Often we don’t get to see or hear about any behind the scenes processes from IU’s student artists. As a painter who just finished a thesis, I thought I might take you all through the steps of how I go about constructing my paintings.
Step 1: Find what I want to paint.
First, of course, I figure out what I am interested in painting. For me, that means going out and finding an interesting space with lots of textures to paint. I usually bring some of my own objects to add into the scene as well. Often I take tons of photos in one day and use them for months after.
Step 2: Construct my canvas.
Before painting, I need something to actually paint on. Currently I use premade canvas stretcher bars. This means I put them together into the frame and then stretch the canvas over that. I then prime the canvas with gesso, which is like a white acrylic paint. I usually have to do at least two layers of this before sanding the surface of the canvas.
Step 3: Sketch it out.
When the canvas is all ready to use, I then take a thin grey paint and just sketch the image out. I usually just go for it and don’t do any preliminary thumbnails or drawings. After the sketch is put on, I then fill in sections with thinned out colors to get an idea of what I’m going for.
Step 4: Paint!
After the base layer dries, I then start rendering each section. This could mean detailed smooth painting, like in the fabric, or thick paint smears put on with a palette knife. For the thicker paint, I often apply paint and then scrap away at areas that would recede more into the space. It’s a lot of give and take.
Step 5: Take pictures.
Usually after I finish painting, I take the time to photograph my work. I then put it up on my website and my social media accounts. I try to document what I am doing in the studio as often as I can.
Step 6: Let it dry.
Of course, last but not least, I let the work dry completely. This can take up to a month depending on how thick I make the paint. After it is more dry, I can then move it and consider entering the work in exhibitions.