09 August 2020

Oilstick painting no. 4

Five months of isolation later...

Some things that have changed: I miss teaching, and I sew masks for us to wear.

Some things that may never change: I work in my studio, and at times it's a bit difficult to maintain focus.

I've very recently begun exploring the use of oilsticks on canvas, along with working en plein air to create abstract paintings whose colour is informed by the outdoor surroundings.  Sometimes that means a little road trip into the country, and sometimes it means painting in my backyard.

Sometimes I start out thinking, "I will photograph the process" but you can see what happens:

oilstick painting on canvas

"oh right, I was going to snap a pic of the drawing before laying in the first colour"

oilstick painting on canvas

"oh right, I was going to snap a pic before blending the colour"

oilstick painting on canvas

... two hours later: 
"oh right, I was going to photograph the process, uh, a bit late now"

Finished painting

... and 45 minutes after that:
"oh well, one final photograph and that will have to do."

It occurred to me today that this is quite interesting: all along I've thought of the beginning and the end of a painting as happening quite fast, with a loooooong middle bit in between.

In this instance, at least, that may not have been the case.  

It seems that in the beginning things were moving slowly enough that I remembered to snap a pic.  Same situation near the end.  

But that middle bit!  Perhaps things were moving faster than I thought, my brain could not keep up with my body (well nothing new about that) and so, no pics.

Ah, but this is a one-shot painting which took about 3 hours to create...  

And there you have the beauty of oilsticks: with them one can create layered paintings without having to wait for the layers to dry.    

With a light hand, new colour can sit on top of a fresh layer.  With a bit of pressure it will blend.  With a brush barely wetted with walnut oil, the blending is very smooth, transparent effects can be acheived, and the surface texture is altered.  By moving the brush in various directions, the reflection of light off the surface can be directed.  With the handle end of the brush, scratched patterns can be created.  With a tortillon, details can be heightened.  And the layers can be built up quite thickly, so that the textures and patterns stand out and catch light.

All this, and yet the colours remain workable for many hours, even days.

This feels like new territory to me and I'm loving it.

Thank you as always for your interest, dear Reader, despite some long gaps in my postings lately.