Monday, July 24, 2017

Mulling Paint, Grind Your Own Oil Paint

Here is a demo on how I make my own oil paint.  In the pic above you can see everything laid out except my dust mask.  Particles can become airborne and a dust mask is important.

To make oil paint you need:
glass plate
glass muller
linseed oil-cold pressed
(I use my own hand made linseed oil)
a couple palette knives
paint tube


First I lay out an amount of dry pigment that I think will fit my empty paint tube.  I lay the tube next to my pile to measure.

Next I make a pool of oil in the middle of the pigment.  The white in the pigment is a touch of calcite that I've mixed in.  I like adding calcite to my oil paint, it adds a touch of transparency and extends the paint.  That is a definite bonus for creating your own oils, you can customize them to your liking.  I also add a touch of sun oil to raw umber, in combination with the calcite I get a very specific texture that is great for under-paintings.

I use a palette knife to mix the oil and pigment into a dry mixture and place it in the upper left corner of my glass plate.  I will now mull small amounts at a time to the proper consistency.  

I continue until I am through the entire mixture, placing finished paint to the top right on my glass plate.  I sometimes go through the mixture twice, in case I need to add more oil if it's very dry, or more pigment if it's too wet.  Once you start mulling the paint it changes texture and different pigments react differently after coming in contact with oil.  Some will thin out considerably.

A 50 ml tube will take about an hour to mix correctly, it's time consuming but not difficult. 

A finished mixture of raw umber, ready to tube!

Below you can see the dramatically different textures of different pigments, each unique in particle size and handling ability.  Not all paints I make end up on my palette, but when I discover something that works for me it becomes a staple that I rely on in my painting process.  I have learned how amazingly unique each pigment is, and how you can manipulate the handling properties by using different oils and extenders.  Experimenting takes time but is completely worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Wit and Whimsy" Show

My work is up at Sage Creek Gallery for a show that lasts until June 25th.  I have many new paintings in the gallery and have been stocking away work for months.  I am super pleased with the final pieces and seeing everything come together is very rewarding.

Preparing for shows takes a lot of time, energy and planning.  I like to make lists of ideas, and thumbnails of possible series and groupings, all throughout the creative process. 

Abundance  11"x14"  oil/panel

I was especially pleased with the paintings for this show.  I felt the surfaces and colors have developed more in the past year than in previous years.  I am seeing the results of working with my handmade paints and mediums and relying on the unique quality of the individual oil colors to contribute to the final look of the painting.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Passing Storm, landscape demo

desert landscape oil painting
Passing Storm  24"x24" oil/panel

I completed this landscape after working out issues with it for several weeks.  When I begin a landscape it is all feeling, intuition and memory.  I felt something when I gazed at a the clouds and sky during a stormy evening, it is that emotion I am intent on capturing...  I do not think of color or shapes, I think of luminosity and the grandeur of the New Mexico landscape.  How small I feel in the wind and oncoming storm.  The vastness of the desert landscape and how the rolling hills are empty and quiet, beyond civilization and human's reach. 

First I begin my painting with a concept; I see something that inspires me to paint.  Usually that is the spectacular light of the sky against the desert horizon as in “Passing Storm”.   I paint from memory, using thin layers to wash in the cloud formation.  For the foreground I use a large ratty bristle brush and umber with impasto medium to build texture of the grass and desert growth with thicker paint.  The beginning of a landscape is just prepwork for the effects I want to achieve in the final painting.  I add a few spots of juniper bushes to establish my darkest dark and a strip of light along the horizon for my lightest light.  This first step is just a whisper of what I want to capture.  

After this dries I continue the painting with photo references or often going out to my own backyard for direct observation.  I add more details.  I refine the shape of the light and bottom of the cloud mass and distant hills.

Finally the sky is glazed with transparent color and semi-transparent color, and the top of the clouds are carved out alternating soft and hard edges to retain the loftiness of a storm cloud.  The lightest  light is layered one more time to create the most lightfast paint quality and luminosity.  The warm glazes in the clouds and light radiating out across the low hills and foreground create the atmosphere I had envisioned in my first inspiration and concept.  All the previous work has come together to create a sense of the grandeur of the desert sky during a summer storm.