Saturday, February 21, 2015

Complaining About Sueding

Recently I had a conversation with an artist friend of mine. He— also a realist painter— had asked if I kept track of how much time I spend working on a painting, and it set me off into a diatribe about how I wished I had because it takes FOREVER to finish one of the things. The most time consuming stuff is doing a finely graduated background wall, like the one below:

Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

I've already spent an unreasonable amount of time on it. I should have a punch clock. It's had at least four coats of paint, probably more, and each time it gets a little more opaque and a little less brushy. But each time I have to match the values (the light/dark quality of the paint) which is really hard, and you can see that the area on the left is too close in value to the shadow near the woman's purse, so I'll have to adjust that once the paint's dry.

Anyway, I got to a point on Thursday where I wanted to stop. Fatigue had set in. So I mounted the painting on a wall near the easel, and stood back to assess the day's work. Sueding, all over the place! What is sueding? Well, when a painting's supposed to be as carefully graduated as I want this one to be, and there are brush marks raising textures in every conceivable direction under strong lighting, it's an epic fail. So I had to rework it for another twenty minutes to smooth the marks out, and it's still going to need another three sessions.

This is why I get aggravated when someone thinks a painting like this should be priced cheaply. As I told my friend, we both are painting the entire surface not once, but anywhere between 2-10 times.

End of rant.

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