don’t sweat the technique


Staring at a blank canvas is intimidating.  It’s like creating your MySpace profile way back in 2005- You caved and got one like the rest of your friends, now what?  Open it up and it’s this blank, vacuous parcel of cyberspace awaiting your footprint.  Eesh. How do you present yourself- or, as is the case with this blog, your talent, urge, or creative impetus?

Another fancy art concept is underpainting.  Underpainting opens it up for business.  It’s the marks you take to the surface that break the tension of blank space.  More than making a mark, in underpainting, you sketch out the basic picture with your brush or whatever type of tool you’re using to form the skeleton of an image.

Layers of underpainting for "Lupinus Nooktatensis".

You can use squiggly marks, curlicues, bright dashes of color, pencil, anything really to mess up that nice white space and tell it what you want it to be.  Session by session, layers of underpainting come together to form a cohesive image.  The underpainting can have a substantial visual energy that lends itself to the end product:

"Lupinus nooktatensis", final. Acrylic on panel, 1'x1', 2009.

I hope I didn’t lose any of you there.  Back to human-speak…I painted this as a gift for my cousin and her husband who just moved to the Olympic Penninsula from Juneau, AK.  It’s a picture of a flower native to southeast Alaska called the “Nookta Lupine.”  Throughout the year, and especially in times of famine, the native inhabitants of the area would rely on the tuberous root of this plant for food.  So there you have it, ethnobotany and technique in one tidy little package…


3 Responses to “don’t sweat the technique”

  1. 1 Nicole

    love your fruitful artisctic way

    What a pleasant read, thank you for sharing!! Your flow is so graceful, and your painting are awesome!! … no way would you loose someone! I look forward to more .. makes me want to get my hands dirty with some fun paint too, lol!!! Con mucho carino~ Nicole aka, nicklokes, nicklove01 & ‘that one waiting for my ruca’ .. lol … xxooxx

  2. 2 waifeylove

    Nicole, i think you mean my “fruity” way, lol…glad you’re wit’it! Go get sucia! On a “funny weird” note, the cousin I painted this for is also named Nicole.

    • 3 Nicole

      talk about a coincidence, I absolutely love the energy! Keep it up luvergirl xx

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