This blog is advice in an e mail to an advanced student after a workshop. I felt she did not get all of what I was trying to convey,and because she is so good, I want her to feel special. So, I wrote this message down for her to think about. Here is the advice:
"Load up with more paint and deliver it onto the area of the canvas or mix it right on the canvas, making the value right as you mix on the canvas. You can actually mix it nicely ON the canvas w/o a problem, just keep mixing it right on the area of the intended part of the canvas just like you do on the palette, it will beef up and be better looking paint quality, I promise. It will shine more too. And the more you MIX either on your palette or on the canvas, the better the sheen and depth, just use more paint and brush it like you are smoothing it out like on a baby's but or doing cake frosting, pat-stoke lightly, pat- brush pat-stroke lightly, pat- brush. Left, right, left, right, like a song like a march. Don't brush the paint out or away form the area, lay it on! the go back and mix again and lay it on agin if you have to. It is all about the paint application! Paint like you own the paint company and there is a surplus. When you clean up at the end of the painting session, the paint will be already mixed, scrape it all up in a pile and it is lovely to use that super mixed paint somewhere! Just remember that while struggling to get the mixing right, you gotta remember to mix it and mix it!. (OFTEN, I GET THE PAINT VALUE RIGHT WHEN CLEANING UP AND NOT WHILE TRING TO MIX, DUH!) Do you remember me over and over doing one little part on an area, over and over? That is what I was doing. I did that a little today on yours if you remember me painting and mixing on your canvas. When you get the color right, you won't need the palette knife until you just want a pop of the color somewhere. The only problem with mixing it on the canvas, you have to use muscle memory to remember the strength of the painting mixture and re-mix for the beefed up palette knife quality of paint....for the palette knife delivery, arrrrgh, so much to remember. You will figure it out. What I do know is, that when you feel you get a tried and true mixing quality and want to do it again on another painting, sometimes you DON'T get so lucky. It is almost like the paint is willing you to struggle, and muscle memory is threatening you. Another thing I know is when the painting just paints itself, it is a thrilling thing, and that seduces you to do more and more, and when that more and more is not right in a couple more future paintings, then you get lucky....by being seduced again. I feel you are a tonalist, and I have to admit the tonalistic style is the hardest, because the values are so close in tone that is hard to distinguish each shape, but it trains your eye to do that once you get the hang of close values. Read the book The History of American Tonalism to look at Ennis and Sargeant to see the close values that made those paintings so great. See the contrast between the light and the dark and the middle close values holding its depth. Don't give up being seduced, it is so close to being perfect!"
So, another day at the office, and I love the struggle. I just hope she gets seduced!