Thursday, December 20, 2012

Over and Over


Repose in Red, 18 x 14, oil on linen


Do you ever paint over old paintings? or do you always use fresh canvas? I get asked this question from time to time, and my answer is most of the time I like fresh canvas (oil primed linen) but sometimes I do paint over old paintings. 

When a surface gets built up, it tends to get in my way if I'm trying to do an alla prima sort of thing. I want to have complete control over the calligraphic marks I make, and I rely on the canvas texture a lot to do that. 

I also have a hard time if the surface has too much color / value activity because I can't judge my new strokes against irrelevant notes. They're just distracting. 

Paint it all out first and make a uniform toned surface? Sure, I can do that, but if I'm going to do that, it's much easier and faster to just use new canvas. And new canvas has the predictable texture that I like.

Having said all that, I still do use old painted surfaces for new paintings, if I know the painting isn't going to be a traditional (in a general sense of the word) painting. If abstraction is what I'm after, I don't mind all the existing color and texture. The unpredictability and irrelevance of the context often spurs new ideas and I make decisions which wouldn't have even occurred to me otherwise. 

The painting, Repose in Red is something I did a few weeks ago, and it's painted over an older painting. Actually, there're three paintings underneath this one. I think four is my limit - the texture become too pronounced after a while and I can't do what I need to do, even if I 'am doing this abstraction/process thang.  I guess I can sand it down, but again, too much trouble. 

Anyway, I like this one so I won't be painting it over.



9 comments:

  1. Hell yea! Don't touch that one. I am on the same page about painting over old paintings. I always think the best I can hope for is a "happy accident" because you can't control the strokes! Love your blog.

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  2. This is amazing! I love the softness and light. I'm doing a series right now and I'm painting over old paintings for each one. Out with the old, in with the new. But it wouldn't work all the time like you said.

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  3. I love this painting, you did a good job with it, I thought you run out of inspiration, but I can see you got it back an very strongly. Cheers Terry and happy holidays

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  4. Thanks Nancy! Thnaks Stephanie!

    Happy Holidays!!

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  5. Thanks Jesus~ and Happy Holidays to you too!

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  6. Terry!
    I am thrilled you didn't paint over this one!
    It is so very beautiful on so many levels. I love the colors, the design, the muted affect, the atmosphere and so much more.
    Yes, I have painted over many paintings. Now I save some and paint over some. I do know what you mean about using a fresh canvas. I know I am very influenced by the undercoating of "used" canvas.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful work and your very interesting thoughts!
    Michael

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  7. Season’s Greetings – I’ve come to tell you to take a look at http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/vote-for-best-artwork-on-art-blog-in-2012.html !

    One of your paintings has been nominated and selected for the "Place" category

    No lobbying allowed – but sharing the URL with people who follow you on Facebook and read your blog is fine.

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  8. Ohh man love this .... Look at those skintones on those knee caps ... Dam loads of envy here ...:)

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