First matter of business in the studio was to keep working on the onion I had started as a tempera painting in August. After many layers of egg and pigment I had enough and decided to work with oils on top. No big deal since this has been a common practice since the Renaissance. It became apparent to me that I will never be a tempera painter, the process is too slow, rigid, tedious and not juicy enough. There was too much tension between the medium and my body. Oil to the rescue I thought! But was it?
Something went wrong during the first layers of egg. The surface was a bit greasy but I didn't think much of it since the paint layers were fresh and to what I could remember from working in this medium years ago, that feel was normal. It wasn't after I had applied some glazes of oil on top when I noticed that there wasn't something right about the whole thing. After letting the oil dry I ran my fingers through the surface and to my astonishment pigment was coming right off, in the same way when you run your fingers through a dusty book. As many artists do, I freaked out. The more I rubbed the more pigment would collect on my fingers. I didn't know what to do. I knew the painting was heading on the wrong direction so I decided to stop and figure out what was I to do.
A few weeks ago I checked the surface again and it was still the same result. But this time the paint film was weak and still fresh. To my surprise, without any effort and with my finger nail, I was able to scratch the surface all the way down to the chalk ground. Paint was coming right off and I felt incompetent. This morning, after staring at the painting for a few minutes trying to come up with a game plan, I attacked it with a palette knife and started to scrape off the paint layers. I proceeded by sanding down the remains of the emerald green I was working with. I only removed the old paint from the background of the picture since this seemed to be the only problem area. Now it is time to do some more damage control with paint and try to bring it back to life.