Friday, December 12, 2008

Oil on linen

I love to draw...but after awhile I get antsy and need to swing a brush, so a couple of days ago I prepared a small canvas and decided to start an oil study of the Game Supper. If all goes well I'll do this 3' x 6'; the study is 18" x 36".

My 'canvas' is actually Belgian linen. Tom (husband and fabulous artist, check his blog Dammi i colori) and I spend 3 weeks every summer preparing our linen for the year. We stretch the linen, size it with three coats of rabbit skin glue, and put on two coats of white lead with a palette knife; when we are ready to use a canvas we sand the surface lightly (wearing a mask!) and tone it with dry color brushed into another thin coat of glue.

I was happy to be painting again but things did not go well: I had trouble with the figure on the left and ended up wiping it out; the figures on the right are way too small. Kind of happy with the initial statement of the central figures though.

The truth is I jumped the gun. For a painting this complex I need to draw more. The drawings give me necessary information - does the figure's head tilt the head this way or that- but, just as importantly, the act of drawing gets the action of the of the figures and the rhythm of the painting into my mind and hands. It is like practicing a piece of music. Next time I pick up the oil study I want to have practiced enough to be free to move and flow and improvise and still be on the beat.

Back to the drawing board.


Clair said...

Elizabeth -
I love and covet the painting of your studio that is atop this post. If it weren't standing/hanging vertically and I was in the room with it, there would be drool all over it.

jeff f said...

Drool all over it?
That's funny, and not good for the painting.