Tips and Studies

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…

Not all synthetic brushes are awful

I heap abuse on synthetic brushes. But some synthetics are not too bad–for oils. I haven’t found any synthetics that can replace sables for watercolor painting. Not even close. These synthetic rounds from Winsor and Newton are OK. Monarch brushes are made from “synthetic mongoose fibers,” whatever that might be. Winsor Newton claims that they…

Maulsticks

When my daughter was very young, with a very serious face she asked, “Daddy, why do you hold a big stick in your studio?” To a child, the most question-provoking thing about the studio was my homemade maulstick. You can see my maulstick in this photograph. It’s resting against a 40″ x 52″ painting (the…

Turpentine diaries 7/14/19

In recent days I’ve spent time preparing new paintings, that is, drawing and finishing designs. However, I did spend some time actually painting. I had several sessions with my most recent painting, Lens. Most objects come alive under the brush by using the complement of its primary color in the half-tones–the areas between the higher…