Shop Talk

Discuss the nuts and bolts of creating art

Scale again

Yesterday, I wrote about how scale affects paint handling. A figure on a 6-inch canvas is painted differently than the same figure on a 6-foot canvas. Pretty straightforward but a lot of artists get stuck in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. There’s also another way that scale determines my approach–figure scale. The main figures…

Proper scale

Scale plays a big part in how I handle a painting. By scale I mean the size of the canvas. A single figure on a 6-foot canvas requires a different treatment than the same figure would on a 6-inch canvas. I didn’t understand that early in my career, but as I worked on paintings up…

Why stop?

Sometimes when I draw, like in the oil sketch in the middle of this photo, I grab hold of things quickly and stop before the moment passes. Other times, I enjoy what I’m doing so much I don’t want to stop. Looking, seeing, and knowing on and on. SO WHY STOP? There is no end…

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…

St. Charles’ good book

Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters by Sir Charles Eastlake is the best resource–by far–for information about painting methods and materials. Just like the title states. The older studio traditions had already faded into the past when Sir Charles published the first volume in 1847, so the book is a…

Robert Doak

I was marveling about how good the sun-thickened oil is that I got from Robert Doak. Like everything I’ve ever purchased from him, the quality is excellent. I’m not out of the sun-thickened oil yet but I only have a half-bottle left. I hate to run out of supplies and I tend to stockpile them,…

I think no, I mean yes

…but it’s all wrong… So the song goes. This is a painting that I turned to the wall for a long time as I tried to work out what was bothering me about it. I do this frequently when I hit a wall. I put the painting aside and think about it. Sometimes solutions come…

Turpentine diaries 7/21/19

The first day painting on a new design is always exiting. True, paintings almost never live up to the vision in my mind’s eye, but I start every new painting with the same anticipation. I can’t wait to get started! This photo shows The Green Umbrella after a four-hour painting session. There’s a long way…