Saturday, September 22, 2007

Neo Megilp

I just started using a new medium called Neo Megilp by Robert Gamblin. It's a required supply for the class I am taking from Gage Mace; Painting the Figure in Oils, at the Hipbone Studio (read more about this class on my Zen blog).

I like Neo Megilp so far, in fact I used it for a large sunflower painting (that's still drying). It makes the paint flow off the brush onto the canvas in a smooth way. Of course, if you use too much it sort of makes a slime. The downside is dry time. I'm used to Liquin, which dries overnight. But Neo Megilp won't dry for a couple of days.

Neo Megilp is a clear amber, thick, goeey substance that doesn't want to come out of the bottle when you turn it upside down (like ketchup). The label says it's a 21st century formulation of one of the Old Master's true secrets. I read somewhere that its "ecofriendly." I don't really know what that means because the label also says it contains petroleum distillate. If swallowed do not induce vomiting. Call physician immediately. Like anyone would drink the stuff?! But if you can imagine what the Old Master's formulas contained, stuff like black oil, mastic varnish, damar, linseed and other mysterious ingredients. There's a good description of these formulations in the book How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard.

To use it I pour a little dab in a small wide dish. Then I dip my brush into it before I pick up some paint. So it mixes with the paint on my brush when I stroke it on the canvas.

I continue to be interested in painting techniques. Using Neo Megilp is another experience for me. You can read about some of the other mediums I've used in this post.
If anyone knows more about Neo Megilp feel free to post a comment.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Eyes of Van Gogh

I recently came across a website for the film "The Eyes of Van Gogh." It is the story , never told before, of the twelve nightmarish months Vincent van Gogh spent in the insane asylum at St. Remy.

The film explores the theme of an artistic mind in torment, a creative soul in despair, an exquisitely sensitive being ravaged and destroyed by cruelty, wracked by indifference and loneliness, yet desperately seeking to live, to hope, to finish his work, to find a path other than those leading to madness or death.

I would love to see this film, however; the website does not give any information about how to view it.

Does anyone know how to see it? Is it on video?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Marie and Katie in April

Katie and I shared a featured artist show at the Broadway Gallery in April 2007.
Here's our show. Our work complimented each other well. Even our outfits matched!

April Featured Artist

Here is my show at the Broadway Gallery during April 2007.
I shared the wall space with my art friend Katie. Our works complimented each other well. All the ladies at the gallery helped organize an opening reception. It was a good show.

Rotary Auction Painting

Water Lilies at Lake Sacajawea - oil painting
auctioned at the Rotary Fund Raiser
This painting was donated to the Rotary Fund Raiser.
Funds raised will be used for local scholarships.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fond Brun

My painting, Multi-colored Garden, in progress. You can see the pinkish purple background color "fond brun." Painting on this toned canvas was very soothing.

What is "fond brun?" Karina gave me a lovely book for Christmas, Van Gogh's Gardens. In it there were beautiful pictures of gardens recreated from the descriptions of gardens in Vincent Van Gogh's letters.
I've always been curious about the paints and techniques of van Gogh, and I found a great website, Vincent van Gogh Paintings Project, that describes his techniques very well. I never knew this, but he favored the standard, machine-made, finely woven linen canvases (portrait linen) that were toned with "fond brun violet" (normal in those days), consisting of white, carmine and traces of light-yellow.

To recreate the effect, I gessoed my canvas with a mixture of acrylic gesso tinted with alizarin crimson and cadmium yellow acrylics. I've been lucky enough to see a few original van Gogh paintings in museums, and I've always wondered how his canvases got that pinkish orange tone. (You can see it in places where his brush strokes didn't completely cover the canvas.) Now I know!
The finished painting.

A detail.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How I paint

Late last summer another daily painter artist asked me how I paint. I promised her I'd post the information to my blog. Diligently, I did, posting how I prepare canvases and the types of mediums and mixtures I use. By the time I got around to posting how I paint--five months later--the actual process of how I paint changed, not that unusual for me. Painting is like navigating a bumpy road. Sometimes you go slow, sometime you go fast, sometimes you change course altogether. The best techniques often go awry and I vow to paint in an altogether different fashion, which then runs it's course and I start over again. Best to just explain how I was painting then, and go on to how I want to paint now.

Then, ie: last summer, after mentoring with an Old Master's accomplished artist--a truly amazing lady--I learned how to apply a Verdaccio, followed by several layers of thinned flesh or background colors, building up a transulent and glossy surface. The finished paintings are truly amazing, replete with detail and translucence. I look at them with awe. Did I really paint them? Yes. Could I do it again? Maybe. One of them took me from July to December--five months. In the process I became bored, impatient, frustrated, unfocused and elated. I've discovered I'm a narcisistic painter. When I'm painting it's all about me. How I feel about the painting and how it looks at that very moment. If I don't get gratified, I find it hard to keep going. And granted, there was plenty of gratification when I got to the fifth month. But getting there? It takes a lot out of me. Here's one example. And one more.

Then came the holidays and my typical goal setting, mental house-cleaning New Year's mentality. I vowed to paint faster, freer and with more emotion and less technical perfection. Coupled with a chance to read a couple of good books about Georgia O'Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh. Did either of them spend more than a day on a painting? I think not! They painted immediately, sensorily and from the emotion of color. That is what I want to do.
Thus, two paintings emerged. One came with plenty of frustration. The other with ease. Don't ask me why. But they emerged into either simplification of form or direct application of color.

I found a wonderful website called the Vincent Van Gogh Painting Project that describes the "fond brun" (rose/violet tinted) canvas surface that was typical in Van Gogh's time. I tinted my canvas in a similar fashion, using gesso mixed with a rose and cad. yellow acrylic. It was both calming and stimulating to paint on a surface that is beautiful even before I stroke the brush. Small areas left uncovered show through with the wonderful pink/orange tint that I've so often wondered about in his paintings. Now I know!
Simply stated, I mixed up a whole bunch of colors with abandon, stroked them onto the fond brun tinted surface without much blending, kept my brushes and mixtures clean, didn't use any medium, and stopped before I could mess it all up! Viola, that's how I paint now, or at least how I want to keep painting until I change course again. Results? I'll let you decide. . . .