Been trying something a little different lately, where I’ve been trying to let more of the white gesso priming show through in my paintings. It feels a little naughty-and Im kind of loving it!
I’ve always been a wet-in-wet thick highlights guy. but I’m now realizing I’ve been under-using a pretty powerful tool in the toolbox: not painting stuff!
Tried to get an over exposed look with this self portrait, which led me to focus mostly on shadow shapes and leave it mostly unpainted in the brightest areas.
I wasn’t sure how it was gonna work so I did a test portrait before trying it out on the big panel. Once I had a sense that it should be okay, I tackled the portrait in the larger painting. I’m usually too lazy to do a test piece like that but this was such a departure I wanted to make sure I wasn’t charging off a cliff.
Now that it’s all blocked in, I’ve begun correcting and detailing areas out a bit more. Trying to be a bit more abstract and expressive with my mark making instead of rendering too much like I tend to do. Still lots to do with it, but I feel like it’s a clear enough start that I can develop more.
Started this other painting the other day too. We’ve got lots of rabbits in our yard and occasionally one of them will fall down into one of the window wells around the house. We’d been lucky with rescuing them but I didn’t get to this one in time sadly. Figured Id pay tribute to his memory by painting him, implementing a similar dry brushing approach leaving much of the gesso beneath exposed as highlights. Also worked very transparently on the surrounding background in order to take advantage of that underpainting, same as how I usually do the under paintings for my foliage paintings. You can get such cool transitions working transparently on a white ground like this. Rest in power, little guy.
Next steps on this one will be to glaze some Shadows here and there to push the depth a bit more, and also build some areas up opaquely as well. Due to the fact that there are areas with no paint, I feel like I should balance it out with some really thick impasto passages as well.
Love oil paints so much. Crazy how you can do it for 20 something years and still find new ways to approach it.