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Walk through the park

Originally posted on January, 29, 2009

"Walk through the Park", oil on linen, 35cm x 27cm, 2009

“Walk through the Park”, oil on linen, 35cm x 27cm, 2009

Where is the source for this image? I do not know. I have done countless paintings and sketches along the Doubs, close to home.

Paints used were a mix of Sennelier and Blocks. I used a mixture of safflower oil and Zest-it. Zest-it seems to be a good non-toxic substitute for turpentine. Colza oil was used to keep the brushes clean. Marseille soap was used on them for the final cleaning. Colza oil in France is cheap and for me it does a good job. The Zest-it is manufactured in Great Britain. Mr. Sennelier assures me that it is non toxic. In any case, I use very little to start the painting and then add no additives, or mediums to the paint. We now know that most of the old masters painted without adding additional mediums to the linseed and/or poppy oil already in the paint.

Published in french as Promenade dans le parc

Acrylic Golden Open: A new paint (2)

Originally posted on January, 29, 2009

"Morning on the San Juan" Golden Open acrylic on stretched canvas, 46cm x 38cm, 2009
“Morning on the San Juan” Golden Open acrylic on stretched canvas, 46cm x 38cm, 2009
"Jura Heights" Golden Open acrylic on stretched canvas, 30cm x 24cm, 2009
“Jura Heights” Golden Open acrylic on stretched canvas, 30cm x 24cm, 2009

For the first part of this article, click here.

After a few days of this I felt confident enough to try a painting on canvas. Above is my first painting : “Morning on the San Juan”.

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Golden Open Acrylic: A new Paint

Originally posted on January, 29, 2009

"A Golden Coast" Golden Open acrylic on 100% cotton paper, 22cm x 16cm, 2009
“A Golden Coast” Golden Open acrylic on 100% cotton paper, 22cm x 16cm, 2009

Golden’s new acrylic is not the only extended time acrylic out there. This technology is coming out of the US where there is evidently a very strong interest in acrylic as well as the new dye based watercolors (I must note that the later are fugitive paints). Quite frankly, I have had little interest in any of this. I have, however, for many years an interest in an alternative to painting with solvent for health reasons. From time to time I’ve picked up some acrylic and worked with them for a short period of time. I’ve never liked them much but Golden’s acrylics are the best I’ve tried.

After reading about them I’ve patiently waited for the new Golden Open Acrylics to arrive in France. After getting over the shock of how expensive they are for an acrylic I bought some this last week. As Golden says in their literature it is “A paint like no other”. They dry considerably slower than what we know as acrylics. Also, you can use those good brushes without fear that they will be damaged. These paints stay “open” or workable long enough to permit techniques impossible with normal acrylics. I found them relatively easy to work with over a 3 hour period. With an oil painting it would have taken much longer as I would have spent much time waiting for the paint to dry a little. This 3 hours time frame makes it potentially an ideal medium for alla prima plein air painting. (Note: I like to work fast with fresh paint rather than over work it.)

So, the image above was one of my first attempts to do something. I did a number of these small paintings on paper to get a feeling for how the different pigments work with each other. Anyone who grinds their own oil paints would appreciate the pigments integrity. Rather than following the current trend of homogenizing the various pigments so that they all work alike Golden allows each pigment to follow its natural characteristics. Here there is no shortcut: you need to mix paints together to see how they work. It is a good excuse to play with paint!

To be continued …

Published in french as Acrylique Golden Open : une nouvelle peinture

Towards a Personal Painting Approach

Originally posted on December, 7, 2008

In my last post I attempted to give some ideas about painting in contrast to photography. Those thoughts directly apply to what I want to talk about here.

For many years my preparations before I pick up a brush have been the same for most of my paintings. Many painters used this approach. It is the “prepare like a turtle and paint like a rabbit” methodology. The time spent actually painting is brief in comparison to the non-painting time. This, of course, was the traditional way. When technology by way of the paint tube made direct plein air alla prima painting practical many painters followed that direction. Without going into details here, the point I want to make is this: I think that what was lost to a very a large degree was an appreciation of the value of mentally digesting the painting, and, most importantly, absorbing those primary sensations that initially sparked the interest.

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