Testing the Limits

"Persimmon Tree"
oil on canvas, 12" x 16"

I have been looking back at my paintings over the last month and find them to be lacking in some ways. By setting little challenges or goals of some experiment, instead of just painting another picture of something, I find that each painting can be a profitable learning excursion.

I have been seeking thicker paint and a more buttery look to my pieces. So, I tried two things: coating the gessoed canvas with diluted acrylic mat medium to retard or stop the absorbance of the gesso and canvas. Secondly, using a big one inch flat brush with tons of paint . . .shovel loading the brush sometimes. As I attacked this painting, it was clear I could not opt for detail, so by creating internal shapes in the leaves, weaving deep darks through the composition and working with color contrasts, I put this one together. I used a photo, taken over two years ago, to get a general idea of the proportions and shapes of the leaves and persimmons. The photo was useless beyond that.

A little scraping had to be done here and there in order to keep clean color . . .and to make the darks come to life with warms and cools. The end result was a buttery painting with some eye grabbing color contrasts. In a frame it sings! Sealing the canvas seemed to be a big help. Testing the limits of the big brush (and my courage) made for some romping good fun!

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