Thursday, October 17, 2013

Here's an eye-opener. Two brands of flake white, both purchased around the same time (5 or so years ago). The Williamsburg paint has turned the color of butter. I'm sure this has to do with the oil used in the paint. Williamsburg uses a "pure, premium, alkali-refined and pH balanced linseed oil." I think the Doak paint was made with a linseed/walnut oil mix.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Finished up the latest heat-bodied oil. It's the dark colored one above on the upper left. It'll be interesting to see how it performs. This time I tried using a cheap Presto deep fryer to heat the oil, but the temperature regulation of it was extremely poor and I think the oil might have darkened somewhat due to the big temperature fluctuations. I'll do another batch soon to try out a different method of heating. Too bad our northwest sun has gone away until next summer or else I'd place it outside to bleach it.

The top middle oil is interesting -- it was a linseed oil that was kept in a lead tray for a few weeks. It was looking pretty good and thickening up nicely, but then I placed it out in the sun for a time. The combination of sun, heat and lead transformed it into an opaque, near-gel-like consistency, but it might still be valuable in small additions.

The remainder of the week has been concentrated on preparing panels. I like the subtle texture of the burnished linen panels.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spent some time washing oil again, this time linseed; the Azure Farms one. It does seem like a beautiful oil, clear and fragrant. There's something nice about it, quite unlike that atomic turmeric orange-colored stuff I bought from the supplement store. That was flax oil on steroids, I swear (got rid of the color with some time in the sun).  I'm going to heat-body this one.. a hunch it might be the go-to oil for the putty I'll be using.

Picked up some more panels today. I plan to prepare a few different grounds to work on as a way to see what I like best  ...gesso, gesso on linen, lead ground. even going to try out one of those Dibond panels, although foam core aluminum is not in keeping with my usual habit of sticking to the tried and true. But you never know. I'll either love it, or it will confirm the value of sticking with older materials and methods. 

And the pigments... ground up some really gorgeous Spanish ochre rocks last week. The color is amazing. I have yet to see it ground in oil, but it was a pleasure to work with. Easy to grind. I tried both sieving and levigating it to compare. The levigation method is definitely superior, yielding a brighter and clearer color thanks to all the darker, denser material sinking to the bottom of the pan. I would think the grain size would  be more varied, as well, compared to the sieved grains. This would suggest a more organic look and feel to the painted surface, however difficult to see with the naked eye. At least it would be more luscious to paint with, simply knowing that about it. That's what's I love about handmade materials. There's an intimacy involved in really knowing one's materials at such depths.

... that being said, I can't promise I'll ever achieve working with 100% handmade stuff. But it's a joy to work with when I can.

I want to learn "to work with the materials at a fundamental level until [I] understand them well." Tad Spurgeon speaks exactly to what I'm after. To pursue painting as a method of cultivation, much like the practice of tea. Mastery comes with intimate knowledge of not only the tea, but also the water, the method of brewing, the teaware, etc... So it is with painting, it seems. It must be approached as a discipline., with mindful dedicated practice.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Time to resurrect the blog. Surprisingly synchronous events have taken place and I'll be back in a new studio, just a short walk from my old one, in just a few weeks time. I can hardly wait. Been hard at work preparing for the move in more ways than I care to comment on. For now, here's a fun little online test for artists and painters to check out your sensitivity to color --

The first time I tried it I got a score of 12. I had the hardest time with the blues (blue-green, blue-red). Maybe that explains my general lack of excitement for the color blue? Second time around was an 8 (damn blues). I'm having fun with this little time-waster.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So here's what 45 minutes can produce, while listening to Yo-Yo Ma, which was the perfect music for today. But this is just a start. Still very rough and in need of refinement of planes, not to mention details. I plan to play with it some more (and hopefully know when to stop). One of the most enjoyable things about this particular work was that it felt as though my hands were far more knowledgeable about the subtler forms of the face and head. Much more confident. Clearly the skull sculpt has been a valuable exercise (although I didn't touch it today).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm sure doing all these deep muscles is overkill, but I'm honestly having fun. Still struggling with trying to figure out which muscles go under others and which go over, especially for these deep muscles, but I'm hoping it'll all work out in the end. I do have a 3-D model of a facial ecorche but the deep muscles don't show, so it's not much help at this point.

Both of the muscles around the eye socket and the mouth start with "Orbicularis", which I'm guessing means something like "circular muscle", since they're both uniquely round (I haven't yet drawn in the muscles fibers on the mouth below, so it looks more smooth and skin-like -- I'll fix that next time).

Front view -- it looks a little off proportionally, but I think that's because I haven't put in the cartilage and muscles around the nose. Once that's in the nose will appear a bit lower than the nasal hole that's there now.