Thursday, September 13, 2012
Using Washes in Oil Paint
Painting directly on a white canvas can be distracting. It also makes value judgement more difficult. So you can paint on a pre-coloured ground or you can use a wash or washes. The pre-coloured ground means you are stuck with the colour in your inventory and a dry surface. A wash can be done as you opening salvo for your painting. You can key the colour to your desire and it is a nice wet surface to paint into.
My most used approach is to use a wet mineral spirits plus pigment slop applied transparently.
Let 'er rip
This will drip and run if done on the slop side. You can add pigment to get the transparent wash darker and thicker. Here I am working in mineral violet plus alizarin crimson basically unmixed. I wanted to key to a similar colour family.
Stop the drip
You can see that the wash thinned out and got lighter. To proceed I reviewed the shape placement on my thumbnail sketch and the added more pigment in another layer - still wet - on the places where shapes were going to appear.
I have stopped adding mineral spirits. The big brush is still loaded with it. So I can go to layers and even change colours - still transparent. At his time I noted an area that I wanted white, for future considerations. Maybe glazing or dry brushing or translucent passages.
So I rubbed off the wash with a paper towel. I can sop up extra mineral spirits and or make some patterns. It is important to note that an oil primed surface is much more friendly to wipe outs since it is not absorbent.
Same Colour pool on the Palette
Now I change pigment towards blue and work with more pigment placing in the basic shapes. This has taken only a couple of minutes. It is great speed training for plein air, but I use it regularly in the studio. I also use turpentine for the wash process, but not in my studio. It dries very quickly and helps you cough.
At this stage I begin to paint with the mixtures the consistency of the paint from the tube. The big brush (#12 Flat Bristle) still has a bit of thinning capability.
After some opaque and translucent painting I added another wash in another colour at the top. I wanted to establish the colours and no real pattern. This is a great subordinating tool. The wash may decay some of the other painting. That is Ok at this stage.
Working from The Subject
From here I tend to work from the subject outwards subordinating on the way.