Shop Talk

Discuss the nuts and bolts of creating art

Wrong again?

A reader said he tried sun-thickened oil on my recommendation but it didn’t demonstrate the handling quality that I’d claimed for it. Sun-thickened oil has the happy quality of maintaining body even when thinned, or so I claimed. My correspondent said his paint was rather more transparent than usual; he’d expected the opposite. First, as…

Turpentine diaries 2/17/19

I finished the underpainting today for Portrait of a Man Wearing Sunglasses, my second session with the painting. The painting is 32″ x 48.” Simple composition. Unlike last week’s Fork, I transferred the design to the canvas with a cartoon. For Fork, because it’s so large, I drew directly on the canvas then inked over…

Turpentine diaries 2/10/19

I had good painting sessions with Fork. The painting is so large, 4.5 x 5.5 feet, that I started painting portions of it before I completed all parts of the drawing. Today I completed the drawing and pushed the under painting farther along. There are 12 figures in the narrow space and even though they’re…

Murder on brushes

The first session with my new painting, Fork, mangled a new brush. Fork is a large painting, 54″ x 66″. Because it’s so large I am not transferring a cartoon to the canvas but drawing directly on the surface, as you can see in this detail. The lower third of the drawing isn’t actually finished…

Fat over lean

So you’ve embraced the two related studio aphorisms I discussed in this recent post: fat over lean, and make the lights thick but keep the darks thin. In practical terms what does this mean? Oil paint, tube paint, is stiff and unmalleable. Adding oils and solvents to the paint makes it manageable. But these additions…

Turpentine diaries 1/6/2019

This morning I finished the first painting of 2019, Along 4th Street. Today’s session was the 14th with this painting, which is par for a painting of this size, 40″x 50.” I used my normal medium throughout except for some of the lights, such as the those in the large orange bag. I added a…

Turpentine diaries 12/31/2018

Art is filled with aphorisms. Fat over lean, for instance, is a famous adage. The meaning for this old saw that is the most straightforward is to paint thickly-applied paint over thinly-applied paint. Why this distinction? Well, if you paint in layers, that is, if you paint over previously painted areas, you ignore this practice…

Venice turpentine

David Davis was an art supply dealer in New York. He closed before the turn of the century–well before, so I have no idea how old this Venice turpentine I found this morning is. At least 20 years old. At one time, Peal Paint and David Davis where art supplier royalty in NYC. I spent…