PART 1 of 2 | Building Up Slow & Steady | Katherine McNenly | Artist | The Ten Collective
I find that light is the great equalizer in art. Whether a subject is considered aesthetically pleasing or not is not as important to me as to how it is represented. The play of light on the subject and the natural design which it creates, embodies what is beautiful in a painting to me. It is no surprise that Vermeer has always been one of my favourite artists.
Working from life with natural light is my preference; however it can be somewhat of a challenge. The light changes dramatically from season to season here, and there are short daylight hours in the winter. I have a large window that faces north-east, so the light is fairly constant, but the light can be warmer or cooler depending on the seasons and the weather. So I try to start and finish pieces within the same season.
Many painters whom I admire, such as Vermeer and Chardin, worked up their paintings in a multi-layered approach. Each layer is a foundation for the next, ultimately building up to the desired finish. It is a very slow approach to painting, but I love the possibilities that a layered technique can provide. There is an opportunity to utilize transparency and opacity in paint, and build interesting colour effects and textures, by varying the thickness of the paint. This process allows the artist to better represent a naturalistic reality, if that is one's objective. This traditional approach to painting allows one to methodically make decisions about colour, tone and the drawing throughout the painting process.