October 17, 2014


Last week I went to the Butler Museum in Youngstown and saw Sherrie McGraw's retrospective there. I also got to see Sherrie do a portrait demo. While she demoed she encouraged all to ask any questions they had. Although I think many of her paintings are quite beautiful the one question that I had actually wondered about for a long time was how she and her husband and teacher David Leffel achieve their beautifully luscious and rich grounds. Any demo I had ever seen either of them do they always come to the painting with this medium-dark, rich looking canvas panel. So do I ask how she mixes her paints, or what canvas she uses, or what brand paints she likes (note: she likes Vasari paints), or what brushes she uses. No, I ask her what she does before she even starts painting to get those cool looking canvas panels. I hope I didn't insult her. She didn't seem insulted. She was actually very kind. Kinder than I was wise, and so she told me and this painting from this Friday's open studio was begun with the same method of creating a ground that she uses.


It still wasn't quite as nice as hers but I sort of like how the ground looked and took the paint. It was very similar to this painting.

I think I will be experimenting back and forth with this method as well as the more traditional method of just adding a tone of thinned paint.

Oil on Canvas Panel - 12 x 16


I just can't leave well enough alone. As I do frequently, I try to get away from any painting I do and then try to come back to it with a fresh eye. There were a a couple of things that were bothering me and my wife mentioned some things that I had to agree with, so --- I went back and tweaked those things.
I think it helped. Even thought the color is off a bit from the first shot. 
See if you can spot those tweaks. 

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