Letter 9: putting flesh on the bones
I have to ask, maybe I'm missing something, but my own admittedly limited experience leaves me unable to understand things like this: "...when your strengthening paint is really dark and really flowing" and "strengthening paint is as unlike tracing paint or undercoating paint as it is possible to be" and "flooding paint must be runny." If I start with what I'll call a "standard lump" consisting of pigment and gum arabic and water or glycol or some liquid or other, then the only way I know of to change how it goes on the glass (light, dark, runny, whatever) is to vary the amount of liquid I add to it. When I make it "really flowing" for example, it's automatically not "really dark." If I make it runny enough to stay wet while flooding a large empty area, then (again in my limited experience) it's too thin, i.e. doesn't have enough pigment, to be opaque in one coat, at least not consistently across the whole flooded area. Do I just need to practice more, or is there actually some difference in the lump itself, or have I just not found the sweet spot where every physical property of the paint comes together in a fine balancing act?
Yes, McGilchrist is provocative. So happy to learn you followed up with him. I am working through his book, The Master and his Emissary. Much to ponder.
I am confused : »Instead, lines—all lines: thin lines, thick lines, light lines, dark lines, regular lines and shaped lines—went down one after the other and in one go till every last one of them was in its place, the design still underneath the glass. «. And earlier you say that you removed the drawing...?
2 questions: 1) after straightening, you clean your lines, don’t you? If so then you scratch the undercoat...letting light pass, no? 2) you straighten more than once sometimes with the same actual lump? Meaning , same ratio gum arabic etc? No dissolving of the first lines? As you know, I work only with vinegar and if needed glycol . All of that probably because of my lack of skills (speed...) with water , that I « learned » to despise.
As usual your Letter is pertinent and eye opening. I will probably write more than one comment since my poor attention span (only very focused when my hands are working or holding a glass of gin, rum, whiskey) do not allow me to synthesize all at the same time. I must say that I struggle with the undercoat & darkening (tracing is easy). Because if I make a mistake , i loose the undercoat.
Thank you for this most detailed and instructive letter, along with a bit of autobiography.
BTW: One of your countrymen - Iain McGilchrist - has written a seminal work on brain physiology and how we attend to our world. (The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, 2009). He answers many questions concerning left brain/right brain interest.