Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hair Day

If there's something that's going to drive me absolutely batty one day, it's painting hair. To look good, the lines have to be long and smooth and there has to be variation in the width of the stroke. There is no trick here. First, load up about a relatively stiff #8 brush with black paint that's been watered down to about the texture of cake batter. For this I like to use a relative new brush. Second, take a deep breath, hold it, start in an area where the line will be thin and go. Not too slow and not too fast. Go too slow and your hand will jitter, but go too fast and you'll lose control. Think of a conductor waving a wand during a relatively slow-paced sonata. Light pressure gives you a thinner line, but as you go around a bend, you apply heavier pressure and get a thicker line. I have to be wide awake but not too hopped up on java to pull it off.
You may wonder if I'm totally ADD because I've got wisps of hair all over the painting and there doesn't seem to be anything systematic about which line I choose to do next. Waiting in the wings is a sopping wet paper towel for not if, but when I screw up. I go to an area of the painting where everything else is dry and start there. When things go awry I grab the paper towel quickly and wipe. If I were to wipe when there were other wet areas near, I would start a cascade of smudges. That would seriously be no fun.

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