Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fun With Gourds No. 1: Nestling

Nestling (Fun With Gourds No. 1)
7 x 5", Oils on canvas covered hardboard

I had big plans to paint red carnations today, but after a trip to the local Brewster Farmer's Market, I saw these exquisitely-colored, graceful gourds and knew I'd have to paint them instead. I cut some carrot tops and put them in a bowl with the gourds nestled into them. After moving them around for awhile, I settled on this intertwined composition, like a fire-colored pair of swans. I think I see a series of them in my near future!

People often ask to see my pochade box. It was hand made for me by Loretta Louviere. Unfortunately, she is no longer making her gorgeous boxes. I use this for much of my small plein air work in oils as well as most of the 5x7" studio paintings. It goes everywhere with me. I cut a glass palette for it, which is easy to scrape clean, and I keep a full selection of artist quality paints in it to handle any painting situation. Here is the box with today's setup, palette, and painting:

The colors on the palette, from left to right, are:
Titanium white
Cadmium yellow lemon
Cadmium yellow pale
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Venetian Red
Transparent Red Oxide
Cerulean Blue
Ultramarine Blue

I don't generally paint with all those colors, but I have them all handy, and usually select about six plus white. This painting was something of an exception and I think I dabbled in everything except the venetian red and alizarin!


Blogger "JeanneG" said...

I saw at your ebay site that the oils dry in about a week. What do you use that makes they dry that fast? When I painted in oils, it took weeks and about 6 months before I could spray them. Thanks, Jeanne "J"

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Jeanne, they are dry to the touch (on the surface only!) in a week or two. That is the point at which I ship them. Sometimes it takes a little longer.

You are completely correct that oils should not be varnished for at least six months, and preferably a year. Any art museum conservator, as well as the varnish manufacturers themselves, will tell you that it is not safe to varnish paintings before that time. If alkyd paints or mediums are used, then sometimes they can be varnished after three months, but it's better to wait six.

Even if oil paintings are dry to the touch on the surface, varnishing them can turn the whole thing into a sticky mess, or can bond with the paint film creating future restoration problems, or can coat the paint so that it can never fully cure and dry under the surface. There are many artists who do varnish earlier than the recommended time period, but I do not. I am always happy to varnish paintings for my customers at a later date, after the painting has had a year to cure, for a very nominal fee to cover shipping and expenses.

3:29 PM  
Blogger "JeanneG" said...

I just wondered. I used to do oils. It's been like 20 years ago. I did do one this year after tax season. My cousing wanted a mountain/lake scene and couldn't find one. She asked if I would do it. It was a chore. I didn't enjoy it. Seemed messier than I remembered. That picture took forever to dry even on the surface. It was larger than I have done before, and I just don't have the space in my house for it to dry. I had to smell the turp too long. Not a fond memory. I told her it would be my last. hubby likes oils better than anything and doesn't like that I might not do more. So I bought some water soluble oils to try.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Jeanne, I don't use any turp at all in my paintings, so there's no smell! You can paint with just straight oil paint---nothing added. Find a paint that has a consistency you like straight out of the tube, and just go with that. :) You'll be amazed at how hassle-free the whole experience can be!

Water soluble oils are also a good alternative, and provide such easy clean-up.

2:16 PM  

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