Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sum of All Parts

Some of you who read this blog may know that I have some insecurities about how slowly I paint. It's a source of great frustration for me, because I love using oils, but my technique is such that it takes an inordinately long time to get anything finished. I often see other artists who can finish 5 or more pieces to every one of mine, and it makes me feel like I'm moving in slow motion or underwater. I definitely would be the tortoise in the "tortoise and hare" story, that's for sure. Sometimes I feel like I'm not even part of the hobby because I'm not always out there with something new every few weeks.

But I have discovered something that may help me speed up a little bit. I like to use alkyd mediums when I paint, which have a moderate drying effect, but they don't work the same way as cobalt or japan driers do (supposedly they are a more flexible film not prone to cracking). So I did a little experiment with three of the mediums:

Winsor & Newton Liquin Original, Daniel Smith Oil Painting Medium, and Liquin Fine Detail. I used Rembrandt's Permanent Red Light for this experiment because it seems to stay wet on my palette for weeks at a time, and I mixed about 15% medium with paint. The results were interesting. Liquin Original and DS Painting Medium were pretty much dry to the touch after 24 hours, but Liquin Fine Detail had a tacky feeling to it. It took a couple of days before the Fine Detail medium felt more dry. And wouldn't you know it? That is the medium that I was using to paint my models with! So I have switched over to Liquin Original (which I LOVE) and I'm much happier with the drying times now. I plan on having a more thorough review of the mediums in a future post.

Another thing I am trying to do is to paint only part of the model in each session. For instance, I have divided it up into underside, body, head, mane/tail, legs, so that each day I can concentrate on one part of the model while the rest of it dries. That way I can keep painting on each piece every day. I don't know if this actually makes anything speedier, but it feels like it to me.

I have a bunch of pictures to share, but I guess they can wait 'til the next post since I've run on with this one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weekly Update

I've been working a lot on Ravenhill, refining his color and blanket. I also worked on his mane and tail some more. I plan on working on his head and legs a little more, and his blanket still needs a little more coverage. I have barely touched his feet yet.

Here's Lajjina's offside, I've worked some more on her overall color and I felt that her light areas were getting a little too yellow, so I'm starting to tone that down.

Finn has had some major work done to his coloring. I felt that he was getting too reddish and brash-looking, I'm going for a more subtle look on him.

Those are the three pieces I've worked on the most over the last week, as well as continuing prepwork on a couple of other pieces. I will probably remain focused on these three pieces for a little while.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekly Update

Well, I'm happy to say I was able to finish up both of my projects over the last week, so I'm back to my regular schedule this week. Here's a peek at the finished NAN donation. I've got a full set of pictures of him in the "Dilutes" section of my website if you'd like to check him out. He was really a joy to paint :-)

I got another layer of paint on Lajjina. At this point I would say she is maybe 30% done. The way I paint uses semi-transparent color and I often use glazes, so it takes a long time to build up color, and the color changes a lot before it finalizes. Anyway, She still has a ways to go, and her dapples still look very blobby and weird so they will be worked on quite a bit. I can see a couple of socks on her.

Ravenhill and Finn got sprayed so I can evaluate their color better. They are both approximately 75% finished, and I'm also continuing to prep a couple of commission pieces. Next week I hope to have some more good pictures!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Visit to Dick Blick

I often order from Dick Blick's catalog. I have found that they have the most items that I like to order, in stock, so I usually try to go with them when I'm ordering online. Their prices aren't the cheapest but they are reasonable. I really like their dependability and I also like the way their web site is set up, it's pretty easy to find most of their products.

Blick recently opened a store in Seattle, so I made the way up there last week to check it out. It's a very convenient location for them (close to several art schools) on Broadway and Pine. Their web site said they had validated parking, but I couldn't find the parking garage so I ended up parking on the street and paying for it. The store itself is big and very well-stocked. I was in a hurry because I didn't have a lot of change for the parking meter, so I kind of rushed through it, but I did notice that they had a lot of different brands of oil paint, lots of different colored pencils in open stock, and airbrushes and airbrush supplies, too. They had a much larger collection of paint and pencils than Daniel Smith's store. I forgot to look at their canvas, paper and stretchers section, though. They are probably going to give Utrecht, which has a smaller store not far away, a lot of competition.

There were two people at the checkstand and it was crowded, and I'm sorry to say both cashiers seemed a little surly. Maybe they were just having a bad day. I did find out the parking garage is behind the store in the alley.

So now I have to decide whether I want to shop at their physical store or continue to order online. If I order online I have to pay for shipping ($6.95?) but if I drive to the store, it's about $2.50 or so in gas, plus about an hour and a half of my time. I will probably end up just ordering, unless I'm downtown and have some extra time to shop, which isn't very often.

Other news: I have two deadlines I am trying to meet by the end of next week, one being the NAN donation and the other is a painting that I'm working on for an upcoming show in June. I must get these two things done, so the next few days I will be working on those two projects exclusively. Then I will get right back to commissions and other sales pieces. In the meantime, here is a photo of the Dinky Duke I've been working on. He's one of my on-and-off sales pieces, but he's finally getting to a point where I can start finishing him up: