My Technique for Monochromatic Figures

Black and White Ladies

HOW I CREATE

Bringing these mysterious ladies to life is such a joyful and contemplative process.

Who are they? What’s their story? Where are they going and what are they turning from? The element of mystery is enhanced by their anonymity, as their faces never show. Always looking ahead, never looking back.

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These are all oil on canvas and I create them in a single sitting and I love the freshness and decisiveness this requires.

They’re painted in reverse as a think layer of paint is applied to the canvas first and is pulled away with solvent, like turpentine, using paint brushes, qtips, cotton balls, rags and a number of other unusual materials.

 
qtips painting Kaitlin Merchant Davison Artist kdmerchant.jpeg
 

Creating these often feels like what I imagine sculpting to feel like as I “chip away” at the dark paint to bring in the light.

This technique is a variation on “imprimatura painting” or “under paintings” that was used commonly during the renaissance time. This initial layer would guide the values of light and dark and provide a framework that the artist would layer thin glazes of color on top of to arrive at a realistic image.

 
Rag and Paintbrush Kaitlin Merchant Davison Artist kdmerchant studio scenes.jpeg
 

Many oil painters continue use this technique today as a way to guide their painting. Most commonly these are rough sketches. I’ve loved evolving my technique to make them completed paintings.


While I create these, I consider history and how far we’ve come and yet how much remains relevant.


Available Paintings I Figurative Portfolio