Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thursday Update

A busy few days. I began painting the landscape version of the portrait I've shown here but was unhappy with it, the inaccuracies in the likeness becoming increasingly obvious. I decided to redraw and repaint it. As the same image was used for two portraits this involved preparing two new surfaces and the time consuming process of transferring the drawing to the new panels.

That was completed yesterday. An email inbox clearout revealed one from the Bridport literary prize, and I decided to write a short story for it, the first I've probably written since school. "The Irrational Fear Of Irritible Bowel Syndrome" was a under 500 words but I enjoyed it and will probably write more.

Today I've decorated some frames and have also been investigating methods of transferring drawings to my new polyester canvas. It has a very plastic surface, and seems repellant to the Inktense pencils I use. It accepts oil paint well but the rough surface makes it hard to trace onto using pencils. I had to be innovative. I've tried using watercolour pencils, with or without prior acrylic gesso priming. Wax crayons I thought would be useful but again the results were at best "dotty". Caran D'ache Neolcolor II crayons didn't work either, although thses produced the most thin and delicate lines on the smooth wood panels I like to paint on. Their greasy character makes drawing with them easier too, so I aim to try them on a main picture one day.

On the canvas though they weren't much use. Today I've tried using oil paint, painting directly on the back of the tracing paper, then using an embossing scribe to "draw" it onto the canvas. I've tried this before and it tended to be messy when leaning on the paper, but this time it worked well. I'm going to try it with dry paint too, test the adhesion of these lines and then experiment with the best way to apply imprimaturae; either over these lines with a thin oil medium as normal, or under them with a thin acrylic wash which can produce better results on some surfaces.

The canvas seems to be very sturdy, and polyester with an acrylic coating is bound to be tougher than a natural fibre, as well as cheaper. Mastering the use of this material will be important as I move towards painting pictures that are too large for wood.

I'm not set to paint much this month, these two small portraits and to finish one from last year called The Annunciation. About twelve days work.

Tick tick. Happy new year of the Rabbit! Wouldn't it be nice to have a new year every month?


Kathy said...

Hoppy Year of the Rabbit, Mark! I like reading about your innovative approach to materials and spend almost no time doing it myself anymore. I'm too caught up in my w/c series. But, I keep your experiments filed away in the recesses of my memory for later retrieval. Perhaps I'll get to it before I'm too old to hold a brush! I like the title of your essay. Another one of your many talents....

-Don said...

It's fun to go through your processes of trying new things with you. I like that you are always exploring new territory and willing to share your findings. For your dilemma about drawing on the new canvas surface, have you tried conte' pencils? I find them useful for transferring my drawings to my 'under-schmeered' canvasses which have a tendency to be quite bumpy and ridgy because of all the layers of paint. Just a thought...