Recently I’ve been using no medium and a lot of solvent in my paintings. The solvent spreads paint and I’ve used this effect to create shapes and suggest detail in an almost haphazard way. I find this useful in areas of the painting where there are no identifiable features to be painted in. Watercolour artists do something similar with wet on wet washes, allowing the paint to flow here and there. Very often the most difficult areas of a painting to fill in, are these open ‘empty’ spaces between features.
Another way to help add interest in a featureless area is to use no medium or solvent at all. The dry brush dragged across the canvas is a bit like drawing with charcoal. Pressure, or lack of it on the brush can suggest details. If you look at the painting here, the foreground really didn’t have anything specific to paint. What I didn’t want was a flat uninteresting area. Using the dry brush and working over this area, features almost suggested themselves and I the just added a few highlights to these features. The old tree stump on the right was needed to balance the ‘exit’ on the left. It was a definite feature and, as such, was easy to paint unlike the ‘empty’ stretch running into the distance.
I always try to add interest into empty spaces. Making ‘apparently’ random shapes and colours looks more natural. I find attempts at creating deliberate features tend to look contrived and artificial.
Here’ the video of the process. See you soon.