Search this Blog
Blog Highlights

Quick links to popular categories:

Materials and Techniques

Class Notes

Step-by-step painting demos

Hudson River Fellowship 2009

Women Painting Women Expedition


Blog Archives
« Bottle Collection: Preliminary Drawing | Main | Drawing Vessels »

Wrapped Pitcher: Underpainting

6 x 8 inches oil on panel

It's probably hard to see what the subject is at this early stage of under painting messiness, but it's my favorite little pewter pitcher wrapped up in wax paper.

I'm trying an experiment, so see if I can work on a series of small paintings while I also work on a large painting. My plan is to work most the day on the Big Painting, but reserve an hour or two to work on the smaller project, hopefully one that I can finish in a week.

I'm usually completely focused on one painting at a time, which I like because I go to bed thinking about it and wake up knowing what I'm going to start in the studio instead of dithering about What To Do. But at my current rate of output it will take me forever to get to my goal of 30 portfolio-standard pieces. So I'm hoping I can speed up and start cranking out more than one painting every month or two.

On another note, I've started a new blog devoted to contemporary Women Painting Women. If you have any suggestions for work to include there please email me! sadiej[at]

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (10)

Bah. All my painting stuff is packed up, and I am itching to do some! *experiences envy*

My portfolio is proceeding at a glacial speed too. I was thinking of this exact strategy with regards to my drawings which take, like, half a year to do.

March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

P.S. I'd love to read your new blog. right now it's not letting me :-D

March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

Should work now, forgot to unlock it :)

March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

Sadie, would you mind telling me what type of panel you are painting on? Is it gessoed masonite or hardboard or canvas glued to a board? Just curious as I am wanting to try some different surfaces.

I think the idea of a large painting being worked on while also working small ones is a good one. While I truly enjoy "slow" painting, boredom and a lack of fulfillment can creep in as the days go by. Being able to complete small pieces in the interim can help keep you inspired.

I like the idea of the new blog. I enjoy painting women. We have a window into each other's psyches and there are subtleties of expression that we might pick up on that a male artist may not. A lot of contemporary female artists paint women as did women artists in the past. I'm anxious to see how you proceed.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPat Aube Gray

Hi Pat! I paint on artboard or gessoboard panels and I gesso them myself with home-cooked gesso. However, I haven't found the perfect recipe yet, the surface is a bit too absorbant, dries out the first layer of paint so it can tend to lift off when I apply the next layer. It's great once I get a couple layers of paint going. I'm going to try an oil-based surface prep next, I'll let you know if I like that better." REL="nofollow">I wrote up my whole gesso process a few months ago here.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

Great work Sadie...I am now a follower and thank you for following mine!

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa Rankin

Thanks for putting my blog on your blogroll. Viewing your blog actually got me started with mine. I wanted a venue for connecting with the artistic community, but most blogs I saw were by established artists. Your early posts were a great model for how an emerging artist (or in my case…an aspiring artist) might use a blog for artistic growth. I appreciate that even though you are creating original art of a high level, you still use your blog for understanding and exploring the field, rather than just displaying your latest creation. I like your intellectual connection to your passion, a very potent combination.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCandace X. Moore

Hi Candace, Thanks for your message, glad my blog inspired you! It's fascinating to see your atelier studies, very strong work (love the Boug. study) and I look forward to seeing what you do :)

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

Thanks, Sadie, for the link to the gesso process you used. I must have missed that post before.

I prepared some pretty small panels that same way for egg tempera paintings last year. I decided that this was the main reason the Masters had apprentices - to prepare panels! What a job!

I have a few left - I need to try an oil painting on one of them.

March 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPat Aube Gray

Sure Pat, happy to help! Like I said, the surface is too absorbent for oil paint, but I just read that you can apply a thin layer of damar varnish to seal the gesso layer before you oil paint on it. I'm going to try that with the new painting.

Yeah it is a big project, I'm not looking forward to doing it again when I run out of the current batch of panels!

March 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.