Artbite #7 – paint oils in layers

Oil painting in layers makes sense. Maybe I look for this, because I’ve done so much printmaking, but richness of quality (old colour showing through, or even just the enhanced texture) seems to occur unfailingly when a new layer of oil paint is added to previous dry stages.

Honesty compels me to quote David Sylvester (on Bomberg):

“Layer upon layer seems to have got there with each layer preserving its own identity and virtue. The underlying layers somehow have as much presence as those which are visible. And the layers act upon one another exactly as visible areas of colour in different parts of a picture-surface act upon one another.”

I’ve also found that generously-applied gesso is a remarkable short-cut to this quality …..

After Hollow Ponds II (detail) JONATHAN ELLIS oils 85 x 60 cm

After Hollow Ponds II
(detail)
JONATHAN ELLIS
oils
85 x 60 cm

…. also gesture over order seems to release a similar reward ….

After Hollow Ponds III (detail) JONATHAN ELLIS oils 85 x 60 cm

After Hollow Ponds III (detail)
JONATHAN ELLIS
oils
85 x 60 cm

There is an additional conceptual direction too. A multiple image works as well in paint as in photography or printmaking, with the advantage that the physicality of the often raised surface more than compensates for any blurring caused by more than one drawing stage – isn’t this how we see?

 

 

Please leave any comment below:

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4 thoughts on “Artbite #7 – paint oils in layers

  1. Hi there Jonathan – I really enjoy receiving your suggestions and comments, Also like your paintings ‘after hollow ponds’ – colour and texture are beautiful. Best wishes Penny

    1. Thanks Penny
      I fear they exhibit the sluggardly nature of my thoughts – I’ve decided to wait for artbites to suggest themselves, rather than use the ‘take one a day’ approach, so they are rather spasmodic I’m afraid
      Best wishes with paintings
      J

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