Part 2, exercise 2:4 – painting on a painted surface

The task is to prepare four sheets of A4 paper with washes in light and dark tones, then to paint a collection onto them emphasising tone rather than line.

I had run out of suitable collections, having none to start with but, staring absently at a drawer of paints in tubes, realised I had at least one. I took a photograph and worked from that.

These are the four paintings:

Wash: T. buff; paints; acrylic with smudged conte.
Background wash is Payne’s grey; paints are acrylic applied mostly with my finger.
This is a wash of burnt sienna with a layer of transparent primer on top to give texture and resistance. The forms are made in transparent wax and oil crayon with layers of green ink allowed to flow top to bottom and dabbed with an old flannel. Ideally, I’d have avoided the three green streaks.
This final painting is graphite on green wash, applied in layers and reduced with putty rubber and Derwent battery eraser.

Although as always the proportions are out of wack, I’m surprised by the differences here and what feel like minor successes with an unpromising task. The first seems to me to be a little more reliant on line for its shape and depth but it does feel like me, mine, a familiar outcome.

Number Two is more abstract, more blended, and more impressionistic to my eye. I actually like finger painting, possibly because I have more control over what the business end of the ‘implement’ is doing.

The third was the first on a different day and I had Bangra and Asian textiles in my head which probably informed the wax and oil crayons along with the green ink poured over the burnt sienna wash. Again these are verging on the abstract while still, I believe, identifiable as tubes of paint, and I like what happened when I drew off surplus ink with the flannel.

The fourth painting was an attempt to bring graphite into the exercise as contrast to the bright colours of the previous paintings. I started with the premise of reduction so that filling the shapes with graphite using a graphite stick was the first requirement. I rather liked then pulling the shapes out of that by revealing the lighter areas first with a putty rubber which is a blunt tool on something this size, then the battery eraser which is much more precise although inclined to run off across the paper if you don’t get a good grip.

I have to choose one for the featured image slot and I’m going for the finger painted piece because it has drama and also feels satisfyingly solid.

2 thoughts on “Part 2, exercise 2:4 – painting on a painted surface

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