Angry Tundra: see first posting March 2008

Monday, May 11, 2009

The secrets of the trade: painting techniques

Well, it's been some time since my last post, and my faithfull blog readers (is there a better word? Blogee? Blogower?) are probably wondering if I have given up. 
Dont dispair! I will not give in to the pressures of every day life, Google Earth Art will prevail! 
(excuse my sense of humour)
I've had a bit of a time out, focussing - among other things - on getting myself married a second time round. I'm working on a new series of two, maybe three paintings of 1,20 X 1,40 meters, again with deforestation as a prime subject. I expect the first one to be finished in two or three weeks from now. 
In the mean time I've decided to show you some of the techniques I use in my paintings. I don't pretend do do anything technically innovative. Check outAquil Copier if you're interested in innovative painting in conjunction with satellite art! 
When I started painting Van Gogh was my prime example. I painted in quick strokes of thick complementary colours. Because I started out with acrillic paints my paintings tended to have this plastic like sheen which I did'nt like much. I have been very lucky to paint (8 years now) with a group of painters more experienced than me. Some of them are art teachers and the last thing they want to do is teach, they're there to paint! But you can learn a lot from just watching. So I learned to use medium and use more transparent pigments. This results in more depth of colour and gives the 
painting a more lively feel. Most of my friends paint in oils. Oils are slower, it takes a lot longer to finish an oil painting. But I loved the look and feel of the paint, and once I tried oils I was hooked. In the mean time I gradually traded the van Gogh like (impasto) technique for one using many more or less transparent layers. In the detail above from "Angry Tundra"(see first post) you can see the use of very thin layers, both opaque (e.g. the napels yellow mixed with zink white) and transparent (e.g. the indian yellow and sapgreen) over darker patches of prussian blue. The snow patch is done in a thick white paint with a tiny amount of magenta mixed wet on the canvas with blues (both prussian and cobalt I think).  
My friends tell me I have had a characteristic brushstroke from the start. Despite all the changes in techniques over the years my work is (aparrently) still instantly recognisable as mine. It's like a signature; the first one you made when you were 8 or 10 years old is completely different from the one you make when you're 50 (or whatever), and yet often recognisable as coming from the same unique person. Just to give you an idea: here's a small landscape I made 14 years ago in the Provence. Can you see its the same artist? 
I would'nt paint like this now, but it's nothing to be ashamed of either, is it?

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