Saturday, September 24, 2016

Painting on gesso board

Peaches 8 x 10

Detail
Because I don't have an expensive enough painting surface habit already (you can't beat ordering oil primed linen from the States with our weak Canadian dollar!), I bought a couple of small gesso boards the other day at $10 for a single 8 x 10".   But a painter has to experiment or get seriously bored with herself, so I happily paid.

I think I like them, with reservations.  The surface is very fast and smooth, so there's no linen texture to break up the mark.  That means any texture has to be carefully created, and, because it's so vulnerable to being knocked flat by the next mark: preserved.  I'm not sure this support is ideal for creating the texture and layers that I enjoy - at least not quickly.

The detail view of this little still life shows that texture and depth is possible, though.  I had a lot of fun manipulating the paint on the support, freely pushing and scraping it around without any friction to slow me down.  The background on the right of the peach was painted and then pulled back to near white with a silicone scraper, leaving a soft, thin application of colour where once the surface had looked heavy and unpleasant.

One thing I did enjoy was that it wasn't as hard a surface as a primed mdf or aluminum panel.  While I can't say exactly what is different - both are hard and smooth - I found the marks a bit more elegant and less one dimensional on gesso board.  But that could just be because I really spent time pushing them to make them interesting.

I'll do another little one on the second board, bearing in mind what this one taught me, and let you know how it goes.  With luck, I won't love it.  The price for larger gesso boards is laughable.

Happy painting!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

12 week class and 2 figure workshops


The next 2 months are busy ones for me as I start a new session of 12 week classes at Swinton's Art Studios in Calgary, as well as head off to teach a couple of figure workshops in BC and Alberta. 

After the free form, structureless existence of summer, it will be a change - but in a good way. I'm always more productive in my studio when I'm also doing some teaching. It sharpens my mind and helps me focus on what I want to accomplish when I work on those same things with my students.

The class: 

There is an unexpected opening in my 12 week class; life intruded on one of the registrants and she had to drop out.  We meet on Thursday afternoons beginning next week and will be focusing on plein air and figure as well as some independent subject days.  Contact me for specifics if you're interested. 

The workshops:

I'm teaching my popular "Painting the figure from Life" workshop in 2 provinces in September and October, and I'm excited at the opportunity!  This is always a stimulating experience for both the painters and me as we work on capturing the grace, proportion, and colours of the model in front of us.  

Both workshops will focus on alla prima paint application with an emphasis on layering and dynamic mark making.   We've had a cancellation in the Kelowna workshop, and the Cochrane workshop will be open for registration this week.  

If you're intrigued by the thought of an intensive and comprehensive 2 days of life painting, I hope you'll join me!  

For information and registration, please follow the links:

September 17 and 18 
Kelowna, BC


October 15 and 16
Cochrane, AB

Happy painting!