TECHNIQUES | CORE OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
The creative process is far advanced by the time the brush wets the canvas. The pulse of the painting is set. The flow is in motion. The tone and the temper are sounded….. It only remains to meld technique with thought.
Technique is an ongoing, ever changing process of combining mediums with timing and movement of the body to achieve exciting and sensitive effects. The best pieces at the same time elude and convince the viewer.
I limit my medium (the materials used on the painting surface) to oil paints or oil pastels. Due to the humid climate here in Belize I never use linseed oil as it encourages mildew. I use only turpentine to mix and thin the oils and although I have painted on Ampersand board, I prefer a fine grade of cotton canvas.
Canvases are painstakingly prepared to achieve a paper like surface. I use my fingers to do this rather than using a brush. The medium in this case is Grumbacher MG quick drying white underpaint. This first step can take days. I have tried to cut down on the time spent or skip it entirely but I am never as confident in my relationship with the paint when working on another ground.
Some paintings or portions of paintings are done using classic watercolor techniques. On detailed pieces, I start usually somewhere near the middle of the painting and work my way to the outer edges, finishing small bits as I go in a “paint by number” style. On some paintings I use the Grumbacher Quick dry white underpainting medium to build up areas to perhaps 1/2 inch thick, allowing the paint to dry for weeks before rubbing these areas with paint straight from the tube or making several washes of different colors and throwing the paint all over the canvas causing different colors to run every which way. To achieve the fine details of the faces, I use a very soft brush and a delicate hand. The success of this technique depends partly on the texture of the surface upon which I am painting. Another technique is to scribble on the canvas with oil pastels, mix a thick wash of paint, throw it on, let it set awhile and blot some of it up with a crumpled paper towel.
Being a mother, a wife, a hotel operator, a procrastinator and a poor manager of my time I have never really been able to start a piece of art and work straight through until it is finished thus, many of my techniques have developed around my lifestyle. They have evolved from the tendency to have to work in small blocks of time. Certainly that is how the “paint by number” method came about. I’m always trying something new and sometimes I make major mistakes. If I do, I never paint over something. I scrub it out.