Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Another look at “The diving board”

I want to come back to the painting “The diving board” because of particular techniques I used in this painting that led to interesting effects.

The diving board - oil on linen canvas (27 cm x 22 cm) by Benoit Philippe

A blue background
I like to prepare my canvasses with tinted grounds (read the article “Making MDF canvas panels" for an explanation of my normal process).

When I finished "Watching the sharks at Monterey", I had a large amount of Manganese blue and Cobalt blue left on my palette. I hate to waste good paint, so I decided to prepare a couple of canvasses with a coat of blue. The result was very different from my usual muted mid-tone tinted canvas. Manganese blue is a potent colour that almost screams at you. The nickname “electric blue” would suit this colour. It is also a transparent colour, so the white of the canvas makes it glow.

Because the background colour was intense, touches of light colour appeared very luminous by contrast. Yellow hues also contrasted on top of there complimentary colour.

As the background has a rich colour, I let is show on purpose. The water was an obvious place where the background could be used, but I also let a blue border at the top of the springboard. This way, it looks like the springboard is glowing. In addition, the sparks of blue background showing though all around the painting give the work a great unity.

Blue background showing in the water

The blue "glow" around the springboard

Using the texture of the canvas

The canvas is a Lefranc & Bourgeois linen canvas that I bough in France. The fabric is sturdy with a strong texture.

By using an almost dry brush technique, I took advantage of the natural texture of the canvas. I also preserved the intensity of the blue background between the planes of colours.

On the springboard itself, I painted with a light touch and you can see some hints of blue underneath the muted yellow paint.

Light application of paint lets see the blue background underneath

For the sky, I scrubbed the paint in and the texture of the canvas is visible in the clouds.

No comments: