Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Spring Evening


A Spring Evening oil on board 10 x 10
Available at Hildt Galleries, Chicago

In this piece I'm jumping the gun a bit, meteorologically speaking. Most of the trees around here are still bare but there are a few tantalizing glimpses of spring- flowering trees, daffodils and iris and longer, warmer days. And besides, a girl can dream, can't she?

The big news, at least for me, with this piece is that I painted it on gessoed plywood board instead of canvas. I have pretty much always painted on canvas. When I first began to explore painting in a more indirect way- under painting, glazes, etc- I read a lot about how glazes work better on a smooth surface. I resisted that for a couple of reasons-the main one being that I didn't think I could use the dry brush technique I like to use in my under paintings as effectively without some drag from my painting surface. Another being fear. So when I found this silky smooth board in my studio the other day, I'm not sure why I decided to try it. But boy, am I glad I did! I loved painting on this surface and while it certainly made the paint behave a bit differently, I really loved the way it took glazes. The paint just seemed to float on top of the surface making this lovely atmospheric envelope. Now the problem is I have no idea where this board came from! I'm pretty sure it was handmade, not commercially prepared. So, Steve (my husband) and I have been experimenting this week with gessoed masonite. I found some good information on line about preparing these boards, but I still have lots of questions - like how many coats of gesso, do you need to sand in between or just at the end, whether or not you need to seal them in some way so they are not too absorbent and what to do about larger pieces. So if any of you out there have answers to these questions, I'd love to hear from you!

11 comments:

Stacey Peterson said...

Hi Deborah - it's been fun to see your work evolve through your blog - I've seen your work in Ernie's gallery for years and it's neat to see your new style now

Anyhow, I work on panels and have gotten so sick of preparing them that I work on Ampersand gessobord nowadays - they're more archival than masonite and I like the smooth surface. Before that, I was preparing birch panels with gesso. If it helps any, I found that cheap gesso was too absorbent, and ended up using the Utrecht brand because it didn't seem to soak up the oil so much. I usually do 2-3 coats one after the other and just sand at the end.

Anyhow, sorry for the long rambling post - love your work!

Deborah Paris said...

Hello Stacey! Thanks so much for commenting and the information about panels. Funny, I just visited your blog yesterday and enjoyed your lovely work -and you've been to Ernie's- what a small world!
So back to the panels- when you were making them- what did you do about larger pieces- did you need to brace them somehow so they don't warp? Sorry- I know this is probably panels 101, but its all new to me!

Bill Sharp said...

Deborah, Thanks for leaving an encouraging note on my blog and the tip on brushes. I've been quietly admiring your work for a long time. I enjoyed reading about your process and I also appreciate that you post images that enlarge enough, when clicked on, to really see what the surface of your work is like.

Deborah Paris said...

Your welcome Bill, and thanks for visiting here!

africantapestry said...

Hi Deborah, I came here via Bill....your work is truly beautiful, with "A spring evening" so atmospheric. Wonderful!
Ronell

Deborah Paris said...

Thank you for your kind words Ronell and thanks for stopping by.

Mark Bridges said...

That's a great "spring evening" Julian Onderdonk's paintings are now up at the DMA. I went yesterday and enjoyed myself for 2 hours

Tracy said...

Hi Deborah, I agree with Stacey-I would check out the gessobord panels, they have a great surface. They should be braced if they are larger than 18x24 or so, I used to use them and found that they did flex pretty easily at that size and larger. You can also buy them with cradles which is what I used to do.

I use cradled birch panels now and there is a lot of prep. But I like the surface better and it feels like a more substantial support. Anyway, if you decide to prep a wood panel, email me and I will tell you how I prep mine.

Oh and anytime you prep the surface with more than one layer (of anything), you should sand between each layer-it gives the new layer a little more to grab on to.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Mark. I am definitely a new fan of the DMA. Thanks for visiting!


Hi Tracy. Thanks very much for this info. I did read two of your posts on your blog about your method of preparing panels when I started researching this- and that was very helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

kristy hall said...

I occasionally use masonite as a base for 3 coats of gesso that I apply with a 4" foam roller and sand after the last coat. I get the masonite at Home Depot and it is the thick beige kind. The foam roller is great!

Deborah Paris said...

Thanks for the tip Kristy!