Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oil Wash

I'm doing some "new" things on this painting. Usually I will lay down a warm, burnt sienna wash on top of my sketch, and then work up from their. This piece is going to be cold and rough (rough water, fog, stormy clouds, etc...) so I am using a technique that I started playing with before I started my graduate program when I did my series of LOST paintings. I lay down some gesso with a palette knife and then put down a cool wash consisting of blues and cad yellow. With this process I get three really cool layered effects. The first layer is where there isn't any gesso. Here the oils penetrate the bristol board and create a really nice, dark, gritty wash. It is an awesome surface to draw on with color pencils. The second layer is where the oil lays on the gessoed surface. Here I am able to move the paint around a little more and get a soft blend of the colors. For the third layer, I take a soft cloth and wipe away a lot of the excess paint. Wherever there are raised ridges in the gessoed surface, the paint is almost completely wiped away - leaving some great patterns and textures. Most of this process is accidental - which I really enjoy. In the initial stages, I try to keep the painting as loose as possible. I will slowly tighten things up as I progress.


  1. Love this technique! I come from the time when techniques were not so readily shared, and it's nice to read about the process involved.

  2. Thanks Jim. I use to love Step-By-Step magazine when they would show artist's work each step along the way... this is just my way of giving back.