Monday, May 3, 2010
Let's Just Say I'm Going Green
"In Good Faith", oil on canvas, 16" x 20"
It has been said that the old masters of art used to scrounge trash bins for their students' old paint tubes to scrape whatever paint was possibly left to use on their own work (I have to admit I like to romanticize this thought a bit, throwing a little bit of a Sherlock Holmes setting in, picturing these famed artists creeping about in the shadows, capes on, grabbing what little paint they could and rushing back to their studio to paint all night to create the masterpieces we know and love today).
Trading in the cape for old jeans (covered in paint) and the trash bin for my beloved Binders, I feel the need to scrounge and save the precious medium that is my oil paint. Stressful at times, naturally, but such a dilemma of saving paint while still maintaining my love for a "Juicy" painting has lead to me constantly play with application and process.
Let's take today's painting for example:
In attempt to save paint from the previous painting I used what was left on my brush to paint the first layer of the background to the painting. It allowed a different color palette than what I normally would have chosen, and I enjoy the muted tone of the background that allows for the magenta swatch on the pear to really sing.
Painting the background first also allowed for the edges of the pear to automatically be softened, and provided little conflict with the overall marriage of subject and space. I feel like it is a common problem for a painter to get so wrapped up in the subject of the piece that when they get to the background it either becomes an afterthought or they struggle with what to paint. Painting the background first solves both of those problems and allows for more opportunity to let the subject shine.
Nevertheless, such a practice leads me to wonder: What masterpieces were throughly planned out, and which ones had traces of happy accidents due to the selectiveness of our precious medium?
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