I don’t paint when I paint, I draw

I used to believe that I was an artist who mostly liked to draw and paint, with photography and video following in the shadows of my pen and brush. In fact, for a few years before I took up studying art again I actively chose painting over drawing. Since studying art, however, I have been drawing more and more and painting less and less.

A pre-degree painting of the sea

I have just come to this realisation about my painting style: I don’t paint with paint, I draw with paint. 

I believe it is possible to draw with paint. Of course it is, in that you can make marks with paint, write with paint, and sketch with paint. That is true. But drawing with paint is slightly different I think. Drawing is a more measured, deliberate activity than sketching or mark making.

My drawing tools

When I paint, the one area of painting I am not very good at is background. I seem to resist painting in the background, whatever it may be. I always have. I also resist canvas painting. I’d much rather paint on walls or hard wood. And when I paint on such surfaces, the background tends to be of a plain colour, with no detail. The things I paint seem to desire to float on the flat surface. So this leads me to conclude that I don’t paint, I draw.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t blend colours. I definitely do blend colours and I like to blend colours. That is one the great joys of oil paint – the smooth, ease with which colours can be altered and shaded. The quick, easy form that can be created with paint is fascinating. I love that. It is much harder and more laborious to create a sense of form and dimension with pencil or pen. There is a richness to drawing with paint that you cannot get with pens or pencils.

Currently I am ‘drawing’ a series of paintings based on the Virtual Reality drawings of ‘can’t live without’ objects I gathered via social media. Those will feature in the next blog post. For now, I’m just thinking about the art of drawing with paint. 

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