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Turn it up and turn it on

I knew today would be the day that I would (technically) finish the oil painting I’ve been working on. I say technically, because “all” I had to do was finish the background, a background that was to be hazy and soft with a mix of colours, the clients said. Ok, that’s easy enough to do. Technically. Until you start on it, and then realise that it isn’t. But I had expected that. Because although the man and woman in the painting were finished, I still needed the colours around them to be the colours that they were, and most of that was a dark french blue, because that made the flesh tones stand out more, and gave more form to them. But I didn’t necessarily want the whole of the background to be blue, because that would have seemed cold and not so appealing as other warmer colours. Some mixing was in order then, with the background merging from dark to light across the canvas, and from blues to reds to creams to pinks to oranges to whites to mauves to fawns to mint greens to blues again as well.

Onto my palette I squeezed out titanium white, cadmium red, french ultramarine blue, raw sienna, lemon yellow and burnt sienna, exactly the same colours that I had used to paint the couple in the picture, because that would bring unity to the picture in the harmonising colours. Then started to paint, where I felt I wanted specific colours, knowing that the others would flow into them. But……. they didn’t. Hmmmm……. keep going, its all texture to the paint on the canvas and will add depth of colour. Ten minutes later, I stood back, and looked again. No, that’s not fully right either, well it is in places, but not in others. Hit and miss…………… Hmmmm…… mug of hot sweet tea while I stand back and contemplate.

Ah! I know, now, what I need. And its not more paint – it’s


Loud music. Not the usual ones that “do it” for me - nah, it had to be the hard core version! Big Club Hits! Yeh! That’s it. And turn it up loud.

Ooooh yeh! That did it – like a bolt of inspiration pulsating through my brain and arm – the paint flowed on, the colours merged, the brush flew across the canvas, fast, faster still. And more again. Done, I stood back, breathing evenly but deeply as I realised how galvanised I’d been - and the proof was there before me – the colours worked, the mixing was subtle but well executed. Anyone looking at that picture would know that the artist painted the background with confident strokes.

And, it looks great.


It’s an old trick, but it works for me.



1 thought on “Turn it up and turn it on”

  1. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

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