Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ugly underpainting

My underpaintings sometimes are plain ugly. Some of you may have had this experience. You start working on a painting and when the first layer is done, you look at the thing and you think: this is never going to work. I'm the worst painter ever. The colors are pale, the surfaces not as smooth as you want them to be and the transitions are off.

Through the years I found out that it's hard to avoid this. Especially with the layering technique I use.  Here's an example:

Sunset, 50 x 150 cm, oil on panel, underpainting

Not very promising, huh? 
In the following layers I slowly built up the colors to the level of saturation I wanted. Because I use quite a lot of medium it took a few layers to get there. This is how it turned out:

Sunset, 50 x 150 cm, oil on panel, finished state

Check out my website for a bigger picture:

As you can see the initial color of the sea in the underpainting was quite dark. I added the lighter accents in the next layers. This sometimes works better than the other way around.

Sunset, detail

Anyway, if you sometimes get the feeling that there's a wide gap between what you had in mind and the present state of your painting, remember that's how it's supposed to be. Just keep going and somewhere along the line things will take a turn for the better.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Working on a finished painting

Been working on a finished painting. I do that quite often. I convince myself that a painting is finished, but after some time (a few weeks, months, even a year) it turns out that's not the case at all.

This particular painting had been in an exhibition for six weeks and the moment the exhibition was over I picked it up at the gallery and reworked it. Now it's finished. I mean really finished. I even gave it a new title. Period.

Here are the two stages. The one at the bottom is the way it looks at the moment. The definitive, final, not-to-be-touchedd-again stage. Did it get any better? What do you think? Let me know!

If you want to take a closer look, please check my web site (

Wide Beach, oil on panel, 50 x 150 cm

Narrow Beach, oil on panel, 50 x 150 cm