Working methods

January 12, 2012

One of the ladies from decoartuk asked me about my working methods, here is a reply:

Thanks for asking, none of my working methods are secret. Short answer, brushes, no palette knives.
Long answer: the latest painting is done like this (on canvas board):
  1. I coat the whole board very quickly with various acrylic colours thinned out with matte medium so they go on transparent.
  2. Working fast, I scratch in a trial layout (with a wooden saté stick-  like a long toothpick) of the bottles, then to not get too attached to it and to provide some scratchy background I turn the canvas board 90 degrees and scratch in another design perpendicular to the first one.
  3. Then I start wiping teh paint out of the areas that will be highights with tissue paper or a rag. Sometimes I use a damp brush. The acrylic is partly dry by now so it is interesting which parts come away, creating weird highlights and unexpected textures.
  4. At this point I usually start working in very thin layers of oil paints.  But with the latest painting I added a bit of opaque white acrylic and colour and started putting on glazes because it doesn’t take long to dry and I can keep that crispness I like from the underpainting.

By the way, you’d mentioned that one thing holding you back from trying oils was the drying time. I thought about that as well, but once you start to work with them, you realize that it isn’t about putting on one layer and then waiting a couple of months for it to dry before you can paint further 🙂 . Rather you keep working into areas and building them up. And the way I am working, with thin layers (using Zest lemon oil medium to thin with) I can paint over things in a day or two.

Check out this video of Liam who visits here once in awhile. You can see how far you can come in a couple of sittings.