I've always maintained that I'm self-taught. However, I briefly studied with two teachers at opposite ends of the spectrum; one was a French Academic painter and the other a thoroughly modern a la prima portrait painter.
About 10 years ago, I attended a lecture by Andy Goldsworthy in Purchase, NY, while visiting some artist friends. He's a conceptual artist who uses natural materials to alter the environment. He once made a giant snowball, put it in a freezer and took it out in the middle of London in July. He lined the top of a stone wall with sheep's wool to make it look like snow. You get the idea. He started the lecture by telling the audience he "loved working with his hands". Everyone oo-ed and ah-ed right on cue, while I was thinking to myself, "Oh boy, this is going to be a long afternoon!" To my credit, I stayed, listened and took away one of the most important lessons I've ever learned. He got me thinking about the importance of conceptualizing the idea before creating the work. He turned out to be one of my most important influences, though I never would have imagined it at the beginning of the lecture. He helped me to realize all the technical ability in the world isn't enough. You have to have some idea of what it is you want to say. Finding your voice is as important as learning to mix colors. It sounds corny, I know, but it's true.
Okay, now let's get to the wash-in.
I use a brown wooden palette to correspond to wash-in, which facilitates seeing the values and colors more easily. Remember my post "Out In the Field - An Improvement" (4/29/16) about how the same color looks completely different on different backgrounds? If you have a toned canvas and a white palette, the color you mix on the white palette will be wrong when it's applied to the canvas, unless you're a very experienced painter. So make it easy on yourself and use a palette that matches your canvas.
If you decide this is all too time-consuming or you just prefer to work directly on a white canvas, you'll want to use a white palette for mixing your colors, since it directly corresponds to your white canvas.
|The finished wash-in, left on the easel to dry overnight.|