Sunday, March 8, 2009
A beautiful Sunday today. I finally got a rain free day to paint outside. The sky was semi dark and I was nervous about rain but I decided that I was going to set things up anyway, determined to start painting. It takes a considerable amount of time to move all my things outside and set up. I have a portable easel which stands nicely and I got to try out using a tin palette which is easy to clean but odd mixing colors with the palette knife. I copied a photo of Isabella from the computer for the subject of my painting and used an old canvas made of stretchers that I handmade myself out of spare wood. I felt no awkwardness about getting right into the work, since it has been so long since I have worked again in oils (almost a whole year). I used a very thin wash to map out the proportions of the face using light hues and then gradually building into darker and more saturated tones. I was racing against time as the light was rapidly moving across the patio leaving shadow in its wake. I spent the first session of this painting trying to define the locations of the facial features and shadows. The photo I was working from is quite colorless so there needs to be some invention of color or color intensity. At the end of 2 hours I ran out of daylight and so I took an old painting and brushed in a color for its background. Even when these new paintings are complete, it is necessary to wait months for the paint to dry in order to seal them. I wanted to take a picture of the painting to put in this blog but I changed my mind quickly, not wanting to give this work so much of my own attention. I even turn the painting towards the wall when it is drying so as to not think about it. I would rather approach the work with fresh eyes the next time I paint on it and also don't think it well to treat it as something precious which tends to happen when one isn't painting every day.