The erotic oil painting that I’m currently working on is coming along nicely. I know that I am the sort of painter that “carves” a painting like a sculputreÂ – in that I rough-hew it into a rough guide of colour and shape, then slowly carve more and more fine details into it, to create the finished painting. I find it works well that way, as I have a basic guide for the tones – getting the medium tones on first, so that I can build up the darks and then the lights to create the form. I also need to lay on blocks of colour, then the fine details of face and hands. As well as the tones for the skin. And skin is never just a plain “flesh” colour – its a subtle mix of yellows, pinks, blues, whites, purples and siennas, all of which need to be carefully mixed and thought about and built up around the framework of the body. Or bodies, in this instance. Which is why it takes a lot of time to paint it. Not helped by the fact that if bits aren’t dry then you can find that you’ve stuck a stray finger on a bit that was nearly dry. But that’s why artists use a mahl stick.Â Â A mahl stick is a thin wooden pole about three feet in lengthÂ with a ball-shaped pad at one end, used as an aid in painting, particularly inÂ oil painting . It’sÂ useful when painting detail or when painting in a large area where the paint is still wet and you want to avoid touching the surface accidentally. It’s used by resting theÂ ball-end of the mahl stick on something that’s notÂ wet canvas, likeÂ the easel orÂ wall, or on a spot of the painting that’s dry. Hold the other end up with your non-painting hand and steady your arm holding the brush on the stick while you paint. That’s the trick anyway, and takes a bit of practice. But it stops the smudging.
I have found that there is something else that helps me immensely with my painting.
I was listening this morning to the radio whilst I painted, to the chatter of the dj, the choice of music, followed by a current affairs programme, shortly followed by the thought that I was painting far slower than I know I can! Nah, this won’t do. I need the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Bad Company, Deep Purple, T. Rex and Slade! That’ll do it! And it did! 🙂 Far faster and more assured painting! Turn up the volume, and it works even better!
The picture is coming on nicely……
And other news of the week is thatÂ I had my second art class this week, only three of them there, but I know its holiday season, and the numbers will rise after the August vacationing month. I am finding that it’s interesting for me to find how easily I do some things, but need to explain it in far more detailed verbalised words to get my point across to the people in the class……
……We were doing a bluebell wood in watercolour this week – that awkward and complex way of achieving the look of swathes of bluebells in a woodland setting. I did the action of painting automatically, but noticed that one of the ladies struggled to get the same action in her painting. I looked over her shoulder and could immediately see why. She had painted the bluebells vertically. I explained thatÂ the way I paint them is “…..well, you need to paint them vertically, whilst moving the brush horizontally as you travel diagonally across the paper” – and although it sounds weird, that’s actually how you do it!