Comparing recent experiments

White tape experiment done en plein air in oils with acrylic an gesso primed paper. Painted on cloudy day in afternoon. White tape applied before the canvas was primed with the green gesso + acrylic.

Underpainting and colours
Colours are less vibrant in white experiment than on the dark grey background on canvas below. I used a lot of pale washy blue on top of the green underpainting which I think is the reason the colours don’t have as much vibrancy and depth as painting directly onto the dark grey.
The darker the underpainting the more mood and atmosphere the painting has. The question is is that appropriate for what I’m trying to capture?

White Tape
The white tape doesn’t work well. Showing the white paper underneath reminds the viewer of the flatness of the painting and removes any illusion of depth – I won’t be doing this again!

Dark tape painting – most fragmented brushstrokes, a fair amount of horizontal brushstrokes.
White tape painting – less fragmented brushstrokes and more blocks of colour, fair amount of horizontal brushstrokes.
White charcoal painting – Least fragmented brushstrokes with mostly vertical brushstrokes.

Vertical brushstrokes allude to height and space of painting so lots of vertical brushstrokes works well. Horizontal brushstrokes disrupt the flow of a painting. Horizontal marks are necessary in spots but too much and the painting is confused and flattened. On a larger canvas I can imagine you get away with more horizontal brushstrokes because the same number would fill less of the space.

Handling of oil versus acrylic paint 
Acrylic paint doesn’t travel as far across the canvas, and is less slippy; breaking up at the end of a brushstroke.
Acrylic paint also has far less radiance and opaque colour.

Oil paint working wet-on-wet works surprisingly well. It limits the amount of strokes I take on any given area so I don’t mush the colours together too much. But it gives the painting a new and interesting dynamic, and the colour pay off is so much better. Plus a blob of oil paint with Liquin goes a lot further than the same blob of acrylic paint and medium yey.

In the white tape experiment there are some bits of dirt and scratches on the surface that were unintended, but they don’t ruin the painting. Since all my paintings are done outside, it seems fitting that sometimes there is evidence of that process on the surface of the canvas.

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