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I’ve got a Problem!!

Last week I posted the drawing of the sunset painting on a black canvas. I hope each of you were able to see this on facebook. I wanted to talk a little more about the process in completing this work. I always begin my paintings with a drawing. However before I begin the drawing I must get the hardboard or canvas ready to be painted. Many artists are comfortable painting directly on a surface without adding extra layers of gesso. However for me, I like a very smooth canvas. I find that this allows better control of fine detail. So this requires several coats of gesso with sanding after each coat.

When this is completed I then decide on the base coat for the background of the painting. Even though the painting will be completed in oils, I usually paint the underpainting in acrylic. In most of my paintings the background is a medium gray. This makes going from dark to light easier for me. I do this because acrylic paint dries quickly and I can continue on with the painting. If I use a hair dryer it dries even more rapidly, within just a few minutes I’m ready to begin my drawing.

However with this sunset painting I began with a black canvas. The silhouette off the trees seemed to make this the right decision. So I began painting the sunset leaving the area with the trees painted only as the underpainting, at least for a while. However when I started to apply the oil paint in yellow for the sunset it proved to be too transparent to cover the dark canvas. I knew immediately that I had problem. What should I do now? The canvas is black and the drawing is completed. Always while painting there are problems or decisions that must be solved throughout the process and this was the first. So I wiped the canvas of the yellow oil paint and took a few minutes to decide what to do next. I knew that this yellow was not going to work unless I tried to find water soluble oil that was less transparent. That would mean placing an online order, waiting for the paint to be shipped, and then hoping that this new color would be opaque enough to cover as well as the correct shade for the sunset. So I decided to cover the black canvas with a yellow acrylic paint, let it dry, and then cover it again if needed. You can see from the picture that the yellow acrylic paint covers the canvas with no black showing through.

Hooray! I think this just might work! Please continue to watch what happens next.

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