Lesson 1

On this day the course content will be introduced and you will do your first painting.

Exercise: black on white

Painting with black paint on a white, non-absorbent surface. The main purpose of this exercise is for you to learn the importance of transparency in painting. The subject matter will be a photocopy of a drawing by the pointillist painter Georges Seurat. psd source file here.

Assignment: prepare your painting surface

The task is to prepare a painting surface for the painting you will be doing next week. First you will need to decide what size the painting is and what proportion it will be. These are two different decisions. These values are discussed here

  1. First decide the size. We will be painting a large still life, so I suggest that something at least between 70cm and 100cm wide. This will place the depicted size of the objects (which are quite large) in a one-to-one relationship with their real size.
  2. When establishing the proportion, I suggest that you ‘steal’ it from an existing painting. First find a painting the proportions of which you like. Then, using the method outlined here (at bottom of page), determine the final proportions of your painting.
  3. Now you have the dimensions, you need to make the support. We will be painting directly onto a sheet surface. This sheet can be a thin sheet of mdf or plywood (for which go Hong Wen Timber or Art Friend) or thick card or thick paper (Art Friend again or Popular bookstore in Jurong Point). The thicker the better.

You will now have a sheet the size and proportion you desire. Next step is to prime it. 

    1. Go to the painting studio and look in the shelves by the main door. The materials on the lower shelf are labeled: 1) a brush for oil-based primer 2) a brush for acrylic-based primer 3) turpentine for the cleaning of the oil-based brush 4) acrylic-based primer 5) oil-based primer 6) black oil paint.
    2. some acrylic primer, some oil primer, some black oil paint, a wide brush for acrylic and a wide brush for oil primer. All should be clearly marked. 
    3. Using the acrylic brush, paint the sheet once with a coat of acrylic primer. Leave it 24 hours to dry. Clean the brush using LOTS of water and soap. 
    4. The following day, prime the board with grey paint. Place a small amount of black oil paint on the board with a brush full of oil primer. Mix them together (in situ) on the board.  The result should be a mid to light grey. Distribute evenly across the board.
    5. Clean the oil-based brush by: 1) wiping off excess paint onto a rag then newspaper 2) add a bit of turps to the brush, and repeat wiping onto newspaper 3) adding a bit of turps to the rag and carefully wrapping the brush in the rag 4) wrapping the rag/brush in a plastic bag, trying to ensure that it is reasonably airtight. 
    6. The following day your board should be dry.
    7. Do DO NOT (oh, PLEASE do not) get the oil-based brush and the acrylic-based brush muddled up. Oil and water do not mix and this will muck the brush up.
    8. Have coffee and cigarette.

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