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Home>Featured Artist>Past Featured Artists>July 09 - Jay Alders
Each month we will feature a new artist that uses the Trekell line of brushes!

Jay Alders - http://jayalders.com/

A painting of mine generally goes through various phases:

The Conceptualization - A free flowing sketching process. Sometimes with a ballpoint pen in some random location, sometimes crayons when hanging out with my nieces, sometimes on my couch with pastels. Whenever it happens. As the idea radiates through me, I work out the lines, shapes, angles and flow of the piece. Sometimes (usually) this goes nowhere. Hence, I have tons of sketchbooks of thoughts. I once read advice to overcome writer's block and it advised to "write for the trash can". I try and do the same artistically. But when a drawing is meant to pursue to the next level, I know it.

The Final Sketch - This is like the blue print. I go back into the pencil or pen sketch and rework the lines, make it work better visually, try out different angles, as if I was shooting a photo of the imaginary scene. Make it as final as possible.

The Panel - At this point or sometimes before hand, I will create a wood panel to size. This process for me is the painter's version of shaping a board. It's an intimate process, for which this blank slate shall soon hold the visual manifestation of the energy in my mind. It involves cutting the panel and supporting beams, sanding and applying gesso several times and toning the panel with a neutral shade of brown, gray or earth tone. My current piece I am working on is for a surfboard model I am coming out with, so I decided to paint it virtually to scale.

Finalize it - I then sketch the finalized drawing on to the panel and rework and tweak out the details.

The Underpainting - This leads me to the monochromatic underpainting, working out the tones and shadows, light source, reflected lights, highlights and accents. I try and make the painting pretty refined in this stage to prepare it for further layers.

I use many techniques of the Old Masters, usually working from background to foreground. I'll introduce the mid-tones and initial semi-opaque colors followed by multiple transparent glazes of colors, letting each layer dry completely before reworking it and gradually working in the darks and opaque lights and fine details.

Depending on what I am painting, I will work wet into wet, or dry brush colors to blend them smoothly, sometimes I will allow brush strokes to show, other times, I enjoy blending more thoroughly. The painting dictates to me what needs to be done. I try and utilize any technique as needed. I have been experimenting with various oil mediums for years. Choosing the right type of oils and in what combination really impacts the way a painting will look. It's not always an exact science, I try and paint most of these middle stages by feel and intuition and try to be one with the painting. It sounds hokey, but it's true.

I also will often paint with the panel being upside down. Since I paint by feel, it helps me have the painting make sense. If I am not focused on what it is always but rather make sure that the light, shadows, tones and colors all work. Painting with the piece upside down flips your perspective around, literally. I also will look at the piece in a mirror a lot for the same purpose.

Emotionally, it's a roller coaster for me. Doing a new painting is similar to being in a relationship. It's that initial excitement and intrigue, the passion, the mystery, the analyzing, the over thinking, the comfort, the frustrations, the mental anguish and confusion. I go through insecure phases where I feel completely hopeless and then go through this extreme euphoria where I feel like I am in the painting and it's all coming together. I have moments where I view the painting as an engineer or scientist and then go to the trance state where I am a mere witness to my own brush.

When it all comes together and the painting is done, I am relieved, exhausted and completely stoked and ready for the next one. It is a true lesson in patience and taking a couple weeks' break afterwards is usually needed to recover from the ride I was just on.

I know that I could easily take short cuts and produce 10 times as many paintings if I was not so particular but artists are remembered for the work we create, not the time it took to create it.

(Interview courtesy of Club of the Waves)




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