About My Painting Technique

(Because I have been asked about it so often) (2014)

Until about 2002 I created almost all of my paintings using the following technique, which, however, I gave up entirely afterwards: Firstly, after sketching out a delicate first pencil drawing on hard-sized paper (usually Schoellersheimer or Zander Parole double rough), which is then worked out more precisely with diluted ink, multiple layers of very liquid paint (Schminke Aerocolor, very finely pigmented acrylic paint) are sprayed onto the piece of paper by means of a fixative atomizer (a kind of thin, kinked, metal blowpipe that painters used to employ to fixate delicate drawings before spray cans were invented).

In this process, another piece of paper, tape or a type of mildly adhesive foil (masking film) can be used to cover parts of the picture that should stay free of paint. That is, for example, a round moon in a night sky: firstly, one covers the moon and in several steps sprays the sky with a dark blue; then one covers the sky and lightly sprays the moon with yellow paint. This actually works in a similar way to sprinkling paint on paper by means of a screen and toothbrush, which is a painting technique many might remember from school.

I continue painting on this colored foundation with a very fine drawing nib (Brause & Co. No.513) und various colored, highly diluted inks. Dot after dot and line after line. In the beginning, I “smooth“ the surface of the painting, which is usually rather coarse-grained after the spraying, in several layers until a grainy but at the same time soft, shimmering paint structure emerges.

Then I work out all the details, the shadows, the light, the precise coloring. Sometimes I use a scalpel to scrape out small lights. This is important because employing this technique I do not use any white paint at all. The painting develops slowly, by way of many superposed layers and a very long procedure.

As I said above, now I do not use this technique anymore: since then I have been painting my newer pictures using wider brushes and acrylic paints, also oil paint on occasion. Sometimes on canvas, usually on paper or cardboard. The grainy structure of the paintings, if present, is now created by dabbing paint onto the surface with very dry brushes of various widths, later also layer by layer using increasingly thin and extremely thin brushes. It is a procedure of slow condensation and refining, which you have to indulge in and which I cherish very much.

More information about my painting process can be found in this interview by Lucia Peters (German, 2017).

© Quint Buchholz (2019)