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The “Wipe Out” Method

By August 15, 2016Uncategorized

As difficult as it is to get painters to apply enough paint, it’s even harder to get them to take it back off again, unless they’re trying to rub out a mistake. The “Lift Up” or “Wipe Out” method is not for obliterating mistakes, it’s a fast way to shape light and dark values on the canvas. The brush loaded with dark paint makes dark shapes, the “Lift” makes light shapes. See?

The technique is simple: Once the canvas has been covered with a solid layer of dark or medium-dark paint, a lintless cloth or brush can be used to bring back the white of the canvas. The cloth or brush can be dry, or it can be dipped in a bit of odorless mineral spirits (for oil paint) or water (for acrylic paint). This method of painting is similar to watercolor in that the white surface supplies the primary light source, and produces a fresh and glowing effect. The wipe up technique is easy in oils, but it can also be used with acrylics if you’re quick.

Experiment 1: The Wipe Up method is great for underpaintings if you’re starting with thin paint (like the video below), or “alla prima” – painted in one sitting – if you’re starting with thick paint (like mine above).

Experiment 2: This technique has a very different look on white gessoed panel vs white gessoed canvas. Try both surfaces, and see what you like better.

Suggested Product:
Blue Shop Towels (from any hardware store)


Pictured at the top of this post:
My 15 minute demo; a fast study of a self portrait by Eugene Carrier, a Wipe Out champion. For this demo, I used a blue shop towel and then a little titanium white for highlights and solidity.

Video Below:
A demo from Georgetown Atelier, in Seattle.  www.georgetownatelier.com

This has nothing to do with anything.


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