The part I worried about the most, before I started to paint this picture, was painting the dark shapes in the water. These had to be sharp and with no mixing with the under-paint. Alla prima is the problem – wet on wet. If I allowed painting to dry there would be no problem with the dark shapes mixing with the light blue under-paint. But thats not the way I roll, as the kids would say.
The first layer was Ultramarine Blue with solvent only. This evaporated fairly quickly (with the help of a hair dryer) leaving a thin layer of this transparent blue. I thought about painting the dark shapes directly onto this layer but it was too deep in colour and the texture of the canvas was too noticeable (the paint+solvent settles into the weave and really emphasises the canvas texture). The layer had to have white and blue and be brushed smooth. Liquin and solvent, just enough to make the paint spread, and then briskly brushed did the trick. This makes the Liquin ‘tacky’, great for painting sharp details on top.
This is the photo I used for reference. As I have noted previously, paintings (with their blobs and scratches) can look more ‘real’ than photos of the same scene. I have placed this photo here to illustrate a curious effect. The painted items do not look at all like the items in the photo. In the painting its how we ‘think’ they look. The presence of the photo, in close proximity to the painting, ‘shatters’ the reality in the painting. To me it seems that paintings of the real world, as opposed to photos, must be seen, or processed differently in the human brain. I find this to be true when looking at old Dutch Still Life paintings. They look more real than photos. Very curious? It underscores the special place representational art has in the way our minds work.
There is more information on the painting in the previous post. Here is the video. The painting took under 2 hours to complete, with the ‘wriggly’ water bits taking up a good bit of that time.