Friday, February 26, 2016

Thumbnails and Sketches and the Harmonic Armature

Here's a painting in process, beginning with my drawing.  I'll post more pics as my painting progresses.  My work always begins with rough thumbnailsin this beginning stage I have fun playing around with design and shapesMy goal is to work out any compositional or drawing issues before I start committing with paint.  With larger paintings I always work with intervals and placement by using the harmonic armature.  When I have the most pleasing composition I make sure my still life set-up matches the thumbnail to capture proper light and cast shadows in my full size drawing.  

I use a basic armature to help place objects in my painting.  Armatures help locate certain intervals in a composition that are more pleasing to the eye.  We also find similar intervals in music that are pleasing to the ears, for example in music the fourth, fifth and octave are so pleasing they are called 'perfect' intervals.  So, it is a given that there are specific intervals, from nature, that are more pleasing to the eyes and ears.  I find that working with intervals is very intuitive in designing a painting.

Above you can see a simple drawing that is the same size as my painting panel, above you can see the armature and compare how it matches my thumbnail.

Once the drawing is finished I cover the back of the drawing with thinned burnt umber or other earth toned paint.  The solvent evaporates leaving a perfect amount of pigment on the paper to transfer with out smudging. 

Finally I flip the drawing over and retrace my drawing, transferring the image onto my panel.  The process takes no time at all and I'm ready to move on to painting!  In my next post I'll share the underpainting.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Fumed Silica in Linseed Oil Painting Medium

Still Life with Red Faced Warbler  9"x12"  oil/panel

It's been a very interesting start to 2016, and I find myself rarely having a moment to sit or have a peaceful moment.  Life is always upside down in the Siltala household, but always moving onward and upward!  2016 is looking like a very interesting year, big changes in store. Much needed fresh starts, letting go and leaving behind distractions and clutter--both mentally and physically. Pursuing less is more in a very active way, and getting back to what's real.  More news in future months.

As for what's on the easel, lately I've been playing around with a new medium: fumed silica and my own hand refined sun thickened linseed oil.  You can see the process for creating your own linseed oil HERE, it is unlike any oil you can buy at the art store.  

When fumed silica is combined with oil it forms a gel. Fumed Silica is used in modern industry as a thickening agent in paint, as an abrasive in toothpaste, in make-up for it's light-diffusing properties--and is found many other things around the house.  Fumed Silica is extremely light, powdery and becomes airborn very easily.  It's VERY important to wear a mask when working with it.  

As I mix the oil into the silica it is very thick, but within a very short amount of time the gel begins to literally 'melt' into a clear puddle.  I add more silica until I have the consistency I'm looking for.  It will gel up again after it sits in my jar due to it's thixotropic tendencies.  It is quite easy to mix with a palette knife and adjust the consistency w/out too much work.

Above you can see the pool of medium with fumed silica added after it sits and puddles.  I add more silica to this and wait, until I have the right thickness.  It makes a great glazing medium, I especially like to mix a little liquin into the fumed silica medium and add a resinous quality too it.  It's my new favorite glazing medium.