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…

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…