Grumpy review

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…

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…

Geneva Oil Paint non review

Readers have asked why I don’t have a review of Geneva brand oils in my Oil Paint reference. The short answer is that I haven’t used their oils. The longer answer is a little more complicated; I have no intention of trying this brand. I know. I’m someone who has repeatedly claimed to be ready…

RGH vs Utrecht

A reader asks wether I prefer Utrecht flake white or RGH’s. To answer the question directly: I prefer Utrecht (barely). Utrecht covers better and has more body. To demonstrate this, I share a simple side-by-side comparison. (Note: I currently have some of RGH’s extra fine white. The extra-fine paint is ground in safflower oil, which…

Grove’s heat-polymerized oil

It’s true that I’ve used the same medium for several years. That doesn’t stop me from trying new materials–far from it! My invariable practice provides a baseline to which I can compare the new materials as they come into my hands. I can quickly determine if a new varnish or whatnot makes it into my…

RGH Atelier Series oil

I bought a small 4 oz-bottle of RGH’s Atelier Series of refined linseed to oil to test. According to RGH’s website, the Atelier Series is “…clarified, hand-washed, cold pressed linseed and walnut oils. No heat, chemicals, or bleaches have been used. We have used historical methods for washing these oils. … The end result are…

Alchemist’s alchemy

WHAT WAS THE SECRET OF THE OLD MASTERS? THE ALCHEMISTS KNEW…AND SO SHALL YOU! That bold claim was printed on the (hilarious) instruction sheet tied to the products sold by the Alchemist. The Alchemist no longer uses that hokey marketing gimmick directly, but that message still pervades their website. Claims to possess the secrets of…

Trekell fails

Lately, I’ve been spammed a lot by the independent brush manufacturer, Trekell. Oil paint is murder on sable brushes so Trekell’s decent quality sables coupled with modest prices led me to past purchases. I have over 20 of their brushes. I also like their linseed oil soap. Readers of my Brush review know that I…