Monday, March 09, 2009

Daily Painting Practice Workshop - Trying New Things -part 2 - Goop - Palette Knife painting

Here we are at Part 2 of my preparation for my day long workshop tomorrow. Before I get started, I received an email from someone who asked: What was the box my set up was in and how was it lit? Well, here is the plan for the shadow box. I cut a piece of colored mat board about 16-18" tall and 40 " long and folded it in half. Then I used the left over pieces for the top and third side. You can see a lighter version on the floor at the bottom of the photo.

The light fixture is a very inexpensive flood light on a stand I purchased from a photography store. It has a 60 W fluorescent bulb.
Remember yesterday I said I would mix it up a bit? My plan is to do something completely different for the afternoon session. Most artists at some point need to get over two very bad habits: Always using a small brush and never using enough paint. The fear of using large brushes can only be overcome by one method... Get a large brush (we are going to use a 2" wide brush) and don't paint with anything else!

And as for those of you who have never experienced what it is like to really push paint around, may I introduce you to GOOP.
Here's how you get rid of the fear of not wanting to waste paint... You pile it on! Everyone has tubes of paint in a box somewhere that they never use. If not, go out and by some cheap tubes.

I found these two tubes in the bottom of my paint box. They are at least 30 -40 years old. Hand- me- downs from generations of people who didn't like the color. (The labels were flaking off and one tube could only be torn open to get the paint out).
This is what I mean by GOOP! I have mentioned in previous posts that I routinely scrape all of my old paint from my palette and mix it together into a pile. I use it for toning panels. But I have other ideas here.
Since most of my color came from the old blue and green paint tubes along with my palette scrapings the GOOP pile this time is a very dark cool green/gray. Take your goop pile and make a 4 stage value scale (4 piles). I used Naples Yellow for my light and mixed just a little goop in. Then I did the same thing for pile number two and added enough goop to make the value halve way between the goop value and the light value. To make the fourth pile, I added some black and made the dark value.
You can see my 2 " brush and the palette knife I will use for the demo.
Using the two inch brush, I painted the dark background over a pre-toned canvas.
Now for the fun part. Try to layer the paint on only using the four values you have made. You will find that you need to keep wiping off the palette knife and getting enough fresh paint loaded up after only 1 or 2 strokes. Don't be cheap with the paint... think of covering a chocolate cake with a rich dark chocolate frosting. Thicker is better in both cases!
This photo really shows what I am hoping the artists in the workshop get to see. Here you have the combination of a thin wash (the pre-toned canvas), a thicker brushed on back ground, and some really delicious frosting applied with the knife, all in one painting.
Of course I want them to go further. I layered the lights even thicker. I stuck a toothpick in and measured the thickness at 1/8". So far everything has been applied with the knife.
click on the painting to enlarge the image

Painted with Goop

Take your 2" brush and soften some of the edges and you are finished with the underpainting. If you let it dry and go back in with color, the painting will be a bold expression of the new fearless you.
Trying new ways of pushing paint is the best way to break out of old habits. Happy painting!


Dar Presto said...

Two very good exercises. Thank you for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

I've been a rabid admirer of your work for some time and now confess to being an addicted admirer after seeing these two wonderful demo siblings: GOOP & WIPEOFF.

Even as demos, your work has a life and a luster that shows how well thought out the subject matter is.

So very generous of you to put in the time, effort, humor and psychic capacities that you do in recognizing the universal paralysis and ( small brush, flimsy paint ) syndromes that we all seem to be afflicted with.

Thank you so much for dispelling old ( dumb ) habits.

Your paintings show your knowledge as well as your words.

Robin Weiss said...

Great demos Peter! Thanks!

René PleinAir said...

Hi Peter,

Good to see you going again, ... I thought you
where the guy who made an environment box but
it turns out that is was Larry Seiler.

I don't know if you ever seen his w.i.p. on that
box but if you haven't here is the link.

> Environment box <

Celeste Bergin said...

brilliant! I enjoyed this and I will try it on my own. Just excellent.

Leslie Saeta said...

It is nice to see your palette knife demo. I only paint with a palette knife (I never use a brush!). So glad to have found your blog!

Paul Coventry-Brown said...

I really related to the comment about 'Always using a small brush and never using enough paint' .... I'm still like that and can't shake it off (my small paint tubes last me years and i go through #1 fine brushes like wild fire ;-) so i enjoyed your experiment with the mound of paint and giant brush ;-)
Nice blog, nice paintings :-)