Monday, June 30, 2008

new on the block

Painting a day: Silver Knife, Waterglass, and Green Bottle

I put this one up on ebay today. Click the image for more info.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

YouTube videos

A reader commenting on State of the Art reminded me that I hadn't made any YouTube videos lately.

Quite true.

Since they actually require a little time and planning, and I'm not at a stage with any of my paintings that it makes sense to do it, I'm thinking about doing a sort of montage-of-recent-paintings video. Hopefully I can get to it sometime this week.

Meanwhile, click on the above image to see those videos I do currently have.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Musty basement smell

Nope, no painting today. On the road until late afternoon, then spent most of the evening cleaning / reorganizing my basement workshop.

Way to spend a saturday night, huh?

Friday, June 27, 2008


I just couldn't pull it together and get a lot of work done today... too many distractions, and I was frankly kinda lazy too. All I managed to get done was the top portion of the marmalade in the jar. There are a lot of air bubbles in the mixture, which I thought would be annoying to paint - turns out they're kinda fun... almost meditative.

One drawback of working with underpaintings is that the surface occassionally dries to a nearly enamal-like finish. This makes it very difficult to apply the next layer of paint - it can bead up almost like rain on a windshield. The answer is to apply retouch varnish, preferably before starting on the final layer. Otherwise, I have to stop midstream, apply retouch, and wait for it to dry before proceeding. Like today, for instance...

My Nemesis

So this is The Mutt, who keeps us up nights and sees to it I don't get enough work done. 11 years old today, amazing for a Great Dane, more so since he's had some pretty rough close calls this past year.

Happy birthday Puppling.

And because I'm already not productive, I spent the first few hours today tricking out my easel with speakers and a subwoofer, 'cause who doesn't wanna listen to podcasts in surround sound?

Now where'd I put all my Chili Peppers CDs...?

new on the block

Painting a day: Peeled Orange and Knife on a Blue Plate

I put this one up on ebay today. Click the image for more info.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I blame the dog

After spending the first part of the week doing drawings and underpaintings, I thought I'd better spend some time working on the final painting stage for one or two pieces.

I did, sort of...

We have a very old Great Dane, who coincidentally turns 11 today (average G.D. lifespan is 6 years). He's been pretty sick lately, and today he interrupted me every 10 minutes or so with a barking fit. Mostly just bitching and moaning, I think, but I had to go check up on him anyway. I have a moderate case of ADD, and whenever there's an interruption, it takes 15 minutes to re-establish my focus. You can see the problem.

I'm not really sure how I go about setting a day's goal, as it usually never works out that way. I had thought I'd like to complete this painting today. I was at least able to complete the paper wrapper on the lid.

Small victories... small victories...

2 object composition

I actually did manage to finish off that second underpainting for the day - see above.

For a long while, I've been primarily doing grisaille underpaintings; all gray. Lately I've been returning to color washes; underpaintings in very thin layers of full color. I originally learned this when I studied with Dennis Cheaney. At first, it seemed like a waste of time, and I only used it in class. Recently, though, I'm seeing it as almost a rehersal to the final painting. Interestingly, I also find it doesn't take any more time than a completely gray scale version would.

Looking at my current works in progress, I just realized I have a number of paintings that have 2 objects in them. Ironically, it seems more difficult to make a satisfying composition with 2 objects than with 3 or even more. Not entirely sure why, probably easier to create balance and counterpoint with more objects. Anyway, of these, I'm thinking this one seems to have the best composition.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DaVinci Lapis Lazuli

This week I picked up a tube of DaVinci's Lapis Lazuli Genuine. Lapis has traditionally been just about the most expensive pigment because it's, well, ground-up semi-precious gemstone. To boot, 400 years ago it had to be imported to Europe from what is now Afghanistan. It was eventually more or less entirely replaced by a synthetic ultramarine pigment.

Anyway, I noticed that DaVinci was offering a tube of the real thing, and for only about $15. At that price, I suspected it would not be a particularly brilliant or pure color, and that turns out to be the case; it is a little on the muddy side as you can see in the above tint mixture. In all fairness, it's not quite as dirty as the picture would suggest.

That said, I will be keeping it on my palette. It's fairly weak in mixtures compared to all the other blues I use, and this is actually a good thing. Most modern pigments are strong stainers - the phthalos, for instance, are basically nuclear-powered juggernauts, easily overwhelming just about any paint they're combined with. Therefore I'm always happy to find pigments which only impart the suggestion of their hue in mixtures. Rembrandt's ultramarine green is also very useful from that perspective. Oddly, they seem to be the only manufacturer that offers that particular pigment, at least in oil.

I got the tube from Cheap Joes.

Blue Plate Special

Making a painting is NOT a linear process for me. Rather it's a set of stages, and there are frequently up to 10 paintings going through any given stage at once. This week I'm in the process of doing a batch of underpaintings, which lately I've been doing in full color, as opposed to grisaille.

Above is today's efforts so far... about 1/2 a working day to finish this underpainting. The plan has been to do 2 a day for the entire week, and thus get through all 10 underpaintings in the current batch.


Really? Another blog?

If you're reading this, you probably got here from my other painting blog, State of the Art. Why then start another blog on the same subject?

For some time, I've wanted to blog a little more regularly, delving into issues of painting, and also just day to day updates of what is (or isn't) happening in my studio. I've come to view my State of the Art as more of a show-room, where I can display my newest paintings. Rather than muddying the waters and putting my nuts-n-bolts posts there, it seemed better to just start a new blog altogether.

So there you have it...