Amazing advice on DMP learning from @PaulB
who spent a week in Mark’s studio. Paul, if you read this, thank you for all you share and do here. Blown away by your approach, your thoughtfulness, your artwork (and your work ethic too).
- Take it slow. Correcting a bad drawing later in the painting is difficult, so do it right.
- Overpaint the black steps, and push the next step into it. This means that after painting the black, it looks like a three-year-old painted it with a one inch brush.
- Have faith in the process. Color match accurately, then place the color accurately. Don't look at the canvas and think "this is the wrong color" and adjust it.
- How to paint a thin line with a fat brush? Paint as thin as you can, then overlap the next step.
- Cover the canvas before any blending occurs, if even necessary. I used to think there was no harm in blending as I go. Now I know that when you have covered the canvas, it mostly works without any blending, and blending would only eliminate the texture, flatten an area, and waste time.
- Wear dark colors. I thought this was an exaggeration, but sitting there under very strong lights and a wet canvas, I can see my face reflected in the wet paint. When I bring my hand to the canvas, the reflections obscure the color/value to the point where I can't see what I'm doing. Wear dark, it really helps.
- Mixing all the colors is something done for several reasons. It keeps you focused on the process, and moving forwards, because you just work your way through them from dark to light. It also lets you cover large areas of the canvas without second-guessing it, and gets you to the end so much quicker.
- The initial steps after black are supposed to be very small, it's about subtlety.
- The more steps you have, the less blending you eventually need. A lot of the time you don't need any blending.
- Mix a big puddle of black, you'll need it. Bigger than you think.
- Use at least two brushes, one for just black, one for everything else. The more brushes you use for non-black colors, the quicker you can paint. Having that black brush sitting around was extremely useful for touching up little mistakes.
- If you are painting texture, it doesn't matter what texture you paint, it just has to be a non-uniform area with no discernible pattern. Short brush strokes, rolling the brush, can achieve this. In my painting, you'd swear I painted a velvet background. I didn't. It's just broken brushstrokes and color. It surprised me too.
- When making small brush strokes, don't be afraid to use vivid color.
- When painting a reflected highlight, consider the area immediately around the highlight, it's usually a little muted and soft.
- Work from photographs that are the same size as the painting, life-sized. I've done both, and this is much, much easier.
- Don't waste time cleaning brushes. Just pull them through a paper towel and leave them overnight. No brush dip was used in the studio, no brushes were cleaned.
- Never forget that you can mix your own black, and make it warm or cool as needed. The tube black is just one black, and doesn't always fit the need.
The most important advice:
- Take it slow. Stand back. Ask "which is more subtle?", and fix it.