Today’s painted pressure scale. This is one pass, Williamsburg permanent red orange into white, this time with a little liquin. I find the camera seems to cut through the opacity of the paint, so it looks smoother in the flesh; though the photographs do reveal the structure of application which is good for assessment and diagnosis of any issues. I applied the red first and tapered it out as best I could before applying the white and doing likewise; then refining from there. But I found that the initial red marks would sink in a little and so not be picked up by the subsequent application of white, which meant they showed through the thin application a little. This particular red has a very high tinting strength - and is also dark in value - so what I might try next is to start with the white first and taper out, then taper the red off from pure application as before but this time tapering off into the wet white paint.
Thank you Anthony! These are great fun. Interesting to try a second pass; I think I could do a more intelligent first pass now. So much about doing these is hard to explain and has to be experienced. One issue: I have always had a problem with bits of lint & dust in the paint coming from my brushes. If anyone has any trade secrets I should know about for avoiding this I would love to hear!
The topic of lint and dust in regards to painting is a subject that comes up quite often here in our studio. The best advice I can give is to store brushes and palette(s) in a dust-free space after a painting session (or after a brush cleaning) and, during painting, when wiping a brush clean—always wipe away from the ferrule. These two things have made a world of difference for many people here.
And as mentioned in the lop always wipe with the paper towel never scrub the brush on it as can end up will paper fibre bits in the hair bundle
Thanks both, good advice. I should try a bit of experimentation with types of paper towel also. I tend to paint at night, using a daylight photographic softbox light - its quite strong, so you can see everything and most of the time things look fine in normal viewing conditions. Also visually continuous gradations are very unforgiving!
Before LOP, if you’d asked me to paint one of these pressure scales I would probably have gone about it like this: mix up 5 little piles of paint, basically a five step value scale from black to white; apply these to the surface and blend together with soft dry brushes. A perfectly legitimate way of going about it, but quite different from the LOP emphasis on pressure and using paint in a manner akin to dry media. So, I was back working on pressure scales yesterday, and they get better each time. I’m doing a first pass and something I notice is that although I try to use a conservative brush load of paint, I tend to get some bare patches on the gradation by the time I’m finished, mostly in the middle third as his is where I’m working the paint with blenders and obviously this is essentially removing paint albeit in small amounts. I’m sure this isn’t a problem and is taken care of in second or even third passes but it bugs me a little as I’d like there to be more consistent coverage. For this batch I’m working on a medium grain primed linen so that is a factor obviously. Anyway not really a question, just an observation and thought!
Thank you Stuart—a great observation indeed. It can be quite a challenge to find that “Goldilocks zone” of paint load that allows you to keep the familiar analog/pressure dynamic of dry media while maintaining a paint film thick enough to be consistent. As you have already noticed—practice will make hitting this “ideal zone” easier and easier.
Your gradations are looking great btw.
Thank you Anthony, good to know I’m on the right track! A few more done today with much better results in terms of film consistency; also my approach seems to be stabilising a little as the last couple were both faster and better than the others.
I was just looking at pressure scales yesterday and thinking the same thing, the more I worked on sable softening the greater the need to add a bit of paint and try and rework the area. Next try I may up the paint amount just slightly, the other issue is I still feeling like I could do a little better with my gradiation.
These look great, I’d be happy with that coverage for a first layer. I think I’m using too much medium (Liquin) in mine, so am going to reduce that right down.
@stuart129172 and @anthony803739—both of your scales look quite good. Again, the vast majority of problems come from too little or too much paint. If you suspect the former, try to push the paint load (on the brush) slightly above the comfort zone. It may seem more challenging at first but it will put you where you need to be in terms of coverage.
Secondly, I should mention that while the DVDs do show medium on the palette—we rarely use it on the first layers unless it is old paint that has begun to thicken beyond “acceptable” malleability.
But again, your control with these is right on track. Bravo!
Thanks Anthony and Stuart, I appreciate the feed back, It sounds like I’m heading the right direction.
I will try a larger paint load on the next couple scales and figure out how much is enough paint, depending on how that goes I may attempt the panel with 14 uniform scales. I’m excited by gains in paint handling so far, hopefully more to come before long.
Progress so far on black and white pressure scales, one layer of paint on these so far. Today was tough; I felt as if I’d never painted before. Still having some problems with coverage, though things were made easier in some ways by omitting medium on today’s batch. But it’s difficult dealing with transparency - though I’d forgotten what I’d learnt on the red ones above, namely stippling as a way of handling that. I’m kind of trying different things out on each gradation, i.e. brushes and modes of application. I’m hoping that once I find the right combination of applications they will settle down a bit and not look so tortured. Anyway, no pain no gain…!
I can’t tell you how important this statement is. Over the many years that I have been engaged in teaching this program —this statement is quite salient among those making significant progress. This feeling is a precursor to a significant “rewiring” that is taking place in regards to skill development. There will be more on this soon…
I am also glad to see that you are feeling the impulse to experiment. I continue to remind all of my artists that these exercises are not just a means to an end, but rather, are an arena for controlled experimentation. I hope that you end up exploring quite a bit.
Again though, continue to focus on that “Goldilocks’ Zone” of paint load that will allow for the maintaining of the pressure dynamic AND allow for effective coverage. The left scale seems to have better coverage throughout as opposed to the one on the right (you can see this by the exposed troughs on the canvas tooth on the right).
Yes the scientifically backed idea of the performance drop that is a result of a sort of neurological-wiring is so helpful when you have a day like that: it means it can be seen as a positive indicator rather than ‘going backwards’.
The notion of controlled experimentation and how this co exists with repetition can be difficult to grasp, but I feel like I’m engaging with these exercises much more in a spirit of testing than before.
I already feel much more confident in terms of things like which brush to use when, I have a ‘feel’ for what I need. You develop favourites - I like the real techniques make up brushes, though I have a cheaper brand which is working better. I prefer both to this lovely but expensive badger hair blender I have. I’m using number 8 hog filberts but am going to get some bigger ones; I have a hunch that I’ll work better with them.
Yes coverage on the left one was much better, and that was a definite gain in this session. I’ll do another few this week hopefully. Thanks again for this space and input!