Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As the saying goes--"different strokes for different folks." One beginning method used by a few artist is to begin painting on a white, untoned canvas. I read in John Howard Sanden's book, Portraits from Life in 29 Steps, that he begins with a white canvas. "I paint on a white, untoned canvas, since this seems to reflect the colors in the truest and clearest fashion. Another reason I rarely tone the canvas is because I use a white palette. . . . I also enjoy the feel of the bare canvas texture against my brush." He also goes on to write that "for the premier coup method, which calls for a single layer of paint laid in as swiftly as possible, toning the canvas in advance is a contradiction in terms and is useless. It is contradictory because toning the canvas implies judgment prior to observation. It is useless because the subsequent paint should be a correct and final statement, without support from preliminary toning."
I am reserving judgment on this beginning method since this was not how I was taught. Curiosity got the better of me and I thought I would try painting a portrait on a white canvas. Here is my beginning. I prefer to do a charcoal sketch first and fix it with a fixative (shown here). When I finish, I will post the results. Who knows, I might like it. If any one uses this beginning method, drop me a comment and tell me why you like it. Or if you totally disagree, tell me that also and why.