I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday 26 December 2011

Re-sending Post on Colour Shapers

My apologies for re sending this blog post. The one sent this morning did not transfer to syndication on Facebook and I am re sending in modified form to see if I can fix the problem. 

Following my last post, Starting Norman, I have had questions about the flat rubber colour shapers that I use for painting with acrylics.  These are stiff rubber blades that can be purchased from one up to four inches wide. They work to lift paint from the canvas or to apply it - like a painting knife.  

I begin by making the drawing using either a Sharpie pen (black only will not bleed) or a black china marker. Then I apply a mix of a dark transparent colour with lots of medium and a bit of water over the entire canvas. Then quickly, as there is limited time before it dries, I use the scraper to remove the  paint selectively  to develop a three value pattern. Working quickly, there is enough time to develop a painting with a fairly intricate design, such as the totems shown in the photo. By holding the blade on edge, the paint can be almost lifted off - other than the stain ( light value) . By holding it on its side less paint is removed (mid value). Then leaving areas with the paint untouched (dark value) I have a three value pattern. When necessary I can pick up more of the mixture and add to the darks or recreate shapes for another scrape off. It allows me to consider my shapes and forces me to simplify and abstract the content. I have then a three value pattern with the under-painting at the value of each area. With some paintings, once this first layer is dry, I add another layer of the transparent mixture, often a warm over an earlier cool, or a compliment  to the earlier colour and selectively leave or remove. It becomes an interesting and playful pattern on which to begin. 

The process gets me engaged with the painting, forces me to simplify, organizes my value pattern  and helps to loosen me up. It has become a form of warm up exercise  and I enjoy doing it. This is only one of many approaches I make to beginning an acrylic painting. I  particularly like using this approach on  the lager pieces. 

To work, the scraper must be clean. No paint on the edge or on the sides - which acts like a plastic splint preventing the rubber from bending freely. 

Three sizes I use

The shapers I use are from Royal Sovereign and can be purchased at most large artist supply stores. They are not cheap but will last. Many painters have the small pointed ones - but these larger flats will do what the small ones do and so much more.  I use them for creating a perfect line. I use them for small pick outs . I create foreground grasses by lifting off a dark over-painting from a lighter under-painting. So many more uses. Fast and fun.


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