Breaking Old Habits

“Elkhorn View”
oil on stretched canvas, 16″ x 20″
There are ingrained, old, tested habits that keep raising their head and clucking at me.
After twenty years of developing my hand at creating fresh, crisp watercolors, I am finding that much of the color mixing methods (not principles) and putting it on the surface of the painting are terribly different from those demanded by oil paint.
I find that when a painting dries, I am disappointed in the thickness of the paint on the surface . . .Where did it all go?. . . .there isn’t enough to create the sort of textures I am after. Mind you, I am not making frisbees (thanks for that expression, Robin!) of them, but I am looking for thick, juicy paint. When painting alla prima, there must be a way to insure that I am getting it as thick as I want it. In wondering about this, I began to observe how I am picking the paint off the palette. What I see is that I am not slobbering the paint all over the brush.
So, determined to do so . . .and to handle the brush differently in the painting execution (another subject) . . . I set out for Elhorn Slough on Sunday to met two guys for some sunshine, scenery and painting. I had a 16 x 20 inch canvas with me that had been toned with a nice layer of acrylic paint . . .to (hopefully) seal the canvas and gesso and slow the paint absorption. Well, some of my goals worked. I am gradually tuning in to this process . . . .but I sure did enjoy the afternoon. The wildlife there is really incredible!
Elkhorn Slough is a salt water wetland. The yellow gray ‘stuff ‘ at the edges of the water is a moss and salt combination. It looks odd, but it certainly adds to the scenery.

7 thoughts on “Breaking Old Habits”

  1. This is great, Mike!
    I love the grayed trees in the background… and the whole feeling is so peaceful! Wonderful balance; It’s a keeper!

  2. Can’t really tell how you did on the paint thickness Mike. The brush strokes look good. You captured a nice sense of distance and atmosphere. I agree with Hank about the distant trees. Overall nice effort in oil!

    I have to pass on credit to Les Lull for the “frisby”. I have a growing pile of “shingles” in the back yard. I can get them to fly as far as the pet cemetery.

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