Tips and Studies

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$ –…

Artists with small brushes

Most of the tropes we learn about art and art-making are rubbish. One meaningless trope is, “Real artistes only use large brushes.” Alright, then. “A six-inch brush for this five-inch canvas, right Professor?” “Don’t get cute! Use a brush suitable for the job, Nimrod!” But that’s not what you said. Use the right tools for…

Sketchbooks

I keep sketchbooks and doddle-books. Sketchbooks are for quick sketches where freshness and directness are important. Sketches can be simple or elaborate. Aaron Blaise is a good artists who has some YouTube videos about his sketchbooks and why he keeps them. If you are an artist or art student, keep a sketchbook. I also keep…

Oil of Cloves

I’ve been following a reader’s tip for slowing the drying time of oils. Responding to my complaint about how oil paint in jars dries too quickly, reader Clint Atkinson suggested that I put a piece of cloth soaked with oil of cloves in the jar. I’ve been following this tip for several weeks and it…

How to–grounds

Most artists do not know how to prepare grounds for oil painting. I know this is true because none of my teachers were able to prepare acceptable grounds, and none of the commercially-prepared canvases that I’ve used have been acceptable. This is even true for vendors who claim the highest expertise. A bold statement maybe…

Grounded

I don’t mind being grounded by the pandemic. After all, I already spend most of my time isolated in my studio working. But I’m not alone; I’m in constant contact with the world–the current one the past one. It’s not work either. Working on art nourishes and refreshes me. I do miss my weekly trip…

Those who live in glass houses…

…or use glass palettes. I get a lot of questions about my homemade palette. I’ve been using this palette for several years and by now it’s pretty beat-up. In fact, I attempted to replace it recently but the replacement’s glass cracked before I could use it. What is it? It was a glass-framed reproduction that…