Growing a Painting Practice

Growing a Painting Practice

Kenny Jensen Blog Post #12


Once I decided to give it a go as a painter again, the first step was to create a bunch of panels to paint on. I started out with a dozen panels in the beginning of January, and by April I had around 35 plywood panels in many sizes fabricated mostly from repurposed plywood and lumber left over after various art handling jobs etc. (Big thanks to St. Cate Fine Art for thinking of me and hooking me up:) In the past I have used acrylic paint to mixed results, but I have always been most interested in the look and feel of painting with oils. I have a good friend Seth Ellis who painter that also makes oil paint. He has worked with multiple small/local paint making businesses.  Most of the oil paint I have used over the past past 6 months is from Marion Street Art Materials located in Tampa. I just received a new batch of paints this afternoon from Blue Ridge Oils Paints where he currently works in Asheville NC. I am very excited to try them out once I complete construction on my new studio space!



Dozens on blank canvas/panels and a burden to produce results can be a daunting task. One strategy I used to help jump right into the process was to first paint a bunch of backgrounds without nessecarily needing to know what comes next. The exercise was helpful in many ways, and I learned much about working with the oils and colors, and creating interesting layers and textures. Ultimately I learned a better way to approach starting paintings through this process. I have included several images of backgrounds as wall as process of creating them.

For the first round, I used up my remaining stock of water based spray paint to create color and texture to be the first layer for a series of square paintings.


I even collaborated a little bit with my 5 yr old son Cedar to make some marks along side the insect marks on some panels…
I had a lot of fun drawing like a kid too.




I have been exploring various strategies, techniques and styles of starting paintings. In particular I have been experimenting with different underpainting techniques. Some of the paintings I am interested in making involve detailed and complicated forms and imagery from my own photography, so I used a projector to help transfer the proportions and tones to surface using gradients of one color first. Again, this process yielded mixed results, but it was very useful toward understanding a better way to approach it.

Earlier this year when I started thinking about what and how I was interested in painting, I dug back through my many conceptual photography projects from the 2000s and found some images I was really interested in as potential painting series – both because I would love to see them as paintings and it would be great practice. Thus far I have only gotten as far as  a dozen underpainting. I look forward to following through with the next steps to see how they turn out…




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