Shop Talk

Discuss the nuts and bolts of creating art

Turpentine diaries

I got Along 4th Street on the easel yesterday and had some good sessions. I used walnut oil instead of linseed.  I find myself reaching for the walnut oil instead of the linseed more often. I picked up several drawing pads. I have a pile of good, loose paper but ran out of pads. Strathmore…

Turpentine diaries 5/27/18

The Woman in Red Pants is not over-large so I finished the underpainting, shown here, in 2 sessions. The Woman in Red Pants is 36″ x 48.”  We live in a great time when information about nearly every subject is at-hand, right?  Create a battery?  Create an electric motor?  Build a house?  There is also…

Turpentine diaries 5/19/18

The morning session with Agamemnon and Orestes was slow and easy.  With a large painting like this (44″ x 60″), I use hog bristle brushes for most of the work.  Today I used 5s and 6s.  You can see some of them on the easel table.  I always dip my brushes in oil when I…

Turpentine diaries 5/6/18

This photo shows Crossing after my 4th session. Nothing is close to being finished except the blue of the sky, ultramarine blue + cobalt blue + flake white. The broad range of scale among the figures is fun to paint. As an exercise, try changing-up the scale in your paintings.   

Turpentine diaries 4/29/18

I thought it would be fun to compare Agamemnon and Orestes after the second day to the first day–bottom photo.  After the second day, the underpainting is finished.  The underpainting is about getting paint on the canvas and not worrying overmuch about details.  At 44″ x 60,” the painting’s large size (for me) dictates the…

Turpentine diaries 4/28/18

This photo shows my first painting session with Agamemnon and Orestes.  I know, I know, a bit high falutin but I am reading Aeschylus’s Eumenides.  Agamemnon and Orestes is 44″ x 60.” I mentioned that I prefer white grounds these days, but I am always preparing canvases, which means I have some prepared months ago,…

Preparing a canvas surface for oil painting

This is a companion to my canvas stretching post. After you stretch a perfectly taut and square canvas, you’re ready to prepare the surface. Our goal is threefold: protect the canvas protect the paint create a perfect surface  Why do we have to protect the canvas?  Oil is acidic, so if you paint directly on…

Turpentine diaries 4/22/18

I hoped to finish the underpainting on Crossing but, as you can see in the accompanying photo, I ran out of gas.  The initial stage for a painting of this size, 40″ x 50″, is about getting paint on the canvas. By the time I start painting, the design is complete.  But change is natural. …