Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thoughts on painting

So I tried to use non-toxic paint thinners and such but it just didn't feel right to me. I'm back to using odorless thinner to thin my paints and clean my brushes. I keep the patio door open to ventilate the fumes . . . but I kind of like the smell of linseed oil. There's something comforting about it. It's almost like that smell puts me in the right place to paint. Hmm.
I've also been experimenting with Dorland's Wax medium! It gives the oil paints an almost chalky consistency . . . and it's not as glossy (which I was hoping). I find the colours have a more silent quality about them: glossy paints are loud and jump out at you and the matte colours are strong and subtle.
I've also tried my hand at using house paints! That's a lot of fun and I'm excited by the results. It's no wonder that the abstract expressionists (like Franz Kline) used these types of paint because they retain the brush strokes as they dry (unlike oils that sometimes drip off the canvas). So I'm finding using house paint and using big brushes useful in my exploration of the figure as container or contained by space. The paintings are taking on a gestural quality that I enjoy: lots of energy and movement. But you still get the sense that the space is being broken up . . . there is a division of space that's somewhat ambiguous as to what is the positive and what is the negative. Reminds me of a painting I did a few years ago that I sold to a co-worker who has since moved on.
Orchestrating Space, 18" by 24", oil on canvas, 2007
I'm having thoughts about adding a realistically rendered section, say the torso, to these paintings . . . but will it defeat the purpose . . . like saying yes and no at the same time? Hmm.

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