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Thursday, October 16, 2014

White Takes a Long Time To Dry

     
Two colors, nine values for the grisaille

My work habits have changed. I've become fastidious. My mom is probably spinning in her grave. Ellis is wondering who is this gal?

I was a sloppy painter. Then, I added a multi drawer tambour for paint tubes and reference photos and a wall with a drying/observation ledge;  those additions pushed me towards Professionalism, a town North of Dabbler. Since then, I have continued to improve my work place and as I have, my work comes easier. It's a damn good thing too, for the complex painting I've taken on demands no messy distractions.

Since Schmid,  I've added a 20" x 30" glass palette placed over a 20" x 30" middle gray piece of foam board that I clean every evening.   I've hung a cork board for references. With my hands free and seeing them from a distance, squinting down and handling loaded brushes of light and dark values has become the norm. My palette knife has become more than a fast way to paint.

I am using it for what it was originally intended. Mixing gradations of values with fresh paint is the first task after the lights are on in the studio. Thoroughly cleaning brushes and reshaping them with Da Vinci Gun Arabic is the last task before turning off the lights. 

I have become meticulous. I haven't had to clean my sink since last July when Schmid's insistence on cleanliness hit a nerve my mom couldn't.  Cleanliness in the studio yields uncontaminated colors on the canvas, he said.  In September,Todd's class slowed me down and gave me plenty of time to care for my tools.

I'm no longer in a rush to finish my painting. I am in a rush to train my eye to read a value and mix it accurately on the palette, not by trial and error on the canvas, as I used to. Patience and serenity has replaced urgent production.  Add BB King's blues to the tidiness and the studio turns rosy. It's a fun place to be. The irony is: White takes a long time to dry.  White is dominant in the window area of my selfportrait.


Indirect and Direct Painting, a detail from Linda

The woods in my backyard cannot be seen from the viewpoint I chose for my reference.  All you can see is a wall and the railing of our deck.  That would not do.  So I replaced it with this improvised landscape painted wet into wet freehand with no grid and no under-drawing. The  tonal range is in the lightest end of my nine value monochromatic color scheme. It's  a long drying time out for this area. 
 
The reference photograph.  Everything was fine except the view out the window.




 

17 comments:

  1. Beautifully modulated values. I am so happy you are really enjoying this whole process, Linda.
    You may never go back to the Dabbler town, south of where you live now.

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    1. Sure I will. That's where all the fun is going on. I am liking that this painting is more than a portrait though. It's also a landscape and an interior. I have been avoiding those drapes, but no more white areas till the other white dries. Maybe the very dark back wall today? --then there's the white tee shirt! I'll be a bit older by the time I get down to color. :-)). Todd doesn't like fast dry white. Said he prefers Flake White, which dries a bit faster, but is ground with lead. Unfortunately, this is Titanium.

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  2. A privilege to follow the artistic journey and the experiences of a talented artist like you dear Linda.
    The way you describe and tell about your experiences, your thoughts is a true gift that you make to your followers ,like me.
    (very often takes me longer to clean my brushes that time painting ... every time a brush is dipped in a color, it is not quick to clean paint, so if I need to change color, I change brush ... and changing the brushes I end up with trays of brushes to clean ... sometimes I feel weird when I do this, but the colors are bright and clean with only through these meticulous attention).
    Enjoy all the process ,happy week end and happy painting!!!

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    1. Me too! I am washing lots of brushes after a session. Todd had two of each number on his supply list for this class. I am favoring the number five flat--unfortunately, two is not enough. The thing that screws up the one brush for light/one brush for dark is that lights go into darks and darks go into lights! This process involves a lot of scumbling, particularly when you're painting on the slick surface of portrait grade linen. The brush bristles get twisted out of shape in one session. That's when this Gum Arabics is great. After thoroughly cleaning, a little bead of the stuff allows you to reshape it. If it's a larger brush, sandwich it with card stock (I use an index card cut to size) and clamp it with a paperclip. The next morning, it's fresh, dry and ready to go, good as new. This is a Schmid tip. --I'm doing the dark side this weekend. The white is still wet. I can hardly wait for Monday to hear Todd's reaction to my wooded scene. He wanted to paint it in. I said no. If I screw up this painting, I want to do it myself or I will have learned nothing. I don't think he was offended?

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    2. Many students take pleasure from the direct correction of the teacher, in fact consider it a privilege and it is the reason why there are often students who for 10 years (or more ...this happens here in italy ) depict only if they paint with the master. Who really wants to learn from the master, he paints himself and asks the teacher to show on small pieces of canvas, separately from the work that is painting, an example to keep close, to understand the technique and the point of arrival.
      There are teachers that do not touch the works of students and others who re-paint entirely (with the oil, you can).
      I have to assimilate the technique, because I do not need a painting made by another and signed by me ...
      Yet I know that the teachers have a good life thanks to many students like that ... they will go to school for years, always remaining dependent on the hand of the master.
      Maybe with those proud and stubborn like me, eventually they would starve !!!
      It was not offensive, for me,he just keeps a school, so he plans to do exactly what you ,as many student, expect from him ,as master (maybe he soon better understanding your strong personality ...he will never propose this).

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  3. Linda, your post made me laugh - thank you! What is this great sea-change occurring??? You ... neat ... fussy??? But aside from that, your portrait is coming along superbly! I hope you are enjoying painting this way, because the results are fantastic.
    Still grinning Kathryn :)

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    1. When creating. I have never been neat and methodical, suddenly I am! I don't know who this person is. :-)) But cleanliness is next to Godliness--how many time did I have to write that on the chalk board way back then? But it counts in painting. Clean brushes and a clean palette is something to see to throughout the process. Schmid said so. And I have discovered it to be so as I go through this process. Thanks Kathryn. This monochrome thing is tedious, but very enlightening.

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  4. Linda het ziet er fantastisch uit heel mooi gedaan lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thanks Danielle. I do hope doing a monochrome does something phenomenal for the painting when I get into the color phase of this technique.

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  5. Oh my! What a perfect work station! I confess to be the "tidy organised clean work area" type.
    I can't paint with a messy paint- encrusted palette and freak out when I see brushes being abused. So I tend to be rather bossy during my classes. So impressed with the progress of "Linda"

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    1. Before I got the glass palette set up, I was using a disposable palette. It was convenient, but not big enough. When I read about using glass, I thought it was a terrific idea. I ordered a piece of medium gray foam board, 20" x 30." And ordered a piece of glass 1/4" thick the same size with the four edges polished and the corners knocked off. It is so easy to clean and big enough to hide the grungy table below, a remnant from my previously sloppy life. I do think that an uncluttered, clean work space with well cared for tools contributes to the quality of the work. I am absolutely sounding like my mom. It's a shame she's not here to hear me.

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  6. Love the progress of thos portrait Linda! Great post too.I have to confess to always starting with a clean palette and brushes every day. That's me ! :-)

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    1. Thanks Helen. It's coming, but I think I have a ways to go to get the finish that Todd thinks is finished. I have a feeling his idea of done is different than mine. I really am curious as how helpful this underpainting is going to be when I get into the color phase next class. I started a smaller head to work on my own. I had to see why I had to have such a large canvas that it can't be finished in 13 weeks. His answer was it makes the process easier. I think, for the learning process, start small and manageable--and with a reference with less white! So while my woods dry enough to work on again (and enough to put the canvas in the car without paint getting all over my clothes and the interior of the trunk), an alternate project is in the works. Finish is not an expectation in thirteen sessions, so what the hell? Not only am I an advocate of cleanliness in the studio, but I like ease of transport too. 24x36 wet is uncomfortable to travel with. As interesting as this class has been.

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  7. No! You've left me way behind Now!

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  8. I'm enjoying seeing the progress. I have used a glass palette for a long time. I use them in my pochade boxes as well as the studio. We paint the underside medium gray. I love learning that you are "now neat". That is cool! You have me thinking I absolutely have to get the Schmid book. I have the old one. Your Linda painting is looking great. Can you use a drier, like Galkyd --or is that against the teacher's rules?

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    1. I wanted to use Gamblin's fast dry white. No, said Todd. Yesterday, the paint did not come off to my touch, but still felt movable, so I worked on the dark side. Todd did say use Flake White that's the only 'color' that never has to be restored in museum paintings due to it's lead content, which keeps it from cracking and discoloring ever. It also dries faster than Titanium and doesn't have a blueish tint. I think I'll get it out for the tank top, but will stick with Titanium in the woods. I don't know how good it would be to put Flake over a weaker surface? I'll ask around. --not that longevity is anything I have to worry about :-))

      alla Prima II is much richer in content than his first book, but Katie Swatland's Companion is the book that's about his work methods. --Painting the bottom of the glass is a great idea--not as pretty, but never has to be replaced. I like it! I don't think I'll add a glass palette to my box for traveling. Disposable palette works just fine for the three hours I'm using it once a week. :-))

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