Monday, 10 October 2011
Look! You missed a bit!
The back of a canvas is surprisingly revealing. When held to the light, it reveals all the places where the paint is thin - or non-existent - and you can also see the outlines that I painted on with turpentine-thinned pthalo blue and a brush. And how I ignored them. I've stopped bothering with that now.
Many of my recent landscapes seem to have holes on the paint where the sky meets the land. Those are the ones where I paid more attention to the outlines, I expect. The sky often lightens close to the land (this is probably an illusion, but it's clearly visible, so I paint it that way), so it's not surprising that I don't notice small white patches of unpainted canvas in this area. The same applies to clouds. But this painting has holes amongst the dense tree coverage, which is a bit more surprising. They're very small holes, of course. I think that what has happened is, I've applied a generous splodge of tree-coloured paint, close to another tree splodge or at the edge of the wooded area, and maybe there's a bit of an overhang, or maybe the white, unpainted spot, just looks right in an almost imperceptible way - it might create a tiny highlight. You can just see these white bits from the front of the canvas, too - but it's easier if you know they're there. And if you're looking at the actual canvas. I can't see it all on my photograph of Watership Down (1).
You can see my incised signature very clearly, too. I try to lay down a darker base layer underneath the spot I'm planning on scribbling on. Sometimes I forget. This painting was quite small, so, although the space for the signature was there, it was harder to find somewhere to put the date.