Friday, October 02, 2009

Lessons

Artists are constant learners, as are all craftsmen for each new object presents new challenges. A painting isn't like a chair, built the same way each time, it's a mix of engineering, communication, love making, skill and imagination. I feel that my paintings have dipped a little in quality this year after a good start, but now I feel back in the swing of things.

Examples of lessons I've learned since last year.

1. The Albion picture last year taught me that complex scenes need proper staging. I learned that for a complex painting, a detailed study saved time and was less work than painting the final picture and trying to correct it.
2. The Nine Ladies taught me that phthalo green in a glaze could look near black when toned down and was sufficiently opaque for details when liquified.
3. Perfection and Necroamoria taught me that acrylic resin varnish cannot be applied over gilding until the size is totally dry, and that wet sanding an acrylic gesso surface with alcohol creates a smooth slick surface. I also learned that a study should be repainted from the start if it is not an accurate representation of the final work, and that final varnishing should be done with absolute care and that it cannot be removed in part.
4. The Lightning Of Creation taught me that a painting that is considered "finished" can still be revisited and improved. I also learned about the application of gold pigment as glitter.
5. The Death By Explosion Of Moons And Keyholes taught me a lot about plaster of paris and that gold and jewels can improve a painting. This painting is recently complete and was developed for the Sue Ryder Art Liberating Lives exhibition. I will submit it soon.
6. Money Just Running Out taught me that abstraction can sometimes look better than reality, and that when glazing, flat synthetic brushes can be more effective transmitters of flair and panache than round sables.

I'll stop here because each painting has taught me something. The underpainting to The Apocalypse Of Finance is now complete, it is the last major work I will start this year.

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