One thing I don’t think I have ever talked much about is my technique. So here are some thoughts of process…. Most of my paintings are on panel, though occasionally I use canvas. Panel, with it’s rigidity, works a little better with the weight of the paint and pressure used while applying it. I start with a panel primed with acrylic, usually I use a warm orange or red. With a white pencil I gently sketch out the composition. In my mind I map out the color relationships based on what I see. Whether painting en plein air or in the studio, I look for interesting color patterns and plan if there are any I will exaggerate for dramatic effect.
To begin painting, I start with the sky. I mix the color using a palette knife. This color is most critical as it sets the tone of the rest of the painting. I often spend a long time mixing this color until I am satisfied. Because my work is small, I often pick it up off the easel. I spread the paint on with a knife, using the knife’s edge to define the horizon. It is like spreading peanut butter on bread.
I move on to middle ground and foreground, in that order, mixing each color as I go. I save complicated shrubbery or trees for last. All is done with a knife. For detailed pattern I mix the paint directly on the panel. The paint is often thick and applied with an impasto style. While holding the painting in my hand I can rotate it freely to get different directions of stroke. I have to accomplish most of the painting in one go, as it will start to dry within a day. The textured surface makes it difficult to work on once the drying process starts. It takes several weeks for the painting to be completely dry.
Image: Chromascape 67, detail