Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The hog fan brush

When I paint in oil, I rely on a limited number of hog and synthetic brushes. Once in a while, I am in a situation where a special tool is required.

For the painting “Respect the beach”, I wanted to achieve the following effects with the background:

  • Convey the weathered look of the paint on the car bodywork.
  • Obtain a greyish colour so that the yellow numbers on the plate and the chrome would shine by contrast.
  • Achieve a smooth rendering, without any obvious brush marks, to let the number plate and the chromed handle become the centre of attention.

"Respect the beach" - oil painting by Benoit Philippe

I would normally let the initial layer of paint to dry and then apply successive glazes on top until I obtain the level of smoothness required. In this case, I painted this work alla prima (in one go), so I had to find another way.

I proceeded in two stages. First, I blocked-in the background by mixing some greys with three different blue colours as the main ingredient:

  • Manganese blue (from Bloockx)
  • Cerulean Blue (Winsor & Newton)
  • French Ultramarine (Winsor & Newton)

I added just enough Sanodor solvent to apply this layer comfortably without loosing the paste consistency. I established the shadow areas and the lighter ones, but I was not happy with the colours which were too striking and blue.

The hog fan brush

For the finishing stage, I applied a glaze of Ivory black with a hog fan. Ivory black is a semi-transparent colour and therefore suitable for glazing. I poured a puddle of painting medium on my palette and added some Ivory black to it. There was also some grey I had mixed earlier that get into the mix.

I applied the mixture with the hog fan. The bristles on the fan are spread out and did not remove the fresh underpainting. The glaze formed a grey film that tuned down the initial blue colour. At the same time, it created a smooth transition between the different shades and removed brush marks.

The hog fan left some distinctive marks in some areas (some parallel lines created by the each spread-out bristle). These marks become invisible if you step away from the canvas and they contribute to the battered look of the paint.


Lokelani Forrest said...

Thanks so much for your progressive steps on this piece. Very helpful. Also, really do like this painting.

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