Thursday, October 19, 2006

Drying Time

Shadow on Road, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16

I enjoyed doing the underpaintings on the large panels. Physically it was more of a challenge- there was much rearranging, raising and lowering the easel, moving lights, etc. For the 48x60 panel, I had to stand on a stool to do the top section and on both of them I had to stand back from the piece often to see what I had done. I probably circled my studio a hundred times yesterday. Technically, just applying and then removing paint on such a large surface made my arm hurt. I tried to use my left hand for the busy work of applying paint, but still my right hand (I am right handed) had to do most of the work and my shoulder is sore today. Of course some of that is left over from preparing the panels and well as from moving the panel from room to room and from when I got trapped between a desk and a table and had to stand in an awkward position while trying not to drop the big panel until Doug could save me. Anyway, I was pleased to find that the end results looked good and that they both have a nice feel. Keeping the images very simple helped with this. As I get more comfortable working at this scale, I will do images with a bit more detail, like signs and that sort of thing. I did have to suppress my urge to "noodle" here, it seemed as if it were a good time to get good clean lines, when in fact I prefer kind of messy, soft lines. So I had to be a bit careful there. All in all, a very good experience and I feel confident about the underpaintings, at least. Generally, when I mess up a painting it's during the glazes.

Because of the size, I figured I needed to use paint with a longer "workability" time. Last spring I began having problems with the paint in the underpaintings not drying, which I discussed here. I switched to a different brand of paint which I have been using all summer and has worked out nicely. The underpaintings dry in a day or two and while that has been fabulous, the paint sets up more quickly and I have to work fast to finish the image. So for these panels I used the original paint and it will be at least three days before they dry. While they are drying, I will stay very busy finishing up the other paintings for the show, and I plan to start one more batch of paintings tomorrow, "just in case." Better to have too many than not enough and if the large panels don't work out (always a possibility that I must consider) I will be needing extra work to fill up those large walls.


Ed Maskevich said...

a wonderful old trick to use is setting up a mirror behind yourself. You can sit at your easel and just turn around and look at the mirror. It lets you see the painting as if viewed at a distance. This works especially well if your studio isn't large enough to step way back. There is also the added benefit of seeing the painting reflected as an opposite giving you a new and different perspective.

Tracy said...

Hi Ed, that's an interesting solution. It would be a challenge to set up a mirror but maybe I can figure out something. thanks!

Lesly said...

Hi Tracey ... you are managing all this so well. And I love this smaller painting 'Shadow on Road'.

Like Ed suggests I use a mirror all the time ... just couldn't work without it now. When I was in our last house I painted in the back porch so had to lug my paintings through the house to use the mirror. But now I have a tall narrow mirror on the wall in my studio area and its great.

Tracy said...

Hi Lesly, I am doing ok, mostly because things are winding down a bit, I am feeling pretty good about having enough work, whatever I do this week is extra, except for the large panels, and even if they don't turn out I have enough work to compensate.

Boy, gotta try that mirror thing.