After a trip to the art store I may have determined the best surface for my figure in oil paintings. Well, at least the surface that I prefer at the moment.
I’m painting on a Strathmore 140 lb cold press watercolor paper. The paper already has some texture to it but not the kind that I feel would facilitate pulling the paint off the brush. To add a bit of even texture to the surface I used a printmaking roller to apply the gesso.
The trick to getting texture with a flat roller is to keep rolling the gesso out on the surface. Eventually after a few passes with the roller the gesso will start to dry and become tacky. It is easy to tell when the gesso is as the right dryness because the roller will start to make a sticking sound, kind of like a hiss as it rolls over the paper. This produces millions of little peaks in the gesso and creating a very even slight texture.
This figure in oil painting went very well and I can attribute its success to two things. First was the fact that I spent 2 hours on it rather than just 1 hour like all the previous. Secondly I spent a lot of time on the drawing. I’ve noticed that when I sit down to start a painting I want to rush into the paints, so inevitably I rush through the drawing. Now I’m changing my mindset a bit, and when I sit down I tell myself, “The drawing is the most critical, get it right then relax with paint”.