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Creating a Roadside Masterpiece

Author: Larry Seiler, Contributing Editor

After getting a feel for what I want to do, there is no time to waste. I'm feelin' inspired, and the sun isn't going to sit around and wait. So...I set up my French easel....an El Greco Mahogany backpacker's model, and organize my paint. I put out a warm and cool of each primary: Van Dyke Brown, Naple's Yellow, and Titanium white.

I mix Garrett's Copal medium (http://www.garrettcopal.com) with each color using my palette knife, and enough such that the paint won't be runny, but a thick and buttery consistency; careful to wipe the knife clean with each color.

Note, that I wear latex rubber gloves for safety and easier clean-up. I also attach a plastic garbage bag to my easel which makes tossing all dirty rags and paper towels away convenient.

I fill my reservoirs, one with turpenoid and the other with copal medium.

All set to go, I visualize my compositional statement, and often use my hands to frame what I'll focus on. Note how I squint my eyes to reduce and limit my focus on details, making seeing light and dark patterns easier.

I take an old shirt, rip off a rag...wrap it around my index finger and dip into turps and pigment to block in my visual masses. Darks, cool areas as well as warm, squinting my eyes. This is done very rapidly. The whole painting is blocked in within perhaps ten minutes or less.

Here...the rag block in is complete. The surface I'm painting on is gessoed masonite, and the turps with paint soaks into the board rather quickly, and is ready to paint over nearly immediately.

It makes a great underpainting, some of which will show through the final painting.

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