The benefits of doing an underpainting continue to delight me. I find it easier to correct drawing and test values. I have more patience, correcting the drawing as many times as necessary. Trees are much more forgiving than faces. The technique of glazing multiple layers of paint over the underpainting requires weeks, perhaps months to complete since each layer must dry completely before applying the next layer of glaze. What is the sense in spending weeks applying glazes over a poor drawing?

The colors are so extreme that the canvas begins to take on a life of its own from the very first few brush strokes. A conversation begins almost immediately and the dialogue between the canvas and the right side of my brain is absolutely entertaining. I am amused that I feel as carefree painting this way in oils as I do splashing, splattering and pouring watercolor paint. For the past several years I’ve been trying to figure out how to thin oils so that I can manipulate them like watercolor. I thought I needed to splash, splatter and pour to get the sense of depth and motion I want. It is absurd to me that the technique of the old masters has given me the freedom I was searching for. It is difficult at this stage to imagine what the paintings will look like with five or six layers of glaze.

Image: Rachel Brice, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Performer

Link to page on website featuring progress of portrait paintings.

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