Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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01/17/2005: "First Lesson about Painting on Gessoboard"

The first thing I noticed about painting on panel is that the smooth surface is a lot less forgiving than a textured canvas. For example, I can scrub out a part of the canvas with paper towel and not notice if a few tiny beads of paper are left on the canvas. Well, I can tell with panel. I wiped out a part and now I am finding these teeny tiny little annoying bumps everywhere that I have to scratch out with my fingernail.

I'm still loving the experience though. I'm painting two figures, a man and woman, and I'm using glazes to build up the color, which I normally don't do. It's so much fun but also scary because it's an entirely new process for me and I'm fearful at every bend that I'll ruin it doing something stupid.

As much fun as I've been having, I had to take a break from painting to scoop my driveway this afternoon. We got a *ton* of snow the past couple of days. The city snow plow pushed a huge 4' pile of hard cement style snow up into my driveway right behind my car...if I didn't know better I'd think someone has it in for me!

I had to spend over an hour shoveling and ended up pulling a muscle in my back which was just starting to get better. Also, my painting arm and shoulder are very sore, so I haven't been able to paint anymore tonight. I'm bummed because I missed the deadline for the Eros show. I guess I can just finish it up later and enter it in next year's show.

I'm just glad the Gessoboard is working out because I'm going to start cranking out this next series on Bluegrass musical instruments and the figure. I feel better about my chances of pulling it off now that I know how much fun painting on the right kind of panel is.

Replies: 3 Comments

on Tuesday, January 18th, Marja-Leena said

I used to be a painter and art teacher in my earlier life, so may I share a couple of tips:
-use a rag instead of paper towel
- don't worry about making mistakes, that inhibits creativity; "mistakes" can be happy accidents leading to new discoveries.

on Tuesday, January 18th, Elise said

Thanks for the suggestions Marja-Leena. I have some old t-shirts I can rip should work a lot better.

As for making mistakes, I don't think I'd be as worried if it wasn't for the fact I was trying to finish a new piece for a juried show deadline.

But maybe I should just forget about the deadlines for awhile and be more accepting of the happy accidents?

on Wednesday, January 19th, Marja-Leena said

Yeah, deadlines'll do it to ya!

You may find a smooth woven cotton or linen cloth better but try the t-shirt.