By Kent Lovelace
The painting Dolmen (above) depicts an area in rural France that’s believed to be the quarry site for a prehistoric dolmen (tomb) found five kilometers up the valley. Below I describe my painting process for this piece, particularly the glazing.
I paint in oil on a copper support, which gives my finished paintings a luminescence or glow. After sanding the copper support, I create a monochomatic underpainting of the land and plant forms (but not the sky) with Old Holland neutral tint. Painting with old, stiff brushes allows the copper to come forward. You can see the directional marks in the foreground of Dolmen. I use a razor blade or rubber scraper when I want especially clean marks.
Once the underpainting is finished, the color glazing begins. For this I use transparent or translucent paints that let hints of copper shine through. The paint films are very thin. Even if you can’t see the copper, you can feel its presence.
Glazing Tree Forms
I began glazing the tree forms of Dolmen primarily with umber green, yellow ochre and cobalt blue. In much of the painting, I utilized the purple-ish underpainting for darks and subtle texture. I created the light on the trunks by using the transparent nature of both Liquin and Cremnitz white over the warm tone of the copper and the darker neutral tint of the underpainting. I made highlights and shadows with cobalt and manganese violet reddish.
Glazing Upper Land Forms
For the upper elements of the lands forms, I glazed the underpainting with yellow ochre, umber green, violet and Cremnitz white, I chose a mixture of yellow ochre, Cremnitz white and Italian brown pink lake for the area beneath the outcrop. In the foreground I glazed with transparent Italian brown pink lake over the textured brushwork of the underpainting.
Glazing the Sky Area
For the sky area, which was painted directly on the copper without an underpainting, I used cobalt blue, blue violet, manganese violet reddish and Cremnitz white.
As a master lithographer, in 1979, Kent Lovelace founded Stone Press Editions. During his final years there, he began painting in oils on copper. Lovelace has exhibited work widely in galleries and universities throughout North American, Europe and Japan, and his work is in private, public and corporate collections throughout the world. Visit his website at www.kentlovelace.com. Read more about Lovelace in the September 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.
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