Sketching and Painting Process

Marvin Saltzman works in series', and his meticulous painting process outlined below has existed in all of the series' from 1987 onward. 

Sketching: Sketches are first completed on-sight using #2B solid graphite pencils on Rives 11” x 14” paper. Then the sketches are worked into drawings and placed into Lucite frames and hung to the right and left of his easel. When working on any painting, the drawings exist out of the corner of his eye, but are never copied.

The series is then worked in layers:

Layer 1: The first layer of paint is yellow ochre, creating the composition. The composition will not change throughout the paintings growth.

Layer 2: The second layer uses dark action lines to define movement, not with black, but with alizarin crimson mixed with either ultramarine blue or viridian green which sends back color vibrations, where black would absorb light.

Layer 3: The third layer places varied color wherever the white canvas still exists.

Layer 4: The forth layer places a new ground of color that covers the remaining yellow ochre and establishes what he calls the “drift.”

Layer 5: The fifth layer emphasizes the drift and leaves marks of color that he calls “glyphs.” The fifth layer begins to redefine the drift and eliminates or reduces many of the glyphs.

Layer 6:  The final stage reduces the size of most of the glyphs.  The color drifts become softer in transition one color or tone to another. Final editorial decisions pull the total canvas into this completed formation.