Creating on Canvas and Paper: Two Different Techniques

Because I create two different styles of work (painting and mixed media), I use a variety of techniques to make my art.

Painting: Drawing & mixing on canvas

For my paintings, I use pigment sticks, which are like giant crayons made out of pigment, linseed oil, and a small bit of wax. I sketch the outline of my design on canvas, then draw over the outlines with a black pigment stick. After running a brush dipped in walnut oil through the black paint to smooth it out, even out the lines, I let the lines dry for a couple weeks (black dries slowest of all pigments). Once the black is dry-ish, I fill in the shapes by drawing with multiple colors of pigment sticks, and blending them together right on the canvas with a brush and walnut oil to create the base colors. For this initial stage of painting, I don’t like mixing on a palette. Creating a canvas is like making a page in my own coloring book. 

After the base colors and lines are down and completely dry, I start glazing. 

What is Glazing?

By thinning a single rich, transparent pigment with a little bit of walnut oil, and using watercolor brushes, I dry brush thin layers of pigment over the base colors. It’s a long process, requiring days or weeks of drying time between layers. But in the end the transparency of pigments layered over one another creates a depth which can’t be achieved otherwise. 

I’ve discovered that complimentary pigments can be glazed on top of each other, without them getting muddy so long as each layer is dry before the next one goes down on top of it. The colors will wonderfully sit next to, blend, or float on top of each other. Glazing requires patience and time to allow layers to dry (I work on several paintings at once), but I love the end result. This technique is why many of my paintings - take from 150-250 hours, sometimes two to three years, to finish. 

Oil Paint on Paper, Techniques

By mixing oil pigments with cold wax, sand, clay, dirt, and other natural materials, these smaller pieces are experiments I work on in between my traditional paintings. Created more quickly, I don’t use brushes, but instead work with a variety of hand tools, transfer paper, sticks and anything that will make marks, build interesting texture, and create patterns. 

I allow myself to stay open to the possibilities of what I can make, typically starting without a specific end result in mind. Studying various techniques of other artists helps me approach these pieces with the curiosity of exploration. Some day I may take these to a larger scale, but for now I enjoy the immediacy of the process on a smaller scale.