October News

Spring is now well and truly upon us, but the two paintings that were on easels and under construction in the studio a month ago are still there! 101 competing priorities have slowed things down recently but steady progress is still being made. The two pieces are a potrtrait and a larger concept piece. It’s been useful to attack them using two different approaches to see how they compare.

The concept piece has been primed with a mid-tone ground of Raw Sienna, which is an approach that was common amongst Old Masters paintings. It allows a pleasing golden glow to emanate through the top layers of paint and unify the whole piece. By contrast, the portrait has been primed completely in black, which is a less common approach but one that is still visible sometimes in Old Masters works. For example if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse at the sides or back of an unframed Caravaggio you can sometimes see the pitch-black priming. The fun thing about starting with a black canvas is it gives you total control over the light – nothing is visible unless you deliberately allow it. It means that the painting is all about the bright highlights and where you choose to draw the eye of the viewer.

And with Spring here it’s a good reason to get back into the studio more often, turn up the music and crack on while the sun streams in through the open windows.


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