Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Old Ways
I paint in both oil and acrylic, recently mostly in acrylic since I haven't saved up enough to put a first rate air exchange system in my new studio. I am still painting in oils though since I am taking a flesh eating, oops, make that flesh painting class at the New York Academy of Art. I decided to add to my repertoire and take some very traditional classes. I am also studying at the Educational Alliance Art School, in the "reminds me of graduate school" continuing in the class taught by the wonderful abstract painter, Cora Cohen.
At the Academy we use the old techniques. In Alyssa Monks class, we started by coating the canvas (which was supposed to be triple-oil primed linen) with a mixture of an earthy red and greenish earth and linseed oil. We then wiped, scrubbed or brushed off paint to reveal the figure defined by it's lights. It is a forgiving way to work since you can really move the paint around. We then mixed a palette using only dark red, cold black and white creating fifty tones of warm, cold and neutral to start. Now we are painting the flesh using very small brushes and laying in tiny areas next to each other to build out the figure. Luckily we have two more weeks to complete the figure completely covering the "Night of the Living Dead" underpainting.
This type of methodology is a hard challenge for me. I like to speed paint, throwing myself into the process and attacking the canvas. I love big canvas, big movements and at least a two inch brush. I typically think about my paintings for a long time before I start but then try to paint them as fast as I can so the gestures have a freshness even to myself. It follows that I love the work of Louise Fishman.
Below is a new painting done in the same week as the above. Seems silly, but I get a charge out of doing both. I love the process no matter what I'm producing. Of course, they do refer to an artist's life work as having a studio practice.