Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From the ground up

In Progress: Teacup and Teapot on Green Slate

Being mostly self-taught has downsides, but big advantages, too. Developing my own solutions to problems gave me an experimental approach to painting. I've held on to that mindset even after I got a little bit of formal training, and learned one of the "right ways" of doing things. I'm sort of a garage inventor in my studio, and it serves me well.

My very basic approach to making paintings and many of the general techniques I follow change frequently as I try out new things. I recently made one such tweak concerning the order in which the final paint layer is applied. Previously I would first paint the objects and then work outwards into the background and foreground, or else begin at the top and more-or-less work downward into the painting. Lately, though, I've begun painting the entire ground - both the background and the surface the objects rest on, letting it dry, and then painting the actual objects... last. In the above in-progress piece, I've just completed the entire ground, next week I'll paint in the teacup and teapot (what you see right now for those objects is just the color-wash underpainting).

This new approach means I don't have to worry about exact color matching, which used to be a little tricky if 2 adjacent areas of the background were done on different days. I also don't have to deal with the "drying lines" between these two areas, which can create an unwanted boundary. Another benefit I've found is that it's a lot easier now to paint the really delicate and subtle light effects that occur around the edges of the objects - half of the area I'm working on is already dry and won't muddy the paint I'm applying.

That's how I do it today, it'll probably be different next year...


Always2l8 said...

Sounds like it will work well :)

Smart Blog title! =D

Jeff Hayes said...

Thanks always!