Sunday, June 01, 2008
Purple Panel Painters, Unite!
I was just browsing the Equine Artists' feed - this is kind of a group blog that collects blog posts from various members. I've been enjoying watching the progress on many of the Mural Mosaic panels on our Equine Art Guild forum, but it was fun to see the more public postings too. At the EAG some of us have jokingly formed the "Purple Panel Support Group" to help ourselves deal with the particular challenge of these purple panels! Seeing so many of them completed or nearing completion is putting the pressure on, though!
So, for some progress! I'm not going to explain my subject now - but I'll post pictures so you can see where I'm at. The EAGers know who this is, as I've shared over there, so no letting it leak! Not that it's a big deal, but I'll post my little blurb to go along with the panel once I'm done. If you can figure it out, let me know.
The first step was to transfer my drawing to the panel. I dug up old photos, and new photos, and played around a bit in Photoshop as well as my sketchbook to come up with what I wanted. The darkness of the panel meant using a white china marker for the drawing, which actually worked out quite well when I started adding paint. The solvent will dissolve the marker with some persuasion, but "stuck" enough to give me the guidelines I needed once I started working in the paint.
On the advice of a few EAGers I put a light coat of a 50/50 mixture of mineral spirits and linseed oil over the panel to help the paint flow. While it did allow me to cover the panel quickly, and with a nice looseness, it also increased the drying time of this layer significantly! I managed a rough tonal, then had to leave it. The paint on this layer is very thin, so I'll be doing a better job of covering the panel with the next one. I'm keeping my colours in line with the panel at this point - French Ultramarine Blue, Venetian Red and Unbleached Titanium, which, mixed together to the blue side, gave a nice bluish-purple. Maybe a little cooler than the orignal panel tone, but working for what I wanted for this underpainting. I've actually used these colours for an underpainting before, so I did have basis for my decision!
When that initial layer was finally dry, I was back at the easel with the same palette. Now I worked to cover the panel more fully, still keeping it monochromatic, and getting my detail more solid without really losing the looseness. So I'm at that stage now where I could very happily leave this as is - who needs full colour anyway? It's that fear of messing up a satisfactory underpainting!
Good or bad, this needed time to dry. As it turned out, I didn't have time to work on it this week, thanks to a small bout of horse stress. No more excuses now though! The panel is dry, and I have a day to paint. Add to that, there's a bit of a deadline on this, so no time to dwell on my insecurities! Boldly go! ;)