Friday, January 08, 2010


Anatomy of a painting 3

I've worked out the details of the rocks and trees, and seaweed, and then I start thinking (not that I'm thinking, mind you, but rather making intuitive decisions without really thinking) about light and space and atmosphere, so I start laying in light - in the sky and on the water.

I like working all over, all at once, with a largeish brush. I think it was the painter Robert Henri who told his students to stick to the large masses for as long as possible, before you went in to do any detail work. I try to remember that - my instinct is to start with a large brush but then I find myself going smaller and smaller the nearer the painting gets to completion.

At the very end, I try to go back with a bigger brush and get rid of some of those fussy details I liked so much.

This is when I start feeling very happy, because I'm right in the middle of the painting and it feels great. There's just nothing like making something with your own hands, out of sticks of wood and canvas and paint. This is also when the image in my head, of the painting I wanted to make, starts to conflict a bit with the painting I am, in fact, actually making.

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