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Artistic Process: The Wedding Present

Part 2

To re-cap from my last post “So You Think You Want to Start a Painting?” – My cousin is getting married next week and for a wedding present I decided against a gravy boat and figured I would create a painting. I am using her and her fiancé’s favorite colors (deep fuchsia and black) as the color palette. Today’s post is a step-by-step walkthrough of my artistic process . Here I’ll share with you my thoughts as well as more technical information on how I created this painting. The materials I used are highlighted in fuchsia in honor of my cousin. Buckle your seatbelts…

I start with light collage and tone the canvas with Quinacridone Magenta & Quinacridone Burnt Orange. While the canvas is drying I prep my collage papers.

Before I lay down any paint the question I ask myself is “Where do I want to lead the eye?” I throw down some loose brush strokes with Titanium White in an S-shape composition. I play with the positioning of the collage papers then glue them in place with Matte Medium. Without the following glaze the white lines and paper look garish. With the glaze they recess into the background.

I hear suspicious noises coming from the horse’s stall. Peeking over the fence I see Rommel playing with his water bucket. Perfect timing to allow my canvas to “rest”. I go and change the horse’s water and apply scratches where necessary.

I mix a fair amount of Quin. Burnt Orange into my favorite black (Mars black) and follow my S-shape composition. I counter with more Titanium White and begin layering in the background colors again. This gives me the clean white pinstripes. I start to think about the next layers and what kind of depth I want to achieve. I know that if I jump into my gel or pouring mediums now I will need to retire this piece until another day to give it time to dry. Nope, not ready to call it a day yet…

I know that I’m still avoiding the “blackness” so I re-assert it back into the piece and add some black & gold origami paper. Better. I switch over the laundry, check on the animals, and have a snack. While munching on some chips I look at my piece and think of the various directions it could go from here. I debate leaving the background as is or lightening it. I decide I should play with the gold leaf before going further with the background, that way the gold will peek through. Maybe the gold leaf will tell me what to do…

Ha! So a good topic comes up during the gold leafing process: How does one “fix” a painting? I don’t know about everybody else but once in a while I mess up. The first step in this process is to stop looking up gravy boats. After an initial panic I take a breath and assess the situation. I didn’t like how my gold leaf dots turned out – I felt they were a little “static” and for some reason I was reminded of the 80’s. This just wouldn’t do so I ripped them off, and with them, the paint and collage paper beneath. Breathe. I’ll need to get that background color back in so I re-mix my Quin. Magenta, Quin. Burnt Orange and just a hint of Titanium White (I need that covering power). I re-apply the background color in full brush strokes over the dots. To make it look seamless I know I also need to cover some of the undamaged painting. This made the painting darker in these particular areas. Not to worry. Once this layer dried I went back in with some of my white to regain my pinstripes. I threw in a little more collage paper for good measure.

Needing to clear my head after the slight argument with my painting I do some horse chores. Nothing like a little stall mucking while you’re waiting for paint to dry. Manure dumped, horses fed, time to head back.

With the sun setting I’m about ready to call it a day. I heavily apply Extra Heavy Gloss Gel Gloss all over the piece with my palette knife. I want there to be some fun surface texture and by tomorrow this will be ready to begin the final steps.

Pouring Medium is something I don’t work with too often so I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into this piece. I have some pre-mixed pouring medium/color combo’s ready to go and drip them on the canvas. I do this before I head off to work and by the time I get home my medium has set.

A week passes and I think about the direction of the painting. I have a pretty good idea where it needs to go but it’s a dangerous road. Since “The Fearless Painter” is the title of my blog I decided to man-up. No turning back now! I layer in Titanium White with glazes of Yellow Ochre to create a visual “bang”. Phew! Now that THAT’S over with I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the final touches I add more of the Extra Heavy Gloss Gel and the Pouring Medium. Bringing those textures back to the fore-front is the icing on the cake.

This was an exciting exercise out of my color comfort zone and I learned how to make an impact using black and red as the predominant colors. Throughout the painting process I thought fondly of my cousin and her upcoming wedding. You know, marriage can be a challenging balance and both parties must learn how to integrate their lives together, just like 2 wild colors on a canvas. Congratulations Elayne and Jason!

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