Thursday, April 16, 2009

Awakening






16"x16"
Acrylic on Canvas

SOLD

Spring is here. Can you tell that I am excited about it? R Garriott had a great question about how I paint. So I thought that I would share a little more with you. I know how much I enjoy seeing how other artists' work evolves.
I usually paint on canvas (cotton), with a ground applied. Most recently I have been starting with black gesso. But I have also been known to use red, purple and yellow as an initial ground colour as well.
I then use chalk pastel to sketch in the composition. I usually do a few thumbnail sketches on paper to make sure the composition works.
Next I jump in with my acrylic paints. I love love love Golden heavy body acrylics, and though I have a few other brands (Windsor Newton/Liquitex), I primarily use Golden. I find it is best if I am as fearless as possible when applying colours, because with acrylics, I can always mellow it out later. Plus, acrylics darken when they dry - a component that I really struggled with when I first started using them. I enjoy layering colours in an impasto sort of way. I am afraid that I am just too impatient to glaze (which is a shame because it really adds a glowing sort of element to your paintings). My other favourite way to paint is negative painting (ie. painting the space between two shapes, like the sky between tree branches etc). I often look for a composition which allows me to do this.
When I am done, and the paint is dry, I wipe off any remaining chalk pastel with a wet rag. I finish all of my paintings with a semi gloss varnish, the sheen gives a richness to the acrylic paint, and brings out the colour.
That's it in a nutshell. Above you will see three different stages of a painting I did yesterday. What's your process?

16 comments:

L.Holm said...

Excellent post and accompanying photos, Jennifer. Thanks so much! Fascinating to see how you build these luscious works.

Sheila said...

Eeee!!! It's like I've peeked in a magician's workshop and was able to discover a magical secret. I love your work and style and am now in more awe of your technique and rendering. Thank you so much for being so generous to show us your unique style from start to glorius finish!

Manon Doyle said...

Fantastic post!! I so admire your work so thanks for sharing your process!
I use Golden also! They have terrific products! One of my favorite products is gesso....yay! I just love the stuff!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Thanks, Jennifer for talking about your process so clearly. I think your "impatience" which prevents you from glazing might be what gives your paintings freshness (is that a word???)

Laurel Daniel said...

Wow! I am so glad that I came for a visit today!! Thanks for sharing your process - it's wonderful to see how others break things down. This piece is so, so beautiful.

Edward Burton said...

Very beautiful, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your process - very interesting!

Patrice said...

Your painting process is quite similar to my own - especially the "fearless" part!

I figure I need to do just what feels right before I run out of time! (lifetime, that is)

Love all the new pieces!

Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks Jennifer. I love the lively use of colour in your work as well as the simplicity of design (meant in a very positive way). It's always so helpful to see shots of the process. I love how you can see the presence of your ground peeking through the work.

L.Holm said...

Hi, Jennifer - I've got a passionate painting award for you on my blog....

Deb D. said...

Thank you so much for posting your method of working with acrylics. I am mainly a watercolorist, but your acrylics have inspired me to give them a try. Can you suggest a some colors to begin with? I have a few tubes hanging around from some collage and craft projects. Any help would be greatly appreciated. You are an inspiration!

r garriott said...

Thanks Jennifer! Very interesting; thank for sharing! The Golden Acrylics are good paints (the gesso, too, as Manon mentions); I used to use them, too (before sticking to oils).

jennifer woodburn said...

Deb - on your question about what colours to start with, I probably use ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cadmium red, quinacronome crimson, cad yellow medium, cad yellow light, titanium white, and burnt umber. I use lots of other colours at different times, but I usually come back to these ones again and again. I did start using craft paints when I first dabbled in acrylics a long time ago. They we fine to start, but I found them too runny with not enough punch (nor the archival quality). Good luck!

Deb D. said...

Thanks, Jennifer, for the color suggestions. I've been looking at paints and there is a bewildering array of colors out there! I think I'll stick with the Golden line and try to keep a fairly simple palette. Thanks again for sharing your process!

Dana Cooper Fine Art said...

Thanks for sharing your process, Jennifer. Your work has such a unique style that I love!

Gwen Bell said...

I was going back through your blog, re-admiring your work, and found this. How did I miss it?! Your process is really interesting and makes me want to give Acrylics another chance. Thanks for being so detailed.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jen - It's a good thing that you didn't follow through to become an architect. The world would have missed out on a wonderful painter - I love your work - the simplicity and the colours - just stunning.
Nice to have seen you at lunch at Heather's - hope to see you soon.
Anne