Tag Archives: glass

Finished At Last!

Still LIfe With Hydrangea No. 1 and No. 2

The oil on canvas version of Still Life with Hydrangea (on the right) that I started back in mid-summer is finally finished.  It just needs some drying time and a coat of varnish.  The acrylic version on the left was finished last month, but I thought I’d wait until both were done to “unveil” them.

I started with oil paints that are water-miscible (water-mixable or water soluble — all three mean the same).  I determined that they weren’t all they were marketed to be.  Some colors/brands mix with water better than others.  Some mix better with turpentine substitute (mineral spirits).  Some don’t mix very well with either.  Most colors got gummy at some point and resisted spreading.   I ended up giving in and buying a bottle of Turpenoid® and a set of inexpensive conventional oil paints — the supposedly noxious chemicals that I’d been avoiding all my life for fear that they were dangerous to work with.

I found that I had been silly to wait so long to try oils.  I had always assumed that oil painting required a big bucket of solvent. For that I blame Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting… also my unpleasant experiences with oil-based house paint.  I bought a nifty little stainless steel cup with a spill-proof lid and a grate inside for rubbing the brushes against to clean them.  It only needs a few ounces of solvent and it can be reused over and over again before needing to clean the cup and change the solvent, because the paint solids sink to the bottom under the grate. I can’t believe in all my years of making art, I never learned about this.

I’m sure you knew all about this and you’re shaking your head at my ignorance.  Anyway, I’m very happy with how both paintings turned out and I will be posting them for sale shortly — the oil version will need to dry first.  And I’ll need to keep my fingers out of the paint while it does.  I seem to be getting better at that.

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No, You Aren’t Seeing Things.

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Yes, that’s a still life in black and white.  Don’t adjust you set!  (Seriously dated myself there.)  Actually it’s the under-painting — about 3/4 finished.  It’s an Old Masters technique that I read about, painting the values first to establish the form and then glazing over with color.  They used it mainly on flesh tones.

I’m trying it out on a still life… because a peach is not going to complain that I didn’t capture her likeness adequately.  Actually, if those peaches could talk, I think they’d be flattered.  No wait, I already baked them in a cobbler, so they wouldn’t say a word.  (Working from a reference photo at this point.)

I’ve got five cherries, a white pitcher and one big flower yet to go, and then I can get to the really fun part — glorious color.  This stage is getting tedious, but I’m very pleased with the results so far.  I especially like the way the wood grain in the table is turning out, and the reflection of the pitcher in the shiny wood.  (That reflection is pretty subtle at this point — probably can’t see it in this small photo.)

I think I stopped fussing with the wood grain just in time.  There is a famous art school proverb about painting:  “It takes two people to make a painting — the artist to paint it, and another person to clobber the artist over the head and stop him before he messes it up.”