Monthly Archives: April 2015

In the studio 4/26/2015

Junk in a junk shop–oops!, antique shop–and people milling about doing what people do. Main Street #1 is composed from three photos. I moved figures around, as I often do, in a photo of an antique shop on Main St, and added figures from two other photos. Three photos for a painting is about par for me these…

In the studio 4/25/15

This is a pretty good photo of the unfinished Heated Discussion. It’s at the ‘get it finished any day now’ stage. I enjoy working on details but sometimes I give them too much attention. The stuff in the background is too strong–too busy. Secondary motifs can be jarring when they spill outside their intended place and…

In the studio 4/19/15

I showed Sunday Parade once before when I probably should not have–it was too raw. It’s overcast today and the studio lights (even my ‘natural light’ lamps) wash-out the colors, but I think you can get a sense of what is going on.   Sunday Parade is 42″ x 56.” Although Sunday Parade is an urban street scene,…

What is mineral spirits

What is mineral spirits and how is it used in oil painting? Mineral spirits, or white spirits, is a petroleum-derived solvent. It is distilled from crude oil, and is related to kerosene. Mineral spirits and paint thinner are essentially the same thing. Paint thinner is less refined than mineral spirits and has undesirable byproducts, and, therefore, costs less.…

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Tom Hudson

Someone recently asked about “oil of lavender.”  Oil of spike is an essential oil distilled from lavender flowers. It has been used in oil painting for hundreds of years. Of the three most commonly used solvents, oil of spike (spike lavender) is the most powerful, followed by turpentine. Mineral spirits is the mildest.

Oil of spike lavender has a very pungent smell that many find attractive. It’s used, after all, in perfume and aroma therapy. It doesn’t irritate the skin as turpentine sometimes can. Artists bothered by turpentine or even odorless mineral spirits, can use it as an effective replacement. Its effect in painting is closer to that of turpentine than that of mineral spirits. It dries rapidly and leaves no undesired residue. I use it, but rarely. Its solvent power is too strong. I paint in layers and it can effect existing paint layers if they are not thoroughly dry. Plus, it’s more expensive than turpentine.

But it can be a wonderful addition to mediums. I sometimes substitute it for turpentine in mine. It can be an excellent corrective when combined with ingredients that are too thick, like stand oil or sun-dried oil.

If you are sensitive to turpentine, try oil of spike. It’s available at most art material suppliers. When used, it fills the studio with its very pleasant aroma.

Playhouse Square I

I am working on the drawings for my new series–Playhouse Square–which I wrote about earlier. The series is based on photographs I’ve taken of Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. I wrote before about how I planned to use figures from different days in the same locations, about how I plan to use the entire Square and its…

In the studio 4/12/15

I had another painting session with Graduation Day this morning, primarily on the pig-tailed girl. I spent a lot of time on her hands and the key chain she’s holding. I’m starting to like the pig tail. Most of the background is done in this painting–the sky, cars, buildings, and ground, although the right-hand mass…

Applying an oil ground

I am preparing a bunch of canvases just now–six size 40″ x 50″, and six size 36″ x 48.”  Typically, I apply 2-3 coats of acrylic gesso over 2 coats of GAC 100. I might drop the GAC. Although it’s easy enough to screw up a canvas early on (canvas quality can be poor and tear, stretchers can…