Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Dragons: Day 2a – Really Boring Underpainting

A small blue patch of oil paint on a very big canvasToday’s ‘fun’ was putting the undercolour onto a canvas for my dragon painting. It’s the colour of a big chunk of the painting itself, and the part that I will want to do roughly. This means that any breaks I have in my upper layers will show through, and the blue will catch that, instead of white showing. I took my biggest oil brush, which was an inch across, and covered a canvas that was 2′ by 2 1/2′. It took a long, long time, and the only plus point was that I didn’t have to actually watch the paint dry. I also painted up several pieces, as I had enough undercolour and I really dislike doing it. Normally it happens at the end of a working day, when I have paint left over so I mix it up and prep a canvas with the result. That’s fine for most things, as I have a variety of painted canvases and can choose the one I need, but in this particular case, I needed to have the right size and the right colour together, and I didn’t even have the correct size.

This day’s preparation easily folds into the amount of time spent on the watercolour. It’s my time, but it’s not a skilled job, and it didn’t take me more than about an hour. This is materials cost rather than my time cost, in most of my calculations. The canvas cost me £20, the paint cost about £3-£5, and my time was spent chatting with my cell-mates and listening to music while my hand moved. I just had to keep the paint film even.