Entries by Alan Ray

The Copper Challenge

This autumn, I wanted to see how painting directly on a 10″ x 8″ copper panel compares to painting on linen glued to an aluminum panel — my normal support for oil painting. Copper has a long history and solid reputation among traditional painters. I want to see if it will make bright objects like brass and lemon glow. So begins the Copper Challenge. In this post, I describe my setup and approach to both my “control” panel on linen and my copper panel.

Lonesome vs. Wild

In this post, I compare two self-portraits: “Lonesome”, completed in spring 2018, and “Wild”, a new version in progress. For each, I adopted a different approach to portraiture — a direct alla prima approach in the first case, and a traditional, the indirect approach for the other.

Three Square Foot Paintings

Painting on a square panel presents a challenge from the perspective of composition. There’s less room to lead the viewer’s eye into and around the painting.  It’s tempting to put the focal point in the dead centre and be done with it, but the result can be boring if the subject isn’t compelling. In this post, I describe three square foot paintings on cradled wood paintings that I prepared for the annual square foot show at the Westland Gallery in London, Ontario.

Revisiting a Portrait

Artists are rarely satisfied with a finished painting. At the end, you know it’s too late to improve a composition or other fundamentals.  But sometimes you know you can still improve what’s on the surface by tweaking colours, some values, and edges. In this post, I discuss a portrait painting I revised by repainting the face and hands to improve on the skin tones.