August 11, 2010

Secrets revealed

Last Saturday was the opening of the seventh summer exhibition at the Arta Gallery. My paintings and sculptures have been shown at all seven exhibitions. I consider that a bit of a success.

Colleagues and art lovers often ask me about some of the techniques I use in my work. I have to say, using one technique or the other depends on the objectives I set for a particular painting.

Here are some of the things I do when I’m trying to achieve clear, vibrant colours.

  1. I cover the canvas with several layers of Gesso, in different directions each time. (I don’t like it when a painting doesn’t have a “body”.)
  2. After that, I put a layer of Titanium White. (Making sure it’s not Zink White.)
  3. I put the first version of the colours, for which I mix paint with water. (This gives me an idea about the desired colour combination in the painting.)
  4. If I’m satisfied with my spontaneous combination of shades, I put on another layer of the same colours. (This time, I make the colours more intense.)
  5. If there are objects in the painting, at this point, I create their outlines with a thin brush. (The objects in my work are usually houses, plants, and animals. They need to blend into their environment.)
  6. At this point, I start putting on my splashes and smudges of colour. For this, I can use whatever is around – starting from paintbrushes, and ending with sponges. (This is kind of a playtime for the artist!)
  7. I cover the painting with a special mixture. (Don’t ask me what it is. I’m not yet ready to reveal my recipe :)
  8. I get ready to paint the top layer. (This can take quite a long time, despite the fact that acrylic paint dries very quickly. Humid weather is my worst enemy at this point.)
  9. I put the colours I’m using together, without mixing them, and place them on the appropriate spots. Then I go off to study French and bake a cake.
  10. I cover the painting again with the mixture. (Yes, the same one.)
  11. I work out the details of the objects in the painting.
  12. Now is the time to work on making sure all aspects of the painting are united and balanced. I might paint over something, or add something to the scene. I try to achieve depth, and work on. (This takes me completely out of my daily life. Hopefully, my husband or daughter would call to remind me that it’s time to eat.)
  13. I put the painting in front of me, and observe it carefully. (Usually, it’s not to my satisfaction yet.)
  14. I put the painting on the shelf. I try to stop analyzing it, but it keeps analyzing itself in my mind.
  15. I take the painting out again, and figure that maybe it’s not bad.
  16. I add a couple of tiny details.
  17. I cover it with the final layer of the mixture. (And I’m still not ready to tell you what it is :)
This multi-step process helps me carry out my idea, but it is also technically necessary for making sure my painting won’t crumble or change colour in a couple of years.

Naturally, I only use high-quality supplies from tried and true labels.

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