September 29, 2009

Working on Red Cone, ugh

I had a difficult day in the studio today. I've been chugging along with this painting, and thought that today I'd be able to finish the broad lower part of the cone. My idea was to use filberts (flat-shaped brushes rounded on top) and using a dry brush, build up layers of color, shifting from one tone to another with an actively moving mark. But it looked lousy, without grace. I tried again and again, without being satisfied. To make matters worse, I was lifting small areas of paint, leaving dark spots (egg tempera painters will recognize this problem, which comes from a too wet application of paint). oy. At times like this I wish I was still using cross hatching, which is much more reliable; its rigor makes the work easier.

Then I took out some smaller round brushes, and slowing down, worked on a small area. By the end of the day, I realized that even though this part of the painting is a large area, I still had to approach it in a refined steady way. The many layers of paint I've already applied will add to the richness of the final layer, so nothing is wasted; now I see my way clear to how I will finish this painting.

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