materials

New series–4th Street

The two series that have preoccupied me over the past several years are still moving along. One of them, Playhouse Square, I started deliberately. After launching the series, I continued to take photographs in the target area for some time. The other series, Along Main Street, just happened. Many paintings in both series are finished,…

Doak’s canvas

Doak sells a linen-cotton blended canvas. A 10-yard roll is $440. It’s a good deal if it’s any good. Has anyone used Doak’s blended canvas? If so, can you share your evaluation? Doak sent me the sample that you see in this photo. The ground on it seems OK, but when I talked to him…

Oil of Cloves

I’ve been following a reader’s tip for slowing the drying time of oils. Responding to my complaint about how oil paint in jars dries too quickly, reader Clint Atkinson suggested that I put a piece of cloth soaked with oil of cloves in the jar. I’ve been following this tip for several weeks and it…

How to–grounds

Most artists do not know how to prepare grounds for oil painting. I know this is true because none of my teachers were able to prepare acceptable grounds, and none of the commercially-prepared canvases that I’ve used have been acceptable. This is even true for vendors who claim the highest expertise. A bold statement maybe…

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…

Grounded

I don’t mind being grounded by the pandemic. After all, I already spend most of my time isolated in my studio working. But I’m not alone; I’m in constant contact with the world–the current one the past one. It’s not work either. Working on art nourishes and refreshes me. I do miss my weekly trip…

Retouch varnish

When you work on an oil painting over an extended period, colors sometimes become dull. The upper paint layers merge with an earlier layers. This process is called sinking in. If the problem isn’t corrected, it gets worse as the painting progresses. A final varnish can mitigate the bad effects of sinking in, but how…

Glowing lights

I have several themes in mind for today’s post. One theme is about varnish–intermediate varnish. An intermediate varnish is used to seal the surface and prevent subsequent paint layers from sinking into the earlier layers. This “sinking in” robs the colors of their light and life. Since I paint in layers, I use intermediate varnishes…