Oil Painting: Sarah Lamb's Technique & Materials

061008lambtease1_679x577In the November 2006 issue of American Artist, we explored how oil painter Sarah Lamb's passion for cooking brought a new sensibility to the art of still life. We present an excerpt from the article.

by John A. Parks

2005, oil on linen, 17 x 20. Private collection.

The artist usually paints on quadruple-primed linen, although she will occasionally use Claessens single-primed linen “just for a change.” She begins by toning the canvas a neutral gray and then does an underpainting in raw umber in which she develops a fairly full rendition of her subject, washing in the shadows and wiping out the lights. Lamb begins work in color before the underpainting has dried, using mostly synthetic sable brushes along with some real sable. She doesn’t use a hand-held palette, preferring to set a large, flat palette at an angle close to the painting. The paint is applied in a lively fashion, using some dragging and overlayering. Occasionally, to achieve a specific effect— such as the whitish, furry nap on the fruit in Peaches—she will use a little glazing at the end of the process. For the most part, however, the illusion is achieved with good choices of color and tonal values, sophisticated drawing, and a strong feel for the paint itself.

To read more features like this, check out the November 2006 issue of American Artist.

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