Friday, March 24, 2017

New Tools, New Approach

"Yellow Sky" oil on panel, 32.5 x 32.5

          I began my art career (more years ago than I care to remember) as an abstract painter.  I worked large.  In those days a panel the size of the one above would have been considered a small work by me.  Working on paintings as large as 5x8 feet was physical and liberating. I enjoyed experimenting with the application of paint by using different tools besides brushes.  Lately I have felt the itch to revisit that approach to painting but this time I wanted to apply it to a representational image and this time not so large.

          Off I went to the hardware store and selected tools that I thought would help me create an interesting surface.  I selected a 3" wide, flexible edging blade (love it!), another edging tool which is a one inch wide wooden roller, and a 6" wide plastic paint smoother. I also unnearthed an old rubber brayer I used years ago.

           Next I did a color study in my sketchbook of a view I am very familiar with, it is the view of DC seen from the point off Daingerfield Island on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. I paint from that location often and working from memory I didn't get hung up on detail.  I used a limited palette of Paynes Gray, Alizarin Crimson, Vermilion, Yellow ochre, Naples Yellow and Titanium White. I propped the study up next to my panel and got to work.

          Ampersand gesso board can be slippery to work on so I like to heavily gesso the panel again myself.  I used both my wide gesso brush and a paint roller leaving behind the texture created by both. Then I pulled out my large brushes (2" and 3"), all my palette knives as well as the above mentioned tools and started layering on paint working dark to light. The water was painted almost entirely with the new 3" edging blade and palette knives.  The sky was worked from the top down first with the same 3" blade, then the brayer and the 3" brush. As the sky descends towards the horizon line the paint is applied heavier with palette knives and bristle brushes.
          I had a wonderful time! More to come....

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