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Philip Howe Fine Art
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Recent work 4
Angel Paintings
Recent Work 3
Recent Work 2
Recent Work 1
Fine Art - Figures,Portraits, Other Subjects
Landscapes
Life Drawings (Figure drawings)
Early work_ 1980's, 1990's
Demos of several Paintings
Links to other Artists
Technical Page

This failry large piece was done on canvas that I mounted to a panel by securing the overlapping canvas areas in the back with 1/2 inch thick fur strips. I then gessoed it with 4-5 full coats and let it set for a day before doing the drawing. I fought this surface a bit as it seemed super absorbent, and I prefer the paint to stay more on the surface. I think that was more from gessoeing the surface after I mounted it to the panel. In the future, I will remember to gesso it first, then mount it, and add another layer of gesso if needed as a final coat before drawing and fixing the surface. I love painting fog, its such a natural atmospheric affect that enhances the mood and grays the colors so you can play with the focus quite a bit.

For larger paintings I usually start by doing a clean drawing and projecting the sketch either by shooting a slide and using a slide projector, which is the sharpest and cleanest projection- or by using an opaque projector, which can go soft (blurry) at the edges so keep the image in the very center of the plate. I make sure to get the image squared up properly, which is really important, and the easiest way to do this is to draw in a box and when projecting, square the box to the proportion of the canvas edges. If it isn't squared properly, the image may shift or skew, which will make figures look off. I can always redraw them with paint, but that defeats the whole idea of working out the design ahead of time, especially with much of my made up work where I don't want to lay on paint heavy with initial color experimenting. This would make it more difficult should I want to change areas later on, however on this piece it was fairly straightforward.

I used plenty of mineral spirits to wash over some base color tone and kill the white. This wash also helps set up the opaque paint to come, giving it more tooth to pull against the brush, giving me that much more control in wet-into-wet areas. A word of warning if you prefer using turpentine to wash in this much color- all solvents are toxic, turps more so than mineral spirits. I think it thins just a bit better, but is it worth the health risk? I tried some of the new supposed natural solvents and found them to be somewhat greasy, but workable. If you are alergic to oil paint or solvents then a big wash like this would be an unsafe approach. Some artists use acrylics as an underpainting, and I did too, for many years. It works well if you can control the strength of the wash and really thin the paint initially, mixing in a bowl or container so that there are no soilds but just thin paint. I can get the same effect with acrylics this way, and I think this thin of a wash is quite permanent. I have been told that using more opaque acrylic as an underpainting is not archival for oil paint to go over, but I think by abrasing the surface with steel wool, this will create enough surface adhesion to allow for acrylics to be used as an underpainting. Work I did some twenty years ago shows no sign of degredation, but that really isn't a long enough time to say whether its an archival technique.

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