A Productive Day in the Studio

Since starting off the New Year with commencing a Studio Sabbatical, I have found it a bit more challenging to get into the studio as often as I intend. With that, I spent the entire day today in the studio, and once I was in there, I knew that it was where I belonged. When I do clear the time to dedicate to being in the studio from sunrise to sundown, I am tired but invigorated from the experience.

I have been working on a series of small studies in working out a particular painting technique that I last used several years ago before I make the final painting for a commission inspired by “Autumn Rain,” an oil painting with the feel of looking out a rainy window in October. 

 In the first study, the painting was created entirely using a palette knife to add thick daubs of paint, then using a palette knife with stand oil to smear the colors together down the length of the painting. After that point, gravity takes over and the very viscous stand oil continues to drip slowly down the canvas. In the first study, I found that the paint daubs weren’t grounded well enough in the canvas, so the stand oil just continued to pull down the paint over time, exposing the substrate, and marblizing the paint at the bottom. 

In the second study, I decided that the paint needed to be more solidly grounded into the canvas, so instead of applying the paint daubs with a palette knife, I used a round brush, rubbing in thick paint on the canvas, followed by smearing the painting with stand oil on a palette knife. I was pleased with the outcome of this study, until I came back the next day to find that most of the stand oil had continued to drop downward, but did not hold the color of the paint, leaving a sheer gloss over the uncovered paint daubs. My evaluation after these first two studies is that I used too much stand oil, and that I should instead use more brushwork in lieu of the palette knife. 

  I was finally pleased with the outcome of trying a third technique. Using a thin round brush, I applied the vibrant paint colors of autumn as though I was painting the foliage just outside my window, blending the colors and layering each color. Then rather than using a palette knife to apply the stand oil, using a fan brush I lightly applied the stand oil to the foliage, using a lot less oil than the previous two studies. I guess the third time’s the charm! 

Now after working on these 8×10 studies, it’s time to get to painting the 18×24 master painting!