Turpentine journal 11/19/17

Upsidedown. It’s useful to look at your paintings in mirrors or upsidedown, as I’ve down here.  The old rule-of-thumb maintains that a painting should be balanced when looked at normally and in a mirror.  That old rule-of-thumb still holds as far as I’m concerned.  Three Women in Sandals, part of the Playhouse Square series, looks OK…

Turpentine diaries 11/12/17

Today’s session with Booth at the Fair is my 5th. By contrast, yesterday’s sessions with On the Square was the 20th and final one.  I have a long way to go with this painting.  It’s 44″ x 60″ but it feels larger, perhaps it’s the amount of detail or the eleven figures that make it…

Turpentine diaries 11/11/17

I finished On the Square then put down my brush and took a walk. Sometimes I have to get out of the studio to cure “studio blindness,” during which I lose my objectivity and focus instead on some narrow aspect of the painting. After a 45-minute walk, I returned to the studio and the painting…

Turpentine diaries 10/22/17

To some, my studio might look like a jumbled mess, but to me, it looks ordered and purposeful.  I have three easels. I use the third one, the one not shown, for drawings.  I expanded my palette from my habitual dozen colors to what you see now on my home-made palette.  Just because I no longer count…

Turpentine diaries 10/21/17

I finished Spring during my morning session.  I added a tiny little bit of sun-thickened oil to my usual medium.  A small amount of this oil dramatically affects the paint.  Sun-thickened oil, unlike stand oil (which I don’t like), maintains good handling qualities even when the paint is thinned to a gouache-like consistency.  Before starting, I applied…

Multiple treatments of the same subject (yet again)

I spent another morning working on several versions of the same subject.   The top version is charcoal and chalk on toned ground.  The paper is extremely thick.  I don’t remember the supplier (I bought it some time ago) and I no longer like the super-rough surface. The bottom version is oil on canvas.  I used to…

Multiple treatments of the same subject (again)

Here are two more treatments of the same subject. I’ve written about this before.  This time, I made two drawings.  The top drawing is charcoal on toned paper heightened with chalk.  The bottom drawing is pen and ink on bristol board with watercolor washes. The subject, although obviously the same in both instances, feels different, which…

Multiple treatments of the same subject

Just now, I’m interested in multiple treatments of the same subject. I make drawings (cartoons) and transfer them to multiple surfaces.  So far, I’ve limited the process to two instances per drawing.  When I do an ambitious drawing perhaps I will expand to three or more treatments. This photo shows two versions of a small winter…

Turpentine diaries 10/1/2017

Terrible photo but it’s dark and I’m tired so it will have to do. Man With a Baby Carriage is in the final stage–the fun stage.  If the drawing is strong, it will take you to finish line.  Drawing, like writing, can fill up with useless details that don’t advance the project when you’re tired. …

Dream

I frequently dream about paintings. Sometimes I’ll act on the dream and make a painting or drawing.  I dreamed about the image in this little study three nights running.  This small oil took 10 minutes to paint.  Dream is 12″ x 16″.

Turpentine diaries 9/24/17

The unfinished painting The Press is 40″ x 50.”  I’ve used RGH’s walnut-ground flake white for a couple of weeks and I like it more and more.  It keeps its body even when thinned to the constancy of gouache, such as the white shirts in the painting. I plan to write about preparing canvases soon.…

Some watercolors

Odds and ends.  Today, I finished the landscape (somewhere around Monterey) and worked on the figure with the striped shirt (my wife Kathleen).  It still needs work.  Both are watercolors.  The pen and ink drawing of the figure behind the landscape is on bristle board.  My watercolor kit.  The bottom drawer contains watercolor tubes.  I…

Turpentine diaries 9/16/17

Along 4th Street is 40″ x 50.”  The surface is very good and the painting is moving well.  When the surface is solid, I do less re-painting and things go faster. I’ve written about how much I like RGH’s Extra-fine Flake white.  That white is ground with safflower oil.  I’ve also been using walnut oil…

Turpentine diaries 9/9/17

The studio is busy just now.  The drawing is a study for a large painting I’m preparing to launch.  The figures, except for the right-hand two, are prominent in the new painting’s design.  I plan 2-3 more figures in the large painting.  ‘Large’ in this case means 4.5′ by 5.5′,  The drawing is pen &…

Two paintings today

I used to think speed is important in art making.  Speed relates to spontaneity–some say–and spontaneity guarantees authenticity, if not creativity.  While spontaneity is important in art making, it’s not fundamental.  Even if you insist that spontaneity is essential, you can’t make the same claim for speed.  Speed is simply irrelevant. Another important idea for…

Turpentine diaries 9/4/17

I started working on the painting on the easel, Along 4th Street, yesterday.  I’ve had two long sessions on it, but it still needs a lot of work.   I’m  careful about cutting off figures by the canvas edge.  One of my teachers, Pearlstein, is well known for cutting figures.  He used the device to…

Turpentine diaries 8/27/17

The finished painting on the floor in this photo, Dare, is another painting of my son Keith standing in front of an earlier painting with him as the subject.  Dare is 24″ x 30.” The large, unfinished painting on the easel, Picnic, is the last painting from my batch of poor-surface paintings.  And it’s the…

Turpentine diaries 8/20/17

I finished drawing the cartoon for this painting yesterday and spent the morning transferring it to the canvas.  You can see the transferred cartoon in this photo. I spent the remainder of yesterday and all of today working on the new painting.  In this photo, the gray ground is still visible throughout the painting. Booth at…

Best deal in flake white

RGH has the best deal for the all-important flake white.  Their cremnitz white extra fine is $46.25 for a 250 ml jar.  By comparison, a 237 ml jar of Williamsburg’s flake white is $57.  Old Holland, which I don’t buy because of their lurid prices, costs $172 for 225 ml tube.  That’s after heavy discounts.    The…

Turpentine diaries 8/13/17

I finished the small painting sitting on the floor this morning. I thought I’d finished it last week but something about it bugged me this morning, so I couldn’t resist taking-up the brush. Sometimes when I look at one of my old paintings, I’m transferred back to when I worked on it–like a time machine.…

Turpentine diaries 8/6/17

The Delegate is 36″ x 48″.  It still has a way to go.  It’s another painting with an annoying surface. I’ve written a lot recently about painting surfaces, I know.  I bought a large roll of canvas two years ago, which enables me to monitor how changes to the painting surface can affect performance.  All the…