Three Waves, Two Types of Paper

TM8328 Brisk Morning 6x6 oil on paper

TM8328 Brisk Morning 6×6 oil on paper

nc web TM8330 Watching the Waves Come In #127 6x6 oil on  paper

TM8330 Watching the Waves Come In #127 6×6 oil on paper

TM8331 One Fine Summer Day 6x6 oil on paper

TM8331 One Fine Summer Day 6×6 oil on paper

Welcome to the shore, again!

Technical painting notes: The first two wave studies (both measuring 6×6″) were painted on heavy, rough watercolor paper, sized with a coat of shellac. You can see the texture of the paper influencing the brush strokes, almost demanding that the treatment be loose and more expressionistic. The bolder treatment and rough textures are also ideally suited to the more boisterous, almost stormy, wave action – you can see the storm coming  toward you in the second (Watching the Waves Come In #127), and experience the day after the storm in the first (Brisk Morning).

The third 6×6″ painting (One Fine Summer Day), painted on acrylic gesso-primed rag matboard, has a different feel. The smooth surface of the rag board adapts to a more fluid, less aggressive line. Even the crashing waves feel softer, and the slight horizontal texture left by the priming brush works well with the suggestion of sand in the foreground.

The support on which an oil painting is painted  influences the techniques used and the feel of the finished image. Rougher paper, or canvas, yields a heavier effect. The texture grabs the paint off the brush, which means one must load more paint on the brush to make a stroke, and it is more likely to leave drag marks across the surface. Smooth paper, or wooden panels, allow the brush to glide across the surface – there is an ease to the stroke and that sense of ease can be transmitted to the subject.  One of my goals in doing these small paintings is to experiment with the supports – rough vs. smooth, shellac vs. acrylic gesso priming – and to see how the different substrates will affect the mood of the finished subject. I also like to experiment with letting a palette knife do most of the work occasionally.

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