Monday, April 23, 2012

Books & Flowers

In an effort to loosen the hold of my "Depression-era" painting style, where I use the skimpiest amount of paint possible (and have thin colors and coverage as a result), my next effort is playing around with mimicking a Van Gogh painting of flowers in a vase. His paintings, of course, have gobs of paint and fantastic texture.

When I started this painting out, I could easily recreate the background color -- but there it was, thin again, flat. It took me another try to really go for it and use lots of paint. Teacher Dana Ellyn kindly helped me out with my inherent cheapness/conservation suggesting using gel medium to thicken things up a bit without using more paint, and getting busy with a palette knife.

Here's what I can tell you about painting with a palette knife: it's way harder than it looks. Brushes provide a much larger measure of control than I had ever realized. I do now understand why art stores sell twelves different sizes of palette knives though; angle and flexibility make a difference.

Once you have those big lumps of paint on there, unlike my usual thin, thin coats of paint, the paint stays wet much longer, hence the term wet-on-wet painting. This is a lot more like painting with oils, which is good in that it gives you time to blend colors together...and bad because it gives you time to turn everything into a brown lump if you're not paying careful. Ask me how I know.

No photos of my painting yet, because it's still in too too ugly in beginning mode. When I crabbily grumbled to a classmate that it was no Van Gogh (rainy day blues), she pointed out that, eh, big deal, and besides, I was less likely to cut off an ear. Good point.

Oleanders by Vincent Van Gogh
Have a gander at the Van Gogh. It remains one of my favorites. Books and flowers: crucial elements of any good day.

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