I have been asked a couple times about my painting and why don’t I do a step by step like I do for my sculpture. Sounds like an easy thing, but I guess it come down to my personal feelings about the two mediums. When I create a sculpted piece it almost always comes out the way I envisioned. Not to say that there aren’t problems to solve, and aspects of the piece that get reworked and changed. It’s just that I find that my painted work is just more difficult for me to create that picture i see in my head, and i don’t have as many tricks for problem solving or achieving are certain effect like I do with clay. That said I’ll be glad to spew out all I know, and let you read about and see as I stumble through the process. Not as much pressure doing a “here’s how I paint with acrylics” as opposed to “The definitive way to paint with acrylics by Dave Pressler”
I paint with acrylics, I like Liquitex Acrylic and Golden Acrylic Paint. Most of the time I paint on wood; Masonite it’s sturdy one side smooth the other rough. I cut 1” X 3” inch beams to create a frame, then glue and power staple the masonite to the frame. It’s like a really skinny box. To finish before the painting begins, power sanding, then 2 coats of Gesso are applied. I leave plenty of brush strokes in the gesso for texture and “Tooth”.
Most of the stuff I’m working on now is blimp and sky related. The first phase is to have an idea of what the final piece’s color theme will be, warm, cool, then do an under painting in the opposite or complimentary color.
This painting is being started over an old piece that wasn’t quite finished, but it wasn’t working out. Not the way I planed. Out with the old!
This piece will have a an over-all warm color scheme. So the Gesso coating will have a greens and blues. I mix up gesso with the colors and just start brushing it in no
particular pattern, very abstract more about creating a texture and under painting that will give the next layer of paint something to play off of.
I have a general idea of the finished piece in my head, the main subject the “Blimp” is very specific. The idea is a old fashioned yet scientific monster hunting machine.
The original drawing itself is small, so I scan it and re-size it in a larger print out. Then I position the print on the board, just so it’s easier to visualize the finished composition.
Everyone has a size they draw their best work. When I first started painting large canvases I would try to freehand the art onto the larger surface using the original sketch as reference, this was always frustrating. Best to just scan and enlarge the print, then get it onto the board by graphite transfer, not ready for that step yet.
Now with the cool base color of gesso dry, I’ll start to layout the sky. I want it to be orange and stormy, so again with out over thinking it I just start to brush in the colors with the ideas of forming the various clouds, and areas of light and shadow. At this point adding retarding medium to the paint helps for smooth blending. I always have a plastic container with a good amount of premixed retarding medium with the paints.
I use a criss-cross brush stroke to blend the colors.
This is the first finished phase, now it has to dry or the brush will just start lifting the previous paint layers. Next Clouds!