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Artist Demonstration

GessoThe Process of Oil Painting differs from painter to painter and often includes certain customary steps. First, the artist prepares the surface.  Gregory Sievers' canvas is often a linen or cotton fabric. He usually prepares a wooden frame called a “stretcher.” Then the canvas is pulled across the frame and stapled firmly to the back edge.  The canvas pictured above however, was ordered and delivered in a  specific size, for a commissioned painting because of its large shape.


SketchGreg prefers to gesso the canvas for two reasons; first it helps the oil paint adhere to the canvas and second it creates a warm foundation in his color pallet.  While many painters have used panels for paintings (for instance Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa) these can be susceptible to cracking.

Block_in_Negative_SpaceNext Greg sketches an outline of his subject before applying oil paint to the surface. He has said that you can make or break any work of art within the first few minutes of painting.  Plotting out size, shape and keeping in mind your negative space all contribute to the sketch.  Without a strong composition you have nothing.

Color_and_ShapeEach painting may require many different brushes.  A painting this large was started with a brush similar to one you might paint a wall with! Brushes are normally prepared from different fibers to make different effects. Sizes of brushes even create different effects. “Bright” brushes are used to apply broad swaths of color. The artist may also use paint with a palette knife that is a flat, metal blade. A palette knife might be used to remove paint from the canvas when necessary. A painter may also use unusual tools, such as rags, sponges and cotton swabs.

CompleteGreg paints in layers, a method first introduced in the Egg Tempera painting technique, and then adapted in Northern Europe for use with linseed oil paints. After this layer dries Greg applies "glazes" to the painting, using a process of "Fat over Lean" that means more oil paint ratio than the previous layer. This method is known as "Alla Prima."

When the image is finished and dried, an artist will normally seal the work with a layer of varnish usually made from Damar gum crystals dissolved in turpentine. Linseed oil or Liquin may be used to add luster and protect the oils from direct sunlight.