scraping method, but you don't have to wait for it to dry. It reminds me of one of my heaily erased drawings - my favorite kind, only in color, and with a beautiful canvas texture. 

This is how I want to do underpainting - putting on color and then scrubbing it off. It could be done in local colors, or in some colors calculated to look good showing through overpainting here and there. 

Have PLENTY of clean rags on hand!! 5 or 6 at least. My rags got so messed up all over that every time I picked one up I got paint all over my hands. Not fun!

** about 10 hours later **

Did some more painting, nearly finished the 1st layer. I' actually astonished at how well it's going now - it seems I've got past my earlier clumsiness in handling the paint and found the right way to do it. Everything is going quite well now, and I seem capable of getting the colors where I want them now without much incident, and of fixing it when things go off a bit. More and more I began to put paint on and then scrub it off, resulting in a sort of additive/subtractive method that looks really good and doesn't leave too much paint on the canvas. Most of the painting has been done so far with straight paint, no medium at all except for when I tried to draw on the wire handle for the ceramic pot, which I ended up scrubbing off anyway. Detailed out all the pots and painted in a blue background and the cuting board, and the nicest touches are the holes in the terra cotta pots and the slot in the end of the utting board, all done with various shades of purple that looks almost black but isn't flat and dead like black. Even found a trick to paint a little turp on the edges of the holes and then wipe over it to remove a little paint and get a lighter edge showing. 

The composition looks a little oo simple and there's too much space left at the bottom, so I think I'll find something to add tomorrow. 

Oh, and I actually have pictures! Busted out the camera and took some progress pics:

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