I recently acquired a bunch of used canvases. They went from being used for art, to being repurchased and covered with fabric to hang in a coffee shop as a music sound buffer so the sound wouldn’t reverberate, and then I acquired them after the coffee shop closed. I removed the fabric to find various conditions of canvas underneath. Some could easily be Gessoed over while others had assorted types of paper glued onto them. I pulled off as much debris as I could.
I applied a liberal layer of Gesso to this one. When it dried, I had a somewhat rough white canvas with a lot of texture. I wanted to do a scratch art design, in particular, a wild horse. I found a picture of a horse that I liked. I drew an enlarged outline of the horse on velum paper in pencil to serve as a pattern. In my mind’s eye I imagined trees and sun in the background and I wanted vibrant colors to show through. With this in mind, I painted acrylic paints on the canvas, with a 1″ flat brush. I chose bright blues, purples, oranges, golds and reds, blocking in patches of colors where I imagined the trees would be. Once I had the gesso covered in colored paint, I allowed this to dry.
Next, I sprayed the entire canvas with semi-gloss black paint. I made sure to do this outdoors. After that dried, I flipped my pencil drawing of the horse over and used white chalk to cover the design on the wrong side. Once I had a good coating of chalk on the back, I flipped the horse pattern right side up and placed it on my canvas, taping it in a few places with masking tape to hold it in place. Next, I used a stylis to trace over the lines of the horse. This gave me a faint white outline of the horse to work with. I didn’t trace the background but planned to do that freehand.
I wanted the lighter highlights of the horse to show through so I scraped more heavily in those areas, doing minimal scraping where I wanted the the most shadow. I began scraping by using a small awl which looks a lot like a miniature ice pick. I switched between that and an exacto knife which I wanted to scracp more heavily. When I finished with the horst for the most part, I began scraping my background.
Once all had this in, I still felt that the brighter highlights were too dim. In the past I have worked with colored pencil and I love the three-dimensional look they can provides. I use white pencil and some other pastels to bring out the clouds, mountains and add some pizzaz to the painting. I also cross-hatched in places for more effect and texture. I’ve included a close up so you can see the details on the horse’s head.
Here is a link to the painting in my Indiemade Shop