Uncomfortable or unnatural... does it matter?
For a few days in a row, I have been trying this new model of painting: do a detailed but monochrome underpainting, pre-mix the colors, apply colors not in layers, but adjacent to each other (with only minimal mixing when two adjacent pieces come together).
Boy, is it hard for me. I WANT TO PUT ON LAYERS! I WANT TO MIX COLORS! Is that so wrong?
Is it that I want to put on layers and mix colors because that’s what I’m used to and so this new approach (which seems to create beautiful, painterly paintings when I see other people do it!) is out of my comfort zone? Or have a I gravitated towards a process of using layers and mixing on the canvas because that’s more about the way I think of making pictures? Perhaps how I even approach life: get started with what you’ve got and adjust as you go. Can I work with my habitual approach or will it just get in the way?
I don’t think I want to reduce the world around me to shapes and blocks of color, yet that is what I think it would take to be successful at laying down correct color one location at a time. How far do I push myself with this other approach when it feels like, for me, it is yielding blobby, messy shmears?
Today I am compromising a bit: experimenting with a hybridized approach: do a monotone sketch with OMS-thinned paint. Fill in canvas with darker-than-local colors (also thinned with OMS). Take time to pre-mix mass tones and maybe a highlight or lowlight color, coincidentally letting the canvas dry. Begin painting with pre-mixed colors (thinned today with galkyd light), using higher and lower values to bring out shapes and texture. WALK AWAY as soon as the canvas is basically filled in again with this new layer, giving time/visual space before going back in for detail of reflections, etc.
I’m in the walk away stage right now — went out for a jog, am going to heat up some lunch and then return. We’ll see how it goes… (below, how it went:
Blossoms, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″