Sunday, August 5, 2012

Flatness and Form

Rose Jacket
14 x11
I'm a big fan of layers in an oil painting; they create a sense of richness and depth.  But I also appreciate the simplicity of a single, well-judged layer of paint in which the weave of the linen is visible, showing the viewer where that painting's journey began.  My favourite paintings, though, are the ones that combine both qualities: layering and single layers.

In "Rose Jacket" I left a lot of the initial underpainting visible as an interesting contrast to the thickly-layered paint in the woman's jacket and in the light background.  I like the way that the untouched single layer of darks on the right and in the skirt appear flat in comparison to the dimensional feeling of the rest of the figure.    Had I refined these areas with another layer or two, I think I would have sacrificed a lot of interest though I would have created more believable form.

Not every painting gets to keep this much underpainting, but I do try.  Some end up with a second layer everywhere because, as we all know, every painting has its own path.

Happy painting!

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