Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow and Underpaintings

So far this winter it seems like there's been significant enough snowfall to shovel once a week here in Newton.  It is currently snowing again, and I will be out shoveling in just an hour or two.  As I understand it, the snowfall this year has already surpassed the average amounts per year, and there are still two months to go.  Sounds like I might be complaining, but in all reality, I don't mind it.

Shoveling gets me out of the house (which doesn't happen very often being a freelancer, and all), and it's free exercise.  Plus, I've always liked winter and the virtual monochromatic landscape.  As far as I'm concerned, I'll take a really cold winter over an unbearably hot summer every time.  You can always put on another layer of clothes to keep you warm, but can only take so many items of clothing off to keep cool before they arrest you!

Aside from shoveling, I'll be doing some basic under paintings on a couple of pieces today.  My under paintings are an inconsistent part of my process, and something I'll likely continue to mess with.  I've posted digital under paintings I've done in the past.  They work out nicely, and I'll probably start doing them again soon.  Sometimes I do my under paintings in oils.  These also tend to work out fairly well, but the added drying time can be an issue.  So, the alternative is to do them in acrylic...which is what I'll be doing today.

Despite the fact that I used to work with acrylics a lot in my college years, I have a difficult time with them today.  They're just not as workable as oils and the acrylic paint can build up quickly, which can cause a rough surface that is really difficult to deal with.  Nevertheless, I still use them for my under paintings on occasion because I have a ton of acrylic paint that I'm trying to use up and also because they dry quickly.  Because of this, I work very fast, keeping paper towels close at all times to wipe into fields of color creating texture or highlights, and knock in a simple three value deal (dark, middle, and light).  I slap the paint down as quickly as I can, and try to keep the drawing visible where necessary.  The result is usually less defined than either my oil or digital under paintings tend to be.  Still, the most important thing is accomplished: the white space is killed.

Anyway, I'm going to quickly go deal with one of these pieces before it stops snowing.  With a little luck, I can get it done then take a break to shovel some snow.  Once done with that, I guess I'll be right back to under painting.  By the time I've finished working on the second piece, it'll likely be beer 'o clock.


  1. Why not some watercolor for your underpaintings? :)

    Have you found that one method or another lends itself to any particular subject matter? Like, does a digital background help out a metallic armor piece or acrylic for a textural landscape. Maybe just one for simple and another for complex?

    I'm playin with my first couple steps as well. I always feel I did x, y and z, only to completely obliterate x by the time I'm ready to paint.

    Maybe that's too esoteric. I'mma go shovel.

  2. Dude, excellent question. I'm going to answer this in a post.




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