Monday, September 29, 2008

Duo Aqua Oil

Sliced Onion No.3, 2008, oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
I was given at work a small box containing four 20ml tubes of Holbein's water soluble oil paint. I've been aware of the existence of this paint for a number of years and have never been intrigued to put them to the test. I guess my pride and snobbery that there's is nothing like "real" oil paint stopped me from trying it out. I heard some thanking modern technology for the birth of this paint, my answer has always been that it has been around for ages in the form of oil and egg emulsion. But what exactly is in this paint that makes it water soluble? That I'm not sure, but with gift in hand I put the four colors to use. I had to make the best of the palette, Alizarine Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Light Yellow, and Titanium White. The paint had a funny smell, I couldn't smell the linseed oil in it, then again I can never smell linseed oil in any of Holbein's oil paints. I dipped my brush in a little bit of water and dabbed some paint with it. It was surprising to see the paint run on the palette with just a small amount of water. It became loose and workable, and I was able to brush it on the canvas with no problem. It was strange to paint with oil without the smell of turpentine. But I started noticing that the water evaporated quickly leaving me with gunky, sticky, stiff paint on the palette and painting. Through the whole exercise I had to keep dipping my brush into water (solvent) which is something I don't do with standard oil paint. I kept getting aggravated with the stickiness of the paint and I became frustrated. But I wasn't going to let it win over me, I did the best I could until I thought I was finished. The end result is this small painting of an onion. My conclusion is that this paint might work best for those who love impasto, and not the best thing for those who like more detailed applications.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Caravaggio Update

I started working on the Caravaggio copy I was supposed to have finished a month ago. No easy task to copy a master but some good knowledge always come of it. I gridded the canvas to try to make a more accurate copy but as I layed down the shapes I noticed something wrong.
It appears that I may have done the wrong math and the canvas that I stretched may be the wrong size. The scale seems to be off since even with a grid the figures don't line up or are out of proportion. What to do about this? Should I wing it and forget about the grid, or should I re-stretch a new canvas with the right dimensions?
At this point I'm not sure what I'll do. I want to save this canvas and continue working over the sketch I laid out, but in the end I know it will end up being awkward.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Glue It

I have developed a routine of preparing canvas in between paintings. I started laying down glue on a few small pieces of canvas and linen for future work. I find it easy to reach into my supply of canvas and pick the size that might work for what I have in mind. I don't plan paintings in advanced, I find that process too slow. I just want to dive into painting right away when I get an idea.
I've heard great things about linen, but because of its cost I've shied away from it for years. Is like the gem fabric you don't want to ruin with a silly sloppy painting. But the time has come for me to give it a try, who knows I might like it more than cotton duck. I know I used to feel the same about panels, and now I think my best work has been done on wood. Now that I've got a number of these supports glued I can start laying down the ground in the few days to come.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Painting: Asheville

Asheville, 2008, oil on panel, 12 x 16 inches
My first landscape since 2001 is this scene from Asheville, the charming southern town in North Carolina. I visited Asheville two years ago, and I can still remember how impressive the open land was. This painting was executed from a photograph I took from the back porch of the Biltmore Mansion. The site of this estate was unreal, so much open land and vegetation could do nothing but leave me breathless. Well, from being impressed and from all the walking I had to do! I have been meaning to paint three landscapes from this visit but I'm always locking myself into painting onions. I had to get out of my comfort zone and I dove into this piece. It was a lot of fun working on this oil on panel painting. Creating the different shades of blue for the Blue Ridge Mountains was hard, but it was worth the effort.