Ugh

I’ve been using flake white from Utrecht a lot. Lately, I’ve run into the same problem, namely, tubes with excessive oil content. When I open a fresh tube, a lake of oil pours out. That is what happened with the last tube I opened. You can see what I mean in this photo. I placed…

Stiff

Stiff paint, stiff muscles, stiff brain. This describes my afternoon. I finished a painting this morning and celebrated with a piece of pumpkin pie leftover from Thanksgiving. Back in the studio, I started working on this large painting that is in mid-career. Not in the starting stage but nowhere near the finishing stage either. I…

Working quietly in the corner

In Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, the protagonist studies painting for two years in an atelier school in Paris. At the end of that time, he screws up his courage to ask the master if he actually has talent. The master tells him that his talent is modest; he will never rise above mediocre. This…

Review: Of Human Bondage

Maugham

I’ve had this experience a lot lately. Maybe you have too. You reread a book that you once admired only to discover that it doesn’t resemble in the least what you remember about it. When I originally read Somerset Maugham‘s Of Human Bondage, I thrilled at Maugham’s description of Bohemian Paris where we follow the…

Twin peeks

Making multiple versions of a painting is an interesting exercise. The intent isn’t to produce copies, but, rather, to create variations on a theme. It is especially useful for students. I prepared the drawing for this watercolor with the expectation that my assistant could use it as an exercise. I made the drawing on pastel…

Don’t go to art school

Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, likes to say that degrees from the nonprestigious schools are just expensive dunce caps. He means that today higher education is close to worthless, except that degrees from the top schools still get you interviews. I think he’s right. Don’t go to college unless you’re in the right STEM…

Photography

I’m a Nikon fanboy. My Nikon D750 is the best piece of gear that I’ve ever owned. Of course, good consumer that I am, I’m lusting after the Z 7 ii that Nikon announced last week. I’m not a pro photographer–far from it. Actually, I have a confession to make. When I was starting out,…

White siccative

I’ve written plenty of times about my medium. My medium is perfect for me but there are some corner cases. The medium is darkish and for the high-key colors, it can be too strong. White siccative is not found in the literature as much as the dark variety that I am used to, siccative Courtrai.…

My easel is not worthless

I wrote glowingly about the Utrecht easel that I purchased. I said that it was a great bargain–an under-$300 medium-duty easel. But soon a support broke and the mechanism to lower and raise the tray support was frustratingly difficult to use. My praise transformed to scorn. I repaired the broken support with glue and a…

Odd day

I was in the studio at 6:00 AM to prepare my palette. I had to scrape-down the entire surface. Most mornings I take a pause to gather my thoughts before starting to paint, but yesterday I plunged right in. I couldn’t wait to pick up the brush. Things were going great when I put down…

In the kitchen

For the most part, I’ve stopped showing the early stages of my paintings. One thing that I’ve learned after running this site for 8 years is that readers assume that I only post finished work–the opposite of what I actually do. But one of the reasons for this blog is pedagogical. I like sharing information…

Watercolors yes

I was a little rusty with watercolors when I started this painting. It’s good-quality paper but I forgot to dampen it before I started. Duh. I finally got it going and finished it quickly (for me–2 sessions). I plan a series of small (9″ x 12″) watercolors like this one. The goal is to keep…