Friday, September 13, 2013

Great White Heron

Diane Mannion, Great White Heron, 8x10" oil on linen
#8 of the 30/30 Challenge
Brushwork Tips

Toned three linen panels this morning, hoping I'd be able to paint three today... sigh.  Not happening.  Always trying to paint faster but keep seeing things to change.  
 Toned with Indian yellow, transparent orange oxide, and quinacridone magenta.  Used the magenta under today's painting... Great White Heron.  Fought hard to let bits of that color show through!

After spending yesterday showing students how to apply paint with meaningful brushstrokes... decided to follow my own advice.  This advice goes for the finishing, polished strokes... fell free to scrub away on the underpainting.  (A painting is an underpainting until you declare it finished).

*Mix colors on the palette.

*Scoop up a good amount of paint.

*Hold brush almost parallel to the canvas.

*Lay the paint on in one careful stroke and LEAVE IT!  Blend as little as possible.

*It's only possible to get two or three "clean" strokes with each loaded brush.  Wipe paint off with paper towel (don't clean brush with Gamsol or OMS between strokes).

*Use more brushes to keep strokes clean.  One for lights, one for darks... etc.

*For oils... paint with darks first, then build up the lights.  

*Keep darks thin and transparent.

*Experiment with different kinds of brushes.  Artist quality only!  Don't waste your money on the cheap ones or you'll spend time picking bristles out of the paint.  I love Silver Bristlon, good stiff brush, almost like using a palette knife.  Also Rosemary Brushes soft un-natural mongoose, for refining and detail.  Grumbacher bristles are great and many, many others.  You'll find the best for your purpose only after putting in miles of painting strokes.  Never throw out an old worn one... they're great for scrubbing underpaintings.  Sometimes, good quality housepainting brushes come in handy for large paintings.

*Numbers 2,4, and 6 are perfect sizes for bristle (natural or un-natural) to get started with.  I love filberts and flats.  Rarely use rounds.

*For underpainting I love to smear and blot with those blue Homedepot or Walmart car cleaning paper towels.  Have found Viva towels (recommended by lots of artists) too thin and leave a lot of lint.  Kleenex tissues are great for blending and pulling paint off brushes between strokes (a tip I learned from CW Mundy.  Check out his work!

*Once in a while the palette knife comes in handy!  Especially for sea oats stems.  And a meat skewer stick (what I scratch my signature with).  Just about anything handy will do... but keep those fingers out of the stuff (it's bad for you!)... use plastic gloves if you must.

(Sargent started with the middle values and then worked to dark and light, so it's whatever works for you).

First stage... started with darks then wiped lights with Gamsol.
How painting looked at lunch break.  Feeling out patterns and composition.
Finished painting again, a few hours later.  The scene is Caspersen Beach in Venice, a favorite hangout for both artists and birds!

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