Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Red & gray Ford tractor in landscape underpainting; oil on panel by Paul Baldassini

Please contact me via email:
paul@baldassinifineart.com

“Few people who do anything excellent are ever heard of...Americans have been bred to appreciate the success of the mediocre.”  — Frank Zappa


With my composition laid out, today I began the underpainting, again using Quinacridone Magenta (Sennelier) straight out of the tube. This time around I’m painting on a primed panel instead of my usual linen mounted on panel. The panel is 1/2-inch MDF sealed and primed with one coat of Latex exterior white housepaint and two coats of Gamblin Oil Painting Ground, which is a mixture of alkyd resin, titanium dioxide and barium sulfate — no lead. Trim size is 33 1/2 x 24 inches.

Painting on this surface is different from painting on the primed linen. It’s more slippery as the paint sits on top longer before sinking in so the underpainting takes longer to dry. That's OK with me because by thinning out the paint with OMS I can make the paint behave much like a watercolor. Areas can be totally removed as necessary with a brush dipped in pure OMS or blended together drybrush. Over the course of the painting session the paint stays wet enough to easily manipulate including glazing over with darker paint or wiping out with a rag or brush or both. I keep a couple of folded up sheets of paper towels on the end of my palette to blot up excess OMS from the brush as necessary to effect the area I’m working on. Likewise, if I were working on a watercolor I would use a small household sponge to wick water off my brush as necessary. It’s very easy to make corrections and entire sections can be wiped clean to start over without disturbing the underlying disegno (I love that word). I start at the top and noodle and muddle my way down so my hand does not rest on wet paint when getting in close for some detail work and/or I use my trusty mahlstick. It’s a nice way to paint and exciting to watch the composition take shape and emerge from the pure white ground.

The tunes for this session came from Frank Zappa’s 1970  Burnt Weeny Sandwich  (the 1983 remastered version) featuring most of the original Mothers, and Fleetwood Mac  Live at the Boston Tea Party   recorded in February 1970, part of a superbly produced triple CD package remixed and released in June 1998 featuring founder Peter Green in a sublime performance.

It will be another day or two until I get to Stage 2 and completion of the underpainting so please check in then.

P.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Red & gray Ford tractor in landscape disegno; oil on panel by Paul Baldassini

Please contact me via email:
paul@baldassinifineart.com

“Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.”  — Jean Cocteau


This past weekend I began work on a new painting. The source image was composited from two separate images. One was of an immaculately restored 50's era red and gray Ford 8N tractor. The other was a shot taken at local farm around the same time of day and with similar lighting conditions. The compositing was done in the same manner as described in an earlier post, my usual technique for developing compositions with silhouetted objects and replacement backgrounds. Standard stuff I learned from years of advertising product retouching and compositing. I still do a lot of it — have to pay the bills, making art certainly doesn’t.

My prep work normally takes about 3 - 4 hours depending on the amount of detail. This one required a lot of patience as there was quite a bit of detail that needed to be recorded. It’s the single most important part of my process and I listen to music and take my time — the success of the painting depends on this road map.

I decided to paint on a primed panel this time instead of my usual linen mounted on panel. No particular reason, just to break the routine and try something different. The panel is 1/2-inch MDF sealed and primed with one coat of Latex exterior white housepaint and two coats of Gamblin Oil Painting Ground, which is a mixture of alkyd resin, titanium dioxide and barium sulfate — no lead. Needs about two weeks to dry thoroughly, maybe less if baked in the sun 6-8 hours. Trim size is 33 1/2 x 24 inches.

I listened to a variety of tunes while I did the layout: Frank Zappa’s Sleep Dirt from 1979 — incredible close-miked studio acoustic and electric sessions; The Allman Brothers Band Fillmore Concerts recorded live at Bill Graham’s Filmore East, March and June 1971; and John Mayall’s USA Union from 1970.

Stage 1 of the underpainting will commence right away so please check in again soon.

btw: disegno  (pronounced dee-se-nyaw)  is Italian for “drawing.”

P.