Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky.
John Ursillo. John works very successfully on canvas and taught us all about his techniques. He works on Fredrix Watercolor Canvas boards or Fredrix watercolor canvas paper which comes in a pad. He explained that you could actually work on regular oil paint canvas however, the weave of the canvas for oil painters is more coarse and not as tightly woven making it a little more difficult to achieve fine detail. The photo above shows my choice of a reference photo of the hummingbird and some of my materials. After I drew the outline of the hummingbird in regular pencil, I began drawing lightly with watercolor pencil and then blending it with water to create and build underpainting washes. John suggests spraying each layer of dissolved watercolor pencil with workable fixative before adding subsequent layers of washes. This is a helpful tip but I also found the workable fixative changes the surface of the canvas, makes it less absorbent for subsequent washes.
Next I added color and detail to the bird with regular colored pencil. I like the texture of the canvas, it is smooth enough for detail yet gives the appearance of a textured painting. The bird isn't finished but we were running out of time in the workshop so I began to work on the background and learn how to use solvent on the board. First I laid down a layer of Cool Grey 90% and then a layer of Indigo pencil on top of the grey. I tried John's technique for applying solvent to smooth out the background. I took the yellow brush (bottom left) dipped it in solvent and "pounced" all over the background to melt and blend the pencil. It was a bit of a challenge for me because I'm used to brushing solvent over pencil on other surfaces yet found it resulted in streaks if I used that method on this canvas. I found I just had to keep "pouncing" away to cover the area, it takes some patience and time. To work around the edges of the bird, John suggests sticking post-it notes on the edge as you work so the edge stays clean. My background wasn't completed by the end of the workshop, I hope to finish it in the studio and try working on canvas again. Also, to frame and present work on canvas, John sprays it with coats of Krylon UV Resistant Clear.