Monday, June 02, 2008

Paint By Number

I think all artists probably have a list of silly things people have said to them at shows. Every now and then a thread will pop up on the EAG forum. One year down at the Royal I had an underpainting with me and had just started in on the colour, and some unimaginative person made the "paint by numbers" comment. I likely held out my brushes and said, "Oh good, could you finish it for me?

The funny thing is, I do seem to always joke about adding colour after the underpainting as just that - painting by numbers. It's not quite that simple, of course, but a lot of the work is done at this point because I've mapped out the tonal relationships.

I know I said I had more work to do on the underpainting of Mike Fox, but for some reason I felt the need to start the colour tonight. Could be that the Plate is now less than three weeks away, and I did say I wanted to have this done by then. I just started working on the background, blocking in some of the different greens. The photo doesn't show the subtle variation in the greens - it kind of looks like a greeny-black mass in the picture!

Because I had these greens on my palette, I used some of that paint on my painting of Eccentric once I was content I'd done as much as I wanted to do on Mike Fox. This is the painting I started as a demo at my workshop a few weeks ago. A week or so ago I blocked in some background colour, so tonight I spent a bit of time adding to that, working on the hedge and the distant trees. Still a long way to go on this one! Working on two different paintings in one night - one with an underpainting, one without - really reinforces how much easier it is to work with an underpainting. Sometimes it's just best to keep things simple and work on one thing at a time. The underpainting method lets me do that - work out those tones before tackling the colour. Trying to work on both at the same time is sometimes a bit of a challenge.

My panel is almost dry - these panels sure suck the oil out of the paint quickly. I can't believe how different it looks as a result, from my posted photo last night. Right now, I admit, I'm not liking the effect too much!

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