Turpentine diaries

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…

Bristle brushes

Even though I sometimes disparage bristle brushes, I use them all the time. I use them for medium or broad passages–not for finer areas. Like most students, I was taught that real painters used bristles (‘hogs’), and the bigger the better. Of course, this only led to frustration on those times when I worked on…

Good flake white

Utrecht flak white continues to surprise me with its good performance. Considering its modest price, it’s a good value. I am using it throughout this painting titled The Fair. It covers well and handles crisply. When thinned it retains strong covering strength. An excellent flake white. I ordered another tube this morning. I’ve just started…

Paint bigly

I am painting three new canvases that fit the bigly category. Big for me, is 4′ x 5′ or thereabouts. In the preceding weeks, I was drawing bigly too–working on the drawings for the new work. Here is a studio shot of the three biglies. Two of them are 4′ x 5′ and the other…

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…

RGH Atelier Series oil

I bought a small 4 oz-bottle of RGH’s Atelier Series of refined linseed to oil to test. According to RGH’s website, the Atelier Series is “…clarified, hand-washed, cold pressed linseed and walnut oils. No heat, chemicals, or bleaches have been used. We have used historical methods for washing these oils. … The end result are…