Tuesday, 06 February 2018 12:30

Experiments in Monochrome

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A while back I did this one-colour painting of my model, Emma.  It's really an exercise in careful brushwork, but it was quite a lot of fun to do.

First, I gessoed a board (gesso is a primer) and sanded it pretty smooth.  Then I gave it a coat of titanium white to make it slippery.  You could also use a lead based ground,  but I don't have any and once the titanium white dried, it was nicely slippery.  I just used one colour - raw umber, straight out of the tube.  I had a bunch of clean brushes ready, some Q-tips, rags and plenty of time.  This is a project that wants to get done in a day; it's best while the paint is still wet and can be moved around.  I hardly used any odorless mineral spirits - it loosens the paint too much and things start to get out of control, so I kept the paint rather dry.  I had an old tiny brush that got too decreped to use, so I chopped it off nearly at the base and now it's a handy littler scrubber.  It's just a stump, but it's good for pushing paint around.  I sometimes dip it in mineral spirits, wipe it, and use it to lift wet paint off an area...it's not quite an eraser, but works pretty well.

I used a variety of brushes, but kept them all pretty dry.  If they were damp with mineral spirits, they lifted off paint easier than they put it down, so I had to be careful. It was enjoyable because I only had to worry about values, just the darks and lights.  With no colour to worry about, I could focus on values and details.  I couldn't leave it alone!  Getting into that zone where you're sorta obsessed is wonderful...time just goes away!


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