Shop Talk

Discuss the nuts and bolts of creating art

Grove’s heat-polymerized oil

It’s true that I’ve used the same medium for several years. That doesn’t stop me from trying new materials–far from it! My invariable practice provides a baseline to which I can compare the new materials as they come into my hands. I can quickly determine if a new varnish or whatnot makes it into my…

Reusing a drawing

I started a small oil yesterday. I transferred the drawing, or cartoon, to the canvas as I had earlier to a sheet of watercolor paper. You can see from the photo that both formats are of the same size. The watercolor paper is pretty good. I might finish it with watercolors, gauche, or a mixture…

Recent paint buy

I refreshed my paint stock last week. Instead of buying from Blue Ridge or RGH as I have been, I bought these oils from Blick. I like RGH but their tubes–the physical tubes–are the worst I’ve ever tried to use. As for Blue Ridge, I noticed that their flake white is less covering that Utrecht’s.…

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…