I received this question the other day;
"What is retouching varnish for? What happens if you just paint over what ever it is that you wanted to fix or change? Is it to make the surface slippery to blend things in better?"
Oil paintings lose their shine and appear dulled as the oil on their surface sinks into the layers below them or dries.The matte surface this causes returns less light to the viewers eye and makes the painting appear less brilliant. Retouch varnish restores the surface sheen making the picture look the same as when you painted it. Retouch varnish is fine to paint over and that is commonly done. Often artists start their work day by spraying a little retouch varnish on a painting in order to more accurately assess the colors that they must match or complement.
Retouch varnish should "flash" dry and is not intended to impart a particular sort of handling besides its making the surface a little glossier. Easy on the retouch too. It is best to use it sparingly. I have always been suspicious of too many alternating layers of paint and varnish.
Retouch varnish is also used when a painting must be exhibited and look its best, but is not old enough to receive a final varnishing.
"I want to paint more freely, more expressively, more deliberately all from the get-go. I've tried small still life paintings not allowing myself to move the paint but only repainting what I want to change. This works okay. However, when I want to do a full size painting, whether still life, portrait or landscape, and I slip into the "mode" the pushing and glazing returns.
........................Ms. Mia Fecula-Spooner
Ms. Fecula-Spooner ;
Painters generally develop the ability to paint loosely after learning to paint "tight" so you are on the right track. I suggest you do the following.
- Use big brushes only, no niggling with small ones
- Make broad simplified marks, not lots of little ones
- Limit the time you have to work on a piece, try to get it right in one go, if you can. This doesn't mean wild and inaccurate, but deliberate and simple.Good drawing skills are essential to doing this. Loose doesn't conceal weak draftsmanship. Don't think you can choose to be loose to avoid learning to draw.
- Try to see things simply and express them simply, ignore detail and the inessential, try to keep your masses big rather than cutting them up with unimportant interruptions.
- Study painters who did this well, there are many from Velaquez to Sargent to Seago, or someone else that you find intriguing..
- Don't work from photographs. They are full of bristling detail and will lead you to destruction.
- Squinting will help you see things more simply
- Remember, as Richard Schmid famously said " Loose is how a painting looks, not how it was made".
- Try putting butter in your shoes
Now for the hard truth feature of tonight s blog:
I had someone tell me on Facebook that it was too bad I didn't like older painters. I like em fine, and well enough not to jive em about what their chances are of achieving mastery and competing with those who have done nothing else all their lives. Now I am going to upset the plumbers and craftspeople.Here is the traditional "take" on the difference between art and craft. It is, like so many traditional ideas from our culture, politically incorrect and perceived as unkind or offensive. But I believe it to be true.
A plumber is not an artist even if he may do exemplary work. An art object exists only to be beautiful. It is not useful. A craftsman makes useful things, and although they may be may be wonderfully made, they are not art. This is not being judgmental, it is simply what the words mean. There are two words "art" and "craft", each word signifies something different, that is why there are two words and not one.
Joe Bagadonuts thinks that if something is very well done, it is art, he means it as a compliment, but he is mistaken. A painting may be very poorly done, but it is still art, conversely a sink may be very splendidly plumbed, but that doesn't make it art. Sorry Joe, but your high school art teacher lied to you, he should have been teaching drivers training instead or been a guidance counselor (like the one who told me I wasn't college material). He lied to you about other things too, he meant well, maybe, and he wanted to be nice, so he let you down.
Art exists only to be aesthetic, its only use is the pleasure or feeling it gives to its viewer.
Craft items have a use or purpose.
This means if I put a quilt on the bed, it is a craft object.
If I hang it on the wall it is an art object.
I suppose I will have to post another baby animal tomorrow.