Welcome back to Technique Tuesdays! First of all, on behalf of all of us at the gallery, allow me to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who attended this past weekend’s opening for Jeremy Mann’s exhibition, as well as the live painting demonstration–especially to Jeremy, for being so kind as to treat us all to that live demonstration!
In just about an hour and a half, Jeremy created before our eyes one of his cityscape compositions. These compositions are typically done in just one or two colors (in this case, black paint and some Prussian blue) and, while Jeremy does consider these to be finished works in and of themselves, they are also a glimpse for the rest of us at exactly what the first stage of his more detailed and colorful cityscapes entails. Each time he paints one of these detailed, colorful cityscapes, Jeremy begins by creating the composition. It was such a thrill to watch how he does it!
Jeremy started with a prepared panel covered in acrylic gesso. This type of gesso is more absorbent than oil gesso, and is Jeremy’s preference for this type of painting. In appearance, this beginning panel was smooth and white.
Initially, Jeremy used a measuring tape and some translucent emulsifier called Liquin on a squeegee to mark his horizon line and help him mark out the general shape of the composition. Next, large blocks of paint were laid onto the panel using an ink brayer, typically a tool used in printmaking.
The method which he then used to create the different values, and therefore shapes in the composition, is called the “reductive” or “subtractive” technique. Rather than creating value and shapes by adding paint in varying amounts and colors, Jeremy rolls paint onto the canvas and adjusts the value by removing a certain amount of that paint. He does this in a variety of ways. Using a myriad of tools, including squeegees, paper towels, a silicone nib, and his own fingers, Jeremy lifts the paint back off of the panel in varying degrees. If there is an area that he wishes to lift the paint to a more extreme degree, sometimes he employs the use of turpenoid or liquin. Interestingly, no paintbrushes are used at all in the creation of his compositions. In the case of one of his more detailed and colorful cityscapes, paintbrushes are not even used until the final phase!
The resulting cityscape compositions that Jeremy creates are truly incredible. The movement, harmony of composition, dynamic variations in value, and the elegant simplicity and effectiveness of his bold mark making all serve to create a stunning finished product.