I am not sure what all of the reasons are, but I definitely find that my best work is painted fast and free. Whether its plein air painting, alla prima portraiture, or fast flowing tempera and gouache… the pieces I find the most dear, that speak the most truth to me, are painted fast. When I explored the process painting approach of Michele Cassou, it was said that the reason for painting with tempera is that its fast, and therefore more directly connected. I think for myself this is probably true.
However, I am also drawn to the richness of more complex processes. Not so much for the level of ornateness, or the “finished” qualities that can be acheived with layers and glazing and such. What appeals to me is the contrast that a mixed technique can provide. I went to an art show last year at LACMA and there were a few pieces that pointed out to myself what I was missing in my current technique… I’d like to write about a couple of the artists in particular in relation to my own work when i have a chance – the catalogue is at my studio. Anyway what I realized is that i needed to have the “space” and conceptual breaking that a mixed scale or mixed media technique brings to open up my work.
So I am identifying two things that I find are important for me to make paintings that ring true… 1. Speed in excecution / direct connected flow and 2. A break in the conceptual film (in this sense i mean surface) of my work asthetically, which will probably happen by using a mixed technique.
One of the best examples I have of a quickly executed paintings I have is this one, a straight up gouache, no sketching or underpainting, finished in less than a few hours entitled “Red Girl”. I love this painting, and it is to me very “true” both in content and aesthetics.
In terms of breaking the conceptual film of my paintings the picturesque film created by the sameness of a well excecuted single technique) I began to explore a bit here with this piece entitled “Time” (all oil) with a mixture of scale, light logic, and technique. It wasn’t exactly fast, but it was fairly directly painted. Oil paint does not have the speed of gouache for color blocks and line work, but I can paint otherwise very fast using it.
My recent exploration in fast painting + mixed technique was done using Oil paint with a rub-away technique and lines drawn in using the back of a brush into the wet paint, as well as more standard oil techniques like thick brush strokes and shading. So I kind of have three techniques mixed together but all working alla prima on the board.