Friday, February 28, 2014

Rubens by Rubens - copied by me!

Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens by Peter Paul Rubens

KWMS study

Everything went much better today - started by quartering off the image to find the center and doing a line sketch (which was way too big at first). Kept fixing that until it looked right, then it was a pretty easy matter to start painting in the values. Lol, went with a much simpler composition than the Tiepolo this time too!

It's a Kent Williams painting that I admire for the bold handling and aggressive painterly work, though he was still able to capture the sitter's personality quite well. There's a single strong emphasis on her face, the darkest dark (eye hollows) right under the lightest light of her bangs, and the entire head is painted much more completely and subtlely than everything else. The rest of the comp is kept very economical and simple for contrast.

1st composition study for Level Up

We're supposed to get these thumbnails done in half an hour to an hour - guess I shouldn't have picked such a complex painting! 3 figures, wings, twisted drapery.. took me 2 hours just to get it this close. The goal is to get it much closer though - this is supposed to teach value control, shape control, and edge control, and when you've got those down then you can draw like a boss - that's really what drawing IS.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Design principles:

Last night I signed up for the Level Up courses on ConceptArt while the half price deal is still in effect. This is going to be the real art school I could never afford to go to, for less than the cost of one class for one semester at a community college! And I love that because it's online I can re-watch the video lectures as many times as I need to really get it, or stop to jot notes without missing anything. I'll be posting my study notes here as I go forward, as well as some of my assignment pieces. Starting at the beginning, with principles of design…

  • Rhythm
  • Emphasis
  • Variety
  • Economy
  • Repetition
  • Balance
  • Continuity
  • Unity

Hah! Mnemonic - REVERB, SEE YOU!

  • Design is the basis of composition
  • Design elements come from nature, we abstract them
  • Choose images for assignments because they demonstrate certain design elements
Rhythm -

  • Placement of objects or shapes within an image OR of symbols within scenes
  • "like music notes"
  • A way to ABSTRACT placement and arrangement of shapes on page
  • 'rhythmic notes'
  • Can suggest - stillness, distance, emotions…

Emphasis -

  • = Focus (focal point or area)
  • "What is the most interesting piece?"
  • Most important idea or part
  • Primary, secondary and tertiary emphases
  • Hierarchy - tell the story in the order it needs to be told
  • Emphasis can be on part of image or part of the story
  • Create emphasis via Contrast - value, color, edge...
  • Opposites
  • can also be achieved via eyeliner - where people in image are looking or pointing etc
  • Contrasting ideas - everybody else is doing something different from main character
  • Focus has falloff in a spherical pattern (3d)
  • Accents etc add visual weight
  • Reduced emphasis in primary area moves stronger emphasis to secondary (death of Caesar)

Variety -

  • Various elements - repeated but different
  • Various sizes, shapes etc..
  • Can be variations in ages of people, hair color, hat shapes, type of clothes etc..
  • "Does it have enough variety?"
  • Variety of materials & surfaces, texture, weight, tension etc..
Economy -

  • Opposite of emphasis in a way, but creates emphasis
  • Simplicity
  • "What you don't (paint, draw, texture, light, emphasize, etc) is just as important as what you do (and draws attention)
  • Suggested rather than explicitly detailed
  • Economy can have a range (hierarchy) - some areas simpler than others (primary, secondary etc)
  • Focal areas might be complex & surrounding areas simple
Repetition -

  • Patterns, shapes, curves, angles etc - textures, rhythms…
Balance -

  • Can be symmetrical or asymmetrical
  • Large and small forms (objects, areas) can balance each other
  • Static or dynamic
  • Can balance side/side, top/bottom, diagonally, corners, quadrants..
  • Visual Weights
  • Subtle changes in balance can have big effects on composition
  • Can be between primary, secondary, tertiary focal areas
Continuity -

  • Suggested movement
  • Implied lines
  • "lines of continuity"
Unity -

  • Sense of completeness - harmony
  • "Do you have all the other principles?" - if so you have unity - you're done

The Modern Venus

2 hrs.
Love the pastel brushes I just discovered!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

'Nuther paintover

This happened like the one the other night - started out trying to help a brutha out, but somehow ended up creating some alternate abstract version pretty much completely different from the original. Not sure it actually helped the op at all, but I enjoyed it - somehow it's very freeing to destroy - er work over - somebody else's painting rather than have to create one from scratch!

Nude version below..

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THIS can be a Bargue study - why not?!

So much easier/faster to make all the corrections on the tablet than on paper. At least it's a way to scale up to the real thing. Decided to take it farther - one thing I was doing wrong (and probably usually do) is making light areas too light - the contrasts too intense. Made loads of little tweaks to the shapes - mostly the outer edge of the figure. I see the edges of shadows need lots more work yet. Enlarged the image to something I can actually zoom in on now and do tight closeup work - plus that makes things so much easier - with such a tiny image (Photoshop tells me it was 2 inches high!) even a one pixel brush takes huge chunks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Notes on Bargue drawing by Mindcandyman

Original drawing is included below by itself

One of the things I really want to improve on this year is accuracy of seeing and analyzing what I see. This is essential for any artist in training - this kind of exercise really shows you where you're going wrong and makes you realize that you can get far far more accurate than you currently believe is possible. Once you've pushed yourself farther than you thought remotely possible (this is like going through boot camp for artists) everything you used to think was so hard suddenly seems easy by comparison. This is the way you really level up those skills.

With that in mind, here's some excellent notes from a very old thread @ ConceptArt started by Mindcandyman:

Materials Needed: 2H pencil (trust me you will need it this will do a LOT of correcting)...kneaded eraser...staedtler plastic eraser...thread...drawing paper...drawing board...ruler.

1.) Find a good that is simple and one that you can print out fairly the one I have shown below. Now the drawing needs to be really really the one below...the goal here is ultimate precision and ultimate perfection. You will spend weeks on this trust me.
2.) Print out the drawing (make sure the print out is of exceptional quality so you can see all the details exactly as they are) ...then tape the print out to your drawing board...make sure to tape it down good so it won't move. Then put your paper right up against it to the right or the left (If you are lefthanded) and tape your paper there as well.
3.) Next is a very important step...take a piece of black thread and place it like a plumb line over the printed out should place it vertically not horizontally. Be really particular about this...measure the distance to the thread from the top leftmost part of the paper...and make sure at the bottom leftmost part of the paper the thread is the same distance...this will ensure that it is going STRAIGHT down. Make sure to tape the thread down on both sides as you go because you don't want the plumb line to move at all once you place it there. Next...measure the same way with your drawing paper only this time don't use a thread...actually draw a plumb line very very lightly with pencil down the paper...make sure it is perfectly straight down...just as your thread is. (Look at my drawing so far to see what I mean)

4.)Now you can start the drawing...start by taking another piece of thread to use as your measuring tool (use the ruler for all the thread laying measurements...etc...but use the thread when you are drawing it trains your eye better...using a ruler while you are doing the drawing will hurt you in the end...only use it if you are totally stuck or if you really need to check your measurement). Ok so once you have your piece of thread...lay it horizontally on the paper and find the top most part of the drawing...measure horizontally over and mark the same spot on your drawing the same for the bottom most point of the drawing and then do that eventually for the whole drawing...
5.) The object is do the whole drawing in this way but I will emphasize that it needs to be PERFECT...every angle perfectly right...every line exactly the same...when the shading sets in it has to be the exact value...EXACT...feel free to post in the middle class and I will help critique as best I can to point out the flaws.
Read more:

.. And a bit of equally excellent followup advice by Shehaub:

Something I would just like to add to help with this is a mirror. Its very hard to explain how to use the mirror to compare your drawing to the Bargue, but I will give it a stab.
Hold a small mirror (we use locker mirrors in class) up to one eye and aim it at the bargue so that you see it with your periphial vision. Look at your drawing. Move the mirror back and forth as if it is hinged to your nose/forehead and see if you can "move the bargue" next to your own drawing. In the case of the back drawing MCM is doing, it would appear that the left shoulder of the drawing is touching the left shoulder of the Bargue. The mirror reverses the image you are pointing it at so that the two come together like this: >< I encourage you to play with this a little. The mirror is used for a lot more than just bargues and IF you get it, and understand how to use it, it can really be a great tool to figure out what is wrong. For some reason the eye seems to compare them much better back to back, so to speak than it does trying to bring an angle over.

The other thing we do in class is a lot easier to understand. Unveiling. Take a piece of paper that is large enough to cover both drawings side by side and little by little bring it down to show just a little bit of the drawing at a time. Compare and fix. Repeat. If you are getting toward the bottom and your eye just isnt catching the mistakes, take another paper and block out the top, or turn the whole drawing board upsidedown and start from the drawings bottom.

I T/A at the museaum and a lot of folks there believe I am telling them to cheat, but the one of the real points of doing the bargue drawings is to begin to train the eye to see what is really there and not what is believed to be there. If using a mirror or a large piece of paper is what it takes to convince your brain that its putting too much into what you see, then use it.

Other tips:
Draw lightly at first until you are sure that the line you have drawn is correct. You will be erasing a lot. Thats expected.
Before you begin shading, locate your lightest light area and your darkest dark. Get those at least set in your mind, if not on your paper. That way, as you shade, you can compare and figure out just how far you have to go down (dark) or come up (light)
Shadows have their own distinct shapes. Some have more crisp edges. Try to think of the shadow areas as flat shapes at first and then go in and darken the areas to push down the deepest darks.

It took me several weeks each to finish both of my bargue drawings. I was fortunate enough to have an instructor behind my back watching and guiding me through it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Notes on Griffin alkyd paint

Was just browsing their website and ran across this info, which I want to remember (this blog is my substitute for a proper functioning memory).

The three whites which are available in the Griffin Alkyd Colour range offer the artist different working characteristics. Titanium White is the most popular modern white. It is the whitest, most opaque white and gives excellent covering power in a painting. Mixing White is the most transparent white available which makes it ideal for tints and glazing.

Each successive layer must dry slower
This one I had never heard before. I know about the fat over lean rule, which essentially means add more medium to each successive layer of paint. But apparently since a layer isn't really completely dry when you paint the next layer (only touch dry, and still shrinking slowly) you need to make sure the next layer will shrink slower - makes sense. But the instructions on how to achieve this on the website are contradictory. They say to add more medium, and they specify Liquin, which they say elsewhere actually cases the paint to dry faster. Huh? 

I thought about this a bit, and realized what you need to add isn't more alkyd medium, but more oil instead. Walnut oil slows drying time, while the walnut alkyd medium speeds drying time. So it's pretty clear-cut - use either straight paint for the 1st layer the way alla prima painters often do, and add some medium to the next layer, and for each successive layer add medium plus more walnut oil each time. Though I don't usually need to do more than 2 layers (might go past that on complex paintings I suppose). 

Memento Mori - critique of process and results

Taped a sheet of canvas from a canvas pad onto a masonite board of the same size using white artists tape
This worked quite well. It frees up the rest of the pad and allows me to have several paintings going at once. plus the masonite board fits snugly into the slot in the easel clamp things.

Doing charcoal pencil sketch and projecting it up on the canvas
Also worked extremely well. Love the flexibility of being able to print up a really small version (saves ink as well as allows me to have the projector sitting fairly close to the easel). Plus I was able to punch up the contrast in the sketch severely to make it easier to see the lines while drawing.

Need to be careful where I put those diluted india ink lines
They show through clearly under light colored paint. I need to only draw them where they'll be covered by dark paint, like around the outlines, the eye sockets etc. I don't need a complete drawing, just the basic points to keep everything in scale and placed properly.

Need to find the right viscosity for paint
I'll be switching back to alkyds for a while at least - that should make a huge difference. They're all uniform in viscosity and drying time, as well as not having that strong odor of clove oil the regular oil paint has. I might even get a small tube of M Graham paint (manufactured with the M Graham walnut oil) and see how I like it. But if the alkyds work well then no need.

Very pleased with the results overall
Despite all the frustrations and problems, it came out quite well in most regards, though obviously I think it would have come out better and I could have carried it farther if I didn't run into the weird problems with the paint. I think the reason it did work out well is mostly because I was following (mostly) the Harold Speed advice - mixed colors to (what I thought were) the right values - worked monochromatically - blocked everything in flat - developed the edges.

And speaking of values
I need to follow another piece of Harold Speed advice, which is to immediately get some of the darkest dark and the lightest light down on the canvas so you can see what you're working against. Even the lights color will look too dark on the pure white of the canvas (as I discovered - after putting it down I gasped and immediately added a lot more white to it - which was a big mistake as it turned out).

Final notes
I'm sure I put too much detail in in places - especially in the shadow area. When I squint at the skull (should have been doing that all along!) the shadows all mostly become one solid shape that looks pretty flat. In fact the shadow shape ate up parts of the right eye socket (image right, the skull's left eye). If I had painted it that way it would be a much stronger image.

EDIT - Just noticed - if I squint at the painting just below this post the right eye socket disappears partially into the shadow just like it does on the skull. Still I probably should have accentuated the effect - at least made those edges much softer.

Memento Mori - oh I am SO done with this one!!

I can't even tell you how freakin' DONE I am! What a nightmare - today when I'd put paint down over yesterday's paint and then try to blend, it would behave totally unpredictably - sometimes it would work fairly well, sometimes yesterday's paint would lift up instead, sometimes unexplainable dark areas would appear around the area.

I'm pretty sure it's because yesterday's paint is still wet - must be too dry to work into (tacky stage) but not dry enough to work OVER yet. That's it - Im scraping this damn paint off my palette and throwing it away - next time I go back to my more familiar alkyds that dry overnight. I suspect you can't really do an alla prima that stays workable for several days (at least not with the weird viscosity of paint I'm using).

Memento Mori begun

I'm definitely doing something wrong - the paint shouldn't act this way. I think it's because I used some really old oil paint that was stiff as hell and thinned it with nothing but walnut oil. It ended up like a thick gel, and whenever I'd put some on I'd have to spend 10 minutes carefully lifting off most of it because it was too - I don't know - wet, thick, something. It was leaving thick ridges from the brush bristles. I probably did a lot more work scrubbing with rags and brushes than actually painting. And even though halfway through I realized the light values are too light and put in some darker paint over it, they're STILL way too light.

I *THINK* what it needed was some Turpenoid added to thin it down to a more workable consistency. And I'm 100% convinced that getting the paint to the right consistency is key. Once I crack that I expect to make massive progress rapidly.

And my shoulders are sore as hell from holding the brush out in front of me all day - somehow it hurts both shoulders even though I only used one.

But I consider it a good day spent painting. More mistakes down, closer to knowing how to do this right. And I really do like the way it's starting to look.

The approach I'm using is from Harold Speed's The Science and Practice of Oil Painting.

The relevant advice from the Speed book - This is a monochrome painting - recommended for students in the beginning. Use solid color - wet into wet. Work hard to get the drawing (shapes, proportions) right, get the values right, and the edges - but on the 1st day all you do is the basic forms - the biggest shapes (I probably got too detailed already). You're only supposed to block in the mass light and mass shadow and the halftones. He recommends using 2 values in the light (light and halftone) and only one for shadow - I couldn't work that minimalistically, I had to include 2 shadow values - ok, probably more like 3 actually.

I was getting exhausted - especially my aching burning shoulders, and kept thinking "I'm almost there now", but then I'd see something else that needed attention, another hour down, then another, then another… eventually I just had to call it a day and clean up my brushes. I don't feel like I quite got everything worked out the way I'd really like. It needs some darker shadow on the lower front teeth on the shadow side, and the edges aren't really worked out well enough, mostly they're all firm or soft.

But I expect to be able to pick up tomorrow and go right back to work on it, since I put a drop of clove oil in each pile of paint. That;s supposed to keep the paint wet and workable for days, maybe a week or more, and I:m not using the walnut alkyd medium (which speeds drying time) or turpenoid (ditto). I hope for this to essentially be a long alla prima painting.

Oh, interesting note - it's the first time I've used actual oil paint for many years - it's always been alkyds. As soon as I opened the 1st tube, I immediately recognized the smell of clove oil - I didn't realize it must be put in oil paints to make them dry more slowly, as opposed to the alkyds, which are meant to dry overnight uniformly.

I really like the uniformity and more fluid consistency of the alkyds, and next time I'll use them and compare. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Preparatory sketch for my next painting (Skull study)

My 1st attempt at this was lopsided, so I tried again but this time I used better constructive techniques - starting with a very pale perimeter shape that I kept restating gently until it really looked right and everything squared up properly, I looked for all the lines that seem to join other lines across the shape, like the way that far edge of the cranium goes through to become the curve of the jaw. 

Drew entirely with the side of a charcoal pencil, very gently at first, and when I had the forms basically right I did the shadows with very broad strokes, thinking of value rather than outlines or shapes. The whole thing has only about 6 values - essentially 2 in the light, 2 in the shadow, plus I went darker for a couple of accents and some of the background shadows and struck in highlight accents with an eraser. 

My whole focus was on the mass light and mass shadow, trying to see where the shadow is darker and where it's filled with reflected light, and where the halftones are.

This is by far my most successful skull study - for the rest I was really doing details way too early rather than constantly checking accuracy and searching for the proper places for the values. Reading all the Level Up threads on ConceptArt and doing some of the master studies is really helping. Jason has me understanding now that the great artists think first of the big shapes, make sure those are right in terms of value and edges, and only then start to work toward smaller shapes and finally details. This completely agrees with what I've been reading in Harold Speed and the Reilly method.

And I'm struck with a thought - maybe the reason the drawings of the artists of the past look the way they do is largely because they were intended as studies for paintings, rather than as finished products in their own right. I approached this one differently because that's what it is - a working sketch serving a very specific purpose.

I feel like I'm beginning to think like a painter.

I used a very traditional technique to get the drawing transferred onto the canvas -

Something I spent some time researching and have been wanting to try out. Well, the first step isn't traditional - for that I dug out my old Artograph opaque projector from my t shirt airbrushing days and printed up a very small version of the sketch (like 2 x 3") and projected it up I on the canvas. I struck in the lines using vine charcoal, which I also used to use on t shirts. On the shirts it was a one-shot deal though - as you followed the lines with the airbrush it blew the charcoal out of the fabric as you went. The way I did it this time is to go over the lines with diluted india ink using a script liner brush, and when that was dry use a soft brush to dust away the charcoal (which I followed with a stiff brush and finally a kneaded eraser).

Tommorrow the lay-in begins.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Workin' them edges with Stapleton Kearns

A most excellent discussion about edges on the blog of Stapleton Kearns - and the (to some) surprising fact that they aren't simply observed and faithfully recorded, but in fact designed.

Discovered through this tutorial thread on Conceptart, which includes this handy edge guide:

Edge basics 101:

There is a scale of edges, just as there is a scale of values. It goes from hard > firm > soft > lost. Just as with value, you can use the whole scale in one picture or just a piece of it. The careful manipulation of edges is one of the most overlooked, but most important, tools an artist can use to create form, atmosphere, and believability.

In general, edges are:
  • Harder in the light, softer in the shadow
  • Harder in bright light, softer in dim light
  • Harder in focused light, softer in diffused light
  • Harder in the foreground, softer in the background
  • Harder on smooth forms, softer on textured forms
  • Harder on hard forms, softer on soft forms (Duh, but really)
  • Harder on flat forms, softer on rounded forms
  • Harder on thin forms, softer on thick forms
  • Harder on still forms, softer on forms in motion (on moving forms they are harder on the leading edge and softer on the trailing edge)
  • Harder at the center of interest, softer as you move away

The above are additive. So a kitten, far away, in the dark, would be really soft.
Of course, any of these guidelines can be ignored/modified for pictorial effect.

Read more:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Easel apron = crap -- so do mongoose brushes

You really need to either wear dedicated painting clothes or cover clothes - when you get up you're going to transfer anything on your hands to your pants. I guess you could depend on always thoroughly cleaning your hands and sleeves etc every time you get up, but you're going to miss something now and then.

Plus it's a hassle to get at the stuff under the table with that cloth hanging there, and to place any kind of mahlstick (I'm currently using a tripod which is far from ideal).

And mongoose brushes are crap versions of sable - but they don't hold a crisp edge, they put fuzzy marks all over everything. For oil painting you need hog bristle and sable.

All the painting I attempted to do yesterday is also crap, and I broke the sd card for my camera.

That is all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Easel Apron! and notes to self - how to approach learning oil painting

First the fun stuff - with pics!

The white cloth is my Easel Apron. I've been struggling with what to wear to protect my clothes when I paint, and I've tried various options. A lab coat, hospital gowns, scrubs, and finally I got myself a huge oversize denim shirt with long sleeves and today I rigged up the easel apron. Of the rather clinical options I started with the hospital gowns seemed like a nice idea - easy to tie behind your back to put on and take off, but the fabric is too thin and paint would go through it pretty easily onto your clothes. The lab coat isn't bad at all, but I'd want one a good deal bigger to go on over whatever I'm wearing under it. Also I didn't like that it only goes just past the knees - I want to keep paint off the bottom of my jeans and my shoes as well!

The scrubs aren't bad, especially when I bought the pants like 3 sizes too big in a Big and Tall size, they go on over my jeans (even with shoes on) and are so long they half cover my shoes. But I want to protect the ends of my shoes too! Has nobody ever faced these problems before? Or I guess they all just settle for halfway measures and end up trashing some shoes and pants. Or only wear old clothes when painting.

I was looking at long aprons, but none of them are long enough. I want them to completely cover my shoes with room to spare - and of course you can't walk around in an apron that long. So nobody makes them.

The I remembered the Micro-Mark toolshop apron. Something jewelers use, and people working with extremely small parts that would get completely lost if you drop them. It's basically just an apron that you tack to the bottom edge of the table - anything you drop falls into the lap of the apron (including paintbrushes, or my ceramic palette cups). I tried it with my denim shop apron - not bad, but I wanted it wider and preferably some totally impervious material. I had this packing cloth laying there right close at hand, which is soft and fluffy on one side and plastic coated or something on the other. At first I just laid it in place to try the size etc, and was considering adding loops and strings to make it like a standard apron. Then I realized - there's no need! Why does it need to be attached to me? So that if I get up to answer the phone or something I pull my entire painting and easel down onto the floor? Instead I just clipped it in place on the table, tucked under the easel, and when I sit down I lay it over my lap - the oversize shirt does the rest. Easy to get in and out, totally impervious. Pretty ideal it seems. Time will tell I suppose. Thought - I should flip it over - if very liquid paint hits the plastic side it will run down and onto my pants and shoes - but if the absorbent side is up it would largely absorb it.

Ok wow, I really wrote the hell out of that! WTF??!! Fun though. Now on to the boring notes..

Important to learn - what kind of strokes can be made with what kind of brushes, and the consistency of paint required for them.

I was just upstairs painting over the Frazetta study and was trying to paint some very thin blackish marks using several different small brushes - no real success yet. Tried a script liner, using very fluid paint like ink - but it's too transparent. I'm using only walnut alkyd medium - maybe adding oil would help? I suspect I need to pay a lot more attention to exactly how much paint is in the mix.

I also have come to believe it's a lot like drawing figures in charcoal in certain ways - after a while you develop a catalog of basic strokes that you know well and know what you can do with them, and you keep getting better at using them, till you can go thick-thin in a single stroke where you want to without losing control. So I want to start doing practice sheets - pages of nothing but different types of strokes. I also want to start doing gesture sketches in paint - just like my current Croquis Cafe sketches in charcoal, only in oil paint. That way I'll really learn how to draw and think in paint.

In fact I've decided I need to concentrate for a while on the early stages of making a painting - the sketch and the wash-in. Or maybe even skip the wash-in and work directly with undiluted paint, no medium and no oil or thinner added. This is how a lot of alla prima artists work, adding more medium/oil as they go.

Developing in this way, I should be able to start working alla prima in a while. When I've gotten good at the early stages, it's not much of a stretch to just finish a painting using those techniques. I can always stop and let it set up overnight, finish with glazes if I want to, or just continue working direct and finish alla prima.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

painting study from last night - vase with brushes and drapery

My goal, after the disappointment of the prior Frazetta study, was mostly to work on accurate drawing in paint using a brush - blocking in directly rather than working over a drawing. Initially I wasn't doing so well, but as I went I got bolder and started wiping things out and re-working.

Most important lesson learned - block things out roughly, take a break, then you can spend all day blending and re-working - the paint loses it's liquidity after a while and gets a lot easier to work with. Oh, and for this reason, start paintings in the morning! Not 7:30 pm like I did! Or use clove oil to extend open time for a week or more (supposedly). Clove oil is on its way.

Soon I want to try a method I discovered in Jack Faragasso's Oil Painting For the Student (detailing the Reilly method for interior figure painting). Working on a toned ground - you begin by laying down a solid color all over and then scratching in your drawing using the tip of the brush handle. Nice - for an eraser just flip the brush around and rub out with the bristles. Sort of the opposite of sketching with paint on white canvas and then toning.

Good info on paint thinners. OMS = Turpenoid

Sansodor, turpenoid, gamsol, Daler rowney low odor thinners, and several others are virtually and functionally the same thing though the specific mix of organic solvents will vary. Petroleum based solvents are a mixture of many volatile organic solvents. Mineral spirts or white spirits if you are in England has the strongest solvent dissolving power, then common odorless paint thinner or odorless mineral spirits from a hardware store has less power, and finally low odor thinners or sansodor, turpenoid, gamsol have the least power.It is the same lineup for evaporation rate. Mineral spirits contain more volaltile organic solvents, OMS less, artists low odor solvents have the least. They are all distilled from crude petroleum oil, artists low odor solvents are distilled to a greater degree, this costs more so these artists quality low odor solvents cost more. They really do evolve less vapor, you can look at the permissible exposure limits: low odor artists solvents= 300 ppmodorless mineral spirits=200 ppmmineral spirits=100-200 ppm (turp is also 100 ppm ) these are the concentrations of vapors that you may be exposed to in an 8 hour time period and not expect it to be considered hazardous.that means you can sniff three times as much sansador as you can turpentine before you would expect to have the same hazardous exposure.This is why turp is more powerful as a solvent and used to dissovle natural resins.I would expect any application in which you would use gamsol, that you could substitute sansodor or turpenoid and use them also. You can use any ofthem for painting mediums including alkyds and any drying oil with the caveat that if you are using a natural resin like damar or copal then you need to use turpentine instead.
Found here

Ran across this because David Grey recommends cutting walnut oil with something called OMS for doing an initial oil wash-in. Turns out OMS means odorless mineral spirits, and via the above thread I discovered that's the English name for Turpenoid. Cool - I already have some!!

(To be clear, yes, there's a hardware store OMS which is stronger then the art store type, but what David was using I'm sure is the art store variety)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

About oil soaked rags and spontaneous combustion..

Apparently oil-soaked rags generate heat as they dry (exothermic cure) and like to burn things down. Read plenty of horror stories, though mostly from people who really soak rags in oil, whereas I put little dabs of oil very thinly on them. The solution I kept seeing was to 'dispose of oil soaked rags in a metal container with a lid filled with water'.

Wait - wat?!

That doesn't actually solve the problem, now does it? I guess that would keep them from bursting into flames, but how do you really get rid of them?

As it turns out, that advice is only a partial solution, coming from some legal manual on disposal of waste products - it's only a way to store the rags until your rag disposal truck comes round each week or month or whatever. Yeah, I know - I don't have that service either.

So I dug around some more - several ways to actually get rid of those incendiary little buggers. You can chuck them on a fire, or hang them to dry. Important though - they can't be more than one layer thick anywhere - no doubling up, and you can't hang them on anything absorbent like wood. One guy reported hanging them on wheelbarrow handles to find the handles themselves smoldering in the morning. Wood absorbs the oil and does the same thing.

I settled on using one of my lighting c stands with a pair of arms on it (steel tubing) so I can hang rags over both arms, leaving plenty of air space so the two halves don't come together. Probably total overkill, but better safe than sorry when it comes to fire.

Next day the danger is past and you can safely trash em.

Frazetta study in alkyds (w/ walnut oil)

CA.O is down once again, don't feel like waiting, so I'll post this first here.

My walnut oil painting solvent and medium came in, and I decided to do today's master study in alkyds. What an exercise on frustration, alternating with promising results. A real roller coaster. What I came away learning is that when you first put paint down and can;'t do anything with it, wait a while and then work over it gently with a soft badger brush - by then it'll lose the excess liquidity and you can sort of work with it. In fact I was despairing about how to ever get any kind of precision or control, but now I see that part comes later, when you push it around. Though I Might get better control if I put it down in the first place with badger brushes. Anyway --

Stopped here for the day. Also decided to order 5 drawing boards the same size as my canvas pad, so I can have several paintings going at once - you need to do the initial wash-in and let that set up overnight, unless you're going totally alla prima.

I also learned I can't draw for shit with a paintbrush!! Guess I'll get better at it, probably need to work more on accuracy and check it as I go.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lefebvre study

Jules Lefebvre - Mary Magdalene in the cave (looks like she's laying on the beach to me?). Probably about 2&1/2 hrs total.

Also today's figure drawings from Croquis Cafe: