Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Canvas and Paint Process 2

The next step is to create the support that I shall be using, I like painting on a smooth surface so I will use either a wooden block or board. I use a good quality mounting board which I can cut to size and then gesso.
Most of the time, nearly always I suppose, I use black gesso primer. I think that using black helps with the intensity of colour that I am always after, it lets me see where I have been lazy and not used enough paint (yes that happens a lot) it also helps you to move towards the light as you paint.
So the primer is applied, usually about four or five coats and sanded down between each coat, this gives a really good painting surface. I try to do quite a lot of supports at once, have a priming day. I put the primer onto a lid of a jam jar and then screw the jar on top when it is not in use, this keeps it usable for a long time.

When the support is ready I transfer the line drawing onto the black surface using white chalk then

start to fill in all the areas that are very light. This stage is when you can begin to see how the painting will work tonally before the colour comes along to confuse things!

But soon the colours begin to sing and shout to me and I have to dive in. As the rusty red hull is quite an important part of the painting I will get this blocked in first. Although this is a very early stage of the painting it is important to me to remember the direction of surfaces and try to reflect that in the application of the paint. So the strokes of the brush describe the shape of the objects as well, this is just one of my foibles, not law, nothing is law as far as I am concerned, you just work out the way you like to work. For example the only black I ever use is the gesso primer, the dark areas on my paintings are all made of colours, but that is my personal rule.
I like them because they dry fast but not impossibly fast like acrylic does. They have all the properties of oil paints, smell, workability etc and can be mixed with oil paints too. I am an impatient and fast working artist, I want results and I want them fast so these paints are perfect for me. All the rules of oils apply, fat over lean etc. I love them.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

I'm drooling and trying to avoid rushing out the door to go and buy black gesso and alkyds!

(Naughty! Finish blog post first! Then rush out the door!)

Excellent post sarah. It's very clear and I love the pics! I make that two ace painters (you and Karin jurick) I've now come across who use black gesso.

Lindsay said...

Thanks for some very practical tips on approaching the painting process. I've never tried black gesso but you make is look so helpful!

Your planning process looks like it raises the success rate too!

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Are you using a masonite board? I too like a smooth surface, in fact,I love painting on paper best.I'm going to try 300 lb watercolor with light gesso applications to see if that works. I'm also thinking about using an acrylic under painting on the paper to see how that works.

vivien said...

you'd like the Griffin Alkyds Katherine

I sometimes work on a deep blue or red background