Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rethinking A Painting Method

Last Thursday I began the fourth in a series of cactus painting. As I did on paintings 2 and 3 (a process I covered in a series of blogs), I sketched it on the canvas using a fairly detailed pencil sketch, painted all the cactus parts a dark DecoArt Black Green leaving a thin canvas gap between each part and painted the void spaces black.

Here is the old method. Oh dear does it take LOTS of time.
As I was painting the unpainted gaps a combination of pink and cad yellow, my mentor said, "Why didn't you just paint the whole canvas Black Green then ketch the lines on the canvas in white pencil?" To tell you the truth, that idea, for the first time, had flitted through my mind as I started painting that day.  However, the memory of painting white calla lilies on a black background a few years before at the Las Vegas Painting Convention, made me dismiss that idea. I did find it strange that this suggestion came on the heels of the last painting in the series.

Suddenly though, I realized that if I used a black canvas and traced the pattern in white on it, I could save a great deal of time if I taught the painting. The students could concentrate on filling in the cactus flutes and not spend the time on what I realized, now, of painting the background in. This was acrylic and not oil, so depending on the paint color, one, at most two coats would cover the black yet allow artists to dry brush the blending of dark and lighter portions of the painting letting the shapes form out of the dark background. Sweet.

I will have to wait awhile to try this out but I have several subjects that will be perfect to experiment with. I think it would be akin to the what a sculptor faces facing a block of stone hammer and chisel in hand. Rather than chipping away, you are painting a form onto the blank surface. I guess, just like everything else, there is more than one way to do something. Will it work? I can't wait to find out.

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