Shop Talk

Discuss the nuts and bolts of creating art

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…

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…

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…

Watercolor colors

My recently-started watercolor cycle represents the first watercolors that I’ve done for sometime. I still have a good supply of colors, papers, and brushes. Of course, I never use my watercolor brushes for oils. This photo shows my favorite watercolor palette. It has enough compartments to contain my normal color selection. My watercolor palette contains…

New ink drawings

Yesterday, I was preparing for some watercolor work by inventorying my watercolor supplies. I have an acceptable collection of colors and paper. Puttering with the watercolors led to playing with gauche, which led to painting with ink…which finally led to these unplanned drawings. The two ink drawings are on Arches’ artboards. The self-portrait is on…

Arguing with a painting

I’ve had a long argument with this as-yet-untitled painting. The argument started as soon as I completed the original design. I spent time taking things out of the design after it was supposed to be finished. I work hard on designs and only start painting with the drawing is finished. But it’s a large painting,…

Modestly-priced panels for oil

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) makes a good (and cheap!) support for painting and drawing. A 4′ x 8′ piece from a lumberyard is $20. That is 40 9″ x 12″ panels for less than .50$ per panel. If you don’t have a table saw, you can buy a pack of 12 pre-cut panels for 1$ –…

Ugly colors

There are no ugly colors. This is a bit of conventional studio wisdom that is actually true. When I was starting out, I used a limited palette out of necessity. My palette had a lot of ochres, browns, and earth colors–the cheap paints. Limited palette users quickly learn that you can paint almost anything with…