Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nuts and Bolts

Since I decided to make a charge back into oils, I have read so many websites and bought some books who all seem to say the same thing: don't use cheap materials. And I do connect some problems I'm having with the cheapness of my canvas.

The canvas is the only thing I really tend to cheap out on. I will spend the money on good quality paints and brushes and mediums... and toss them onto a 69 cent canvas panel I picked up on clearance at Michael's. I have been trying to improve the canvases by coats of acrylic gesso but I suppose that will only improve the canvas to a point. I have a small pack of Ambersand gessoboards that is sitting in the shrink wrap that I can't wait to try sometime soon. I also desperately want to give linen a shot but the cost of the stuff is staggering and I doubt my illness will permit the level of strength or stamina to stretch and prime a canvas. Reading a blog entry about stretching linen, applying and sanding multiple coats of white lead exhausted me. I wonder if even buying one pre-made expensive linen canvas just to try it out is worth it at this stage of my painting ability.

Although, I am not really sure what to consider my level of ability. Sometimes I think of myself as an intermediate painter and other times as a beginner. I'm not really sure if classifying myself would even be helpful.

I am trying to return to some mechanical basics of painting. I am planning to create color charts ala Richard Schmid's Alla Prima book (which I have read up to chapter 5 so far and is arguably the most informative painting resource I have encountered thus far). I'm trying to do as he suggests and slow down. Yes, i want to get paint onto canvas but he's right in the fact that if you don't plan and you don't think and you rush, something is going to go terribly wrong and you're going to end up unhappy...

The cherry and pitcher painting is the particular case. At this point I have become quite fed up with the painting to the point where I think I need to stop fiddling with it for a good amount of time. Whenever I sit down in front if it, I feel exasperated and I haven't even started the painting yet! Time to walk away from it for a bit I think, step back and slow down because everything that I am fed up with in that painting has to do with things done in the initial steps of a painting: the placement, the composition and inaccuracy of my drawing. I'm sure this thing would not be giving me such hell now if I had taken the patience to do them well in the beginning instead of rushing in. Check the pool for water before you dive.

I remember when I was a child, I had something that people always say children tend to lack... patience. My mother would give up on a problem almost instantly and it was always Kelly to the rescue. If a necklace chain was a tangled mess, my mother would pull at one end and when it didn't magically unravel, throw her hands up and give the thing to me. I remember her continually saying "That's just too much work!" so many times that it almost became the mantra of my childhood. I have become far less and less patient as I have grown into an adult. I always thought it was usually the other way around! I tend to constantly think that I was born with only a certain pool of patience and that I've used it all :)

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