I am working on a painting that I started a few weeks before the first lockdown began in March. I was so excited about the prospect of this new mode of painting back then, and couldn’t wait to experiment with this canvas. It’s now nearly eight months later and I’m no longer excited about the painting. I still think it could look good, but my intention behind the painting – the process that drives me to make work, has gone.

Nevertheless I am pushing through with this one. This glazing process is something that I still hope to have as a tool in my practice, and it feels strange to just drop a half finished painting. This is a problem that feels new!

The plan of action with the painting now is to bring light back into it. From my memory of the day I painted it, and photos and videos of the day, there was so much open space for cold late winter, early spring light to flood through. The painting on the other hand is dense and tangled, as if the abstracted woods are blotting out any light from above.

To add light into the painting, I want to make it look as if there is more space between the brushstrokes in the scene. If it seems as if there is litterally more distance between each suspended brushstroke, the painting will be appear flooded with more light and have more depth. I plan to achieve this by doing a number of things:

  • Adding light toned coloured glazes to areas of brushstrokes that I want to appear are being hit with light from above.
  • Add darker toned colours to parts of brushstrokes that would be in shadow, from other brushstrokes blocking the light or its distance from the (unknown) light source above.
  • Add washes of light toned coloured glaze to certain broader layers of the painting. The intention here is that it will look like there are parts of the scene in more light in the background. You get in real life sometimes, where ‘layers’ of the forest in the distance are getting more sun than your foreground.

These actions should let me give brushstrokes dimension, and give the whole painting more space and light. Let’s see how it goes…

Adding a light toned coloured glaze

I mixed a lemon yellow glaze with part Spectraflow and part turpentine. It is bright enough to be a light tone highlight, and the cool yellow was very prevalent on the sunny winter day this painting was started on.

This is what the painting looks like after I added the highlights glaze. It looks better already!
You can see from the video that I added the glaze to high points and bigger washes when I wanted a background layer to appear lit up by light.

Next I want to add a cool tone highlight to the painting.

I just did some research, and I think the problem with this painting is that the black and white underpainting in acrylics is too dark in tone. I shouldn’t rely on glazing to make it lighter, I don’t think…

I am unsure if adding white / off white glazes to the painting will have a positive effect. I guess I’ll just have to try. Meh.

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