impasto, and washes
This is the fourth day of working on this canvas, and I’m really pleased with this painting. In an effort to capture that glowing light that was falling on Jimmy’s face, I loaded on more paint to the side of the forehead, the beard, the nose to cheekbone. Three years ago, I stood in the Pitti Palace in Florence, and was in awe of a painting which glowed from fifty feet away. A painting of an old man, the light was glowing off of the canvas. There was such life, something I can’t put in to words. As I drew closer, there was thick, goopy paint clinging to the canvas. These thick impastos were globbed on, but I noticed that the thick paint was beside thin washes. Impastos, in the context of thin, turpentine washes. It was a sudden revelation, that these impastos only worked because they were sparingly employed. Were the whole canvas thick, impastoed paint, then thick, impastoed paint would have no significance. As time went by, my understanding of pairings crystallized. In order to have light, you have to have dark, in order to have impastos, you have to have thin washes. This applies to the other arts as well. In order to have the soaring harpsichord climax of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5., it has to be compositionally surrounded by the comparatively quiet flute and brushy strings. In Hugo’s Les Miserables, in order for Jean Valjean to be grace in Christ, Javert must be the Mosaic law. In Bill Watterson’s work, in order for Calvin to be chaos, Suzy must be order. Impasto, and washes.
Between you and I, there is substantial art historical evidence that Rembrandt was a spackler, as well as a painter.