Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What materials do you use?

I was originally trained with traditional oils. I moved on to alkyd oils because I liked the fact that they dried more quickly but still provided me with the flexibility of a traditional oil. I finally transitioned to water-soluble oils years later after discovering them and doing some research on them.

I presently use Winsor & Newton Artisan paints. However, once I get through those, I will be switching full time to Holbein Duo Aqua and Royal Talens Cobra because of their handling. But, sometimes you just find the right color and gotta have it regardless of the brand!

I occasionally will use a medium, though presently, my heart is sold out to alla prima painting. (Though, artist and Chair of Painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Al Gury points out in Alla Prima: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Direct Painting that one-sitting paintings are but one facet of working in the alla prima tradition; glazing during and after completed is within it as well.)

I use synthetic brushes—Princeton and Artisan—because they are (relatively) inexpensive and get the job done. Plus, because I use water-soluble paints, I find that synthetics hold up in water better than natural hair brushes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What is your process?

Germination. Organization. Implementation.

Like most artists, ideas come to me at odd times. For me the struggle is remembering to bring a sketchbook—everywhere! After the idea(s) come, I let them simmer in my mind. During this germination process, I will refine ideas in my head or do a series of simple thumbnail sketches to explore compositions. If the piece is a still life and I don’t have the supplies to even do it, I continue on with this process. I may look for the objects or leave it as a thumbnail with notes for a later date.

Once I am ready to begin the actual painting, I organize my objects. If I determine that the idea in my head isn’t going to work, I modify it so that it does. This may mean simply removing objects, swapping one object for another or changing an object’s placement. Whatever way I need to make it work, I make it happen. I limit the time I spend doing this because it will consume the time I have alloted to paint.

Once that organizational component is complete, I tone my canvas with a wash of color. Then, using my brush as a pencil, I loosely sketch in my composition, working and reworking as necessary. Before I apply color, I will often block in at least three values, providing myself with a simple notan of lights, middles and darks. I then mix the colors I see and begin to paint. I would love to tell you that I cover my canvas before finishing an area but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, the application of the paint to the canvas takes a variety of forms but in the end it gets done.

While I have gone back and forth about varnishing, presently I do apply three coats of a quality spray-on varnish to my finished pieces.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Composition with Yellow and Red, alla prima oil painting

Composition with Yellow and Red, 9 x 12 inches. Oil on canvas panel.
©2010, Jeffrey W. Phillips
During my August convalescence, I reworked an older oil painting. I am now looking forward to creating a few paintings featuring that copper pot of mine. I will have to look into getting some Fall fruit and/or veggies too. Gotta love how ideas spark other ideas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daddy Bear, alla prima oil painting

Daddy Bear, 5 x 7 inches. Oil on canvas panel.
©2010, Jeffrey W. Phillips
A friend of mine gave my son this bear when he was born. Frankly, he never paid it much mind until he turned 4 and he transitioned to his big-boy bed. To complicate matters, I had started a new job and was working quite a bit acclimating myself to my new position. Needless to say, he missed me terribly.

During this time, he rediscovered this bear and gave it the name Daddy Bear. At 6 years old, he still sleeps with it and takes it on sleepovers. He was thrilled when he came home and saw it on my easel. (Of course, my daughter wants to know where her painting is!)

I painted it because it's a wonderful reminder of my son's love for me.