Friday, May 26, 2017

TV Painters, Photorealism, and Me

When I'm painting down in the Dungeon Studio, I usually have the television on in the background. When the news is interesting, I'll have that on, but mostly I've been listening to the Create Channel through Maryland Public Television. It has programs that feature woodworking, crafts, cooking, home renovation, travel, knitting and crocheting, and (of course) painting.

Now, the 3 or 4 painter guys that have shows employ techniques different from mine, and frankly I think the end results look manufactured, though they have a certain pleasant appeal. I listen to them anyway (when I'm painting, I'm looking at the canvas or panel) and lately have picked up a couple of good ideas.

Here is the start of a new commissioned piece. It's a 16" x 20"w reproduction of a photograph taken by a DC area art aficionado.

I hesitate to publish his original image in this blog without getting his permission, but here's the working brief: make the painting as close as possible to the photo. I'm a long way from being a photorealist, but I like a challenge. And it seems to me that for this particular image I need to think in new ways to solve the problem of some very subtly graduated, shadowed walls. That far left side in beige: I used a small house paint roller to apply the paint. It's currently taped off because it's a wall edge and I applied a second coat this afternoon.

Back to the TV painters: a couple of them were using liner brushes for their tree branches. (A liner brush has long, narrow, soft hairs.) I have a couple of liners, but have never used them for tree branches but now I'm thinking, what's wrong with me that I never saw how perfect they'd be? And one of the guys had masked off an oval area for a painting that took him 20 minutes to complete. Last week at the art supply store I was pricing frisket and wondering if it had enough tack to sufficiently mask off areas on the painting; the TV art guy said he was using Contact paper! Cheaper than frisket, he said, and more staying power. And he was right— the roll I got from the home improvement store will work great to separate the figures in the piece from the wall behind them.

My takeaway from all this is: being an art snob can keep you from learning. Those other painters on TV might have a different mindset about painting, but they have some useful tips.

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