Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Work in Progress of Studio Tea Set and Flowers

I have started a new painting and for the very first time ever I have consistently taken progress shots. I know there are a lot of blogs out there with images gradually taking shape but I couldn't see the point of doing it with my work. Until now.

Lots of people do comment on and ask me about my surfaces so I thought I would actually take special note myself of what I do and keep tangible evidence of each stage. I have loved doing this and have surprised myself seeing the number of layers I really use.

This is an image of the work so far. Nowhere near finished. This is my studio table and I have both roses and peonies in the vase.
Here is the canvas board on the easel with the first layers of paint. Now for my big secret... Even though I paint in oils, all my lead up work and background surface is acrylic. I have painted in acrylic since childhood and I feel it is the medium I really understand the best. It has taken a lot of trial and error to achieve the surfaces I want. It takes a lot of practice to get the manipulation of the washes and drips exactly right. Also control over the colour as it is easy to end up with a muddy mess.
As I am working usually with organic forms I may have a play around with some tree shapes like in this image, even though they will probably get covered over eventually. I can also be playful at this stage before things tighten up at the middle stages.
I have edited the number of these layer progress shots to 16 but there were many more. Sometimes I work wet into wet and at others it is important to let the layers dry. This is the beauty of acrylics in this hot climate. They are dry pretty fast.
Here are yet more layers and I have to control the angle of the drips very carefully as you can see here.
This is a close up of some of the drips happening and some of the underneath layers showing through. I love these when they are wet, but I will regain this effect with a glaze when the painting is 100% finished.
Yet more layers and controlled dripping.
Yellow on top of the blue. The thin washes themselves are clean colour. The subtle tertiary colours achieved are from the layering.
This is one of my favourite bits. I use these paper doilies for stenciling effects using thicker paint.
Yet more washes and a bit of splashing and flicking. The flicks look like little stars. An atmospheric effect with lots of distance is what I am aiming for in this painting. It will essentially be a sky with attitude. There will also be things floating off or blown by gusts of wind.
Even more bold colour goes on now. Still pretty thin paint.
The red is spread around a bit. Maybe sprayed with water from an atomiser.
White over the top and some actual brushmarks. Thick and thin areas.
After that has dried I indicate the drawing in white acrylic. It has taken me several days to get to this point and lots of sitting drinking cups of tea and just looking and thinking...
Now I get to work on the details of the leaves and flowers. By now I have switched to oils and there is no going back to the acrylics because of the "fat over lean" principle. You can put oil over acrylic but not vice versa. I am quietly pleased with the background and any changes I subsequently make to it will have to be in oils.
To be continued...


  1. I really enjoy seeing how other artists 'arrive' at their work, I find the process as interesting as the resolved image. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Wayne. Yes I enjoy it too when I read about the decision making process as well as just seeing the images.