Portrait of R 12″x12″ Oil on Canvas
For those of you working in traditional oil paint and solvents, this experiment might be of interest to you. For this painting I used the least toxic solvent and medium I know of: Weber’s Turpenoid Natural and Liquiglaze Natural. They work! The upside is breathing a lot easier. The downside is a gloppy and heavier feel to the paint. My brushstrokes are visible, which for this painting, is just fine. The Liquiglaze does speed drying time and does respond as other glaze mediums but, not quite as well (in my opinion), if one is interested in a smoother and multi layered glaze. I have not mixed these “natural’ products with their more toxic cousins. And I probably won’t take my experimenting that far. Right now, I am reserving the “naturals” for projects that seem simpatico with their effects and what I’m trying to achieve. Perhaps with more practice I will be able to do myself and the planet a favor and use the “naturals” exclusively. BTW, Turpenoid Natural is fantastic for cleaning and conditioning brushes!
Other projects however, do demand Gamsol or Turpenoid and galkyd glaze mediums. I have however, just purchased a tube of Gamblin’s solvent-free gel. I’ll let you know how that works for me when I give it a go.
Does anyone have any experience or opinions on the efficacy of the “natural” less toxic products?
11″x14″ Oil on canvas
I’ve been fussing with this painting for weeks. Lots of thin layers, lots of glazing. I’m still not quite sure if it’s done. Time will tell me…
12″x12″ oil on canvas
I’ve been weighing thicker and looser oil painting technique against thinner and more exacting. The former seems to push my color intensity to match the density of the paint. Despite the thick paint, I’ve glazed in places, joining a technique I’ve used only with thin layers, with a near impasto. A wake-up for my senses, or at least a new passage and practice.
Oil on canvas preliminary for the Divide Series
With a glaze of white, parting the planes.
I LOVE to paint portraits, people, figures, gestures. In the hands of a skilled and thoughtful artist, Old Master or contemporary, there is no subject more compelling for me than a portrait. But, paintings of people can sometimes leave me less than satisfied. They can sometimes appear to me, too pretty, or too gimmicky, too separate from the viewer, or too…vacant. I wondered what would happen if I pushed all of these notions? So, I did.
With this third painting, I decided to glaze with opacity (a paradoxical notion), in order to create a ceiling, if you will. A separation between subject and viewer, like the photos I’d taken of debris, still, under a frozen pond. This painting is no longer a portrait because it does not reflect what I know about my subject. Here, she is merely reference for a painting. It speaks for me, not for her. Got to say however, that I enjoy this outcome:)
The three experiments in oils have helped me come to some conclusions about the way I like to work, what practical methods I find satisfying, and the thought behind what I want to make. I think that now I’d like to further explore both my appreciation for portraiture and my personal prejudices about portraiture, to see what might happen next.
Thanks for your kind comments and interest! I’ll keep you posted;)
I’m without a commission at the moment, so I’ve been pushing into “what if” territory in oil paint. I’ve played with three paintings, all handled differently. The subject is the same, though posture and expression vary greatly. Above is the first. I applied many more layers of glaze than I normally use, to see if my usual technique could improve with the added work, or if the result would just become too noodley. The later is the final verdict. The dozen layers or more of paint simply created thicker clumsy strokes. The painting does however, look better in reality. Photographing the painting sans the shine was a bear. The translucent quality resulting from multiple glazes isn’t apparent in the photo, and the transitions between values aren’t showing up well, resulting in annoying linear areas.
Note to self:Don’t overdo the glazing:)
Tomorrow, oil experiment #2