Finally, a day free of business responsibilities, taxes, correspondence, volunteer commitments, and pain from my healing shoulder, a day to finally paint after four plus months! Where to begin? I thumbed through my research files for subject matter, sorted through storage filled with various papers, rag boards, canvas, Sintra, and Masonite panels, opened sticky lids to jars of acrylic paint some of which were semi hardened, put out my brushes and wondered why I’d saved some splayed and furry, others stiff and unmanageable. General housekeeping in an area of abandonment.
At first I had a grand plan to begin with a large masterpiece. Rethinking I decided it might be best to warm up on some small studies, test the shoulder stamina, and see if the long period of rest helped the carpal tunnel in my right hand. I found an 8″ x 10″ stretched canvas purchased years ago that had fallen behind the larger panels in the vertical storage slots. I really hate painting pointillism on small canvas surfaces, the texture is so rough that detail is impossible with dots. It is better to use the smooth, flat surface of cold-press rag paper or rag board, but on reflection I thought “why not try it?”. So this is how my little study of a bull caribou began.
The first layer was a quick wash of the complimentary color of the proposed finished pointillism layer. The orange sky seemed garish and shocking, but I reminded myself that layers and layers of bluish dots would eventually cover most of it leaving only small glimpses of the original under painting showing at the end. One advantage of painting small is; it goes fast! I rarely paint small but after working on this piece for awhile I decided that I would ease myself back into production with a series of small studies.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska wildlife artist