Author: William_F._Martin, Contributing Editor
|PALETTE - (in order used in the painting)
French Ultramarine Blue
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Light
Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 503 (a transparent magenta)
Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow 653
From left to right: 3/4" Loew Cornell Flat, #10 Loew Cornell Filbert, two #6 Lowe Cornell Filberts (one has a short handle, one has a long handle), #0 Loew Cornell Liner. I believe that is the extent of the brushes I used for this glazed painting.
I don't know the exact material of which each is made, but they are either sable, or some synthetic that is quite similar to sable. Most bristles are inclined to leave too many brush strokes for a procedure such as this, so I opt for the softer ones.
|INFORMATION ON MEDIUM
The medium that I use is basically a Linseed Oil based medium, with three different mixtures: A "lean" for underpainting, a "medium" for the middle layers, and a "fat" for the final, topmost layers.
I have a list of these mixes typed up, and propped in the lid of my easel. I can't seem to remember the recipes from time to time when I do my mixing, so here are the recipes.:
LEAN: 5 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
1 part Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
1 part Stand Oil
MEDIUM: 2 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
2 parts Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
1 part Linseed Oil
FAT: 2 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
1 part Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
2 parts Sun Thickened Linseed Oil
For painting the grisaille underpainting, I would use the "lean" mixture, as it contains less Linseed Oil (the "fat" ingredient). For the middle layers, the "medium" mixture is appropriate, and for the final, topmost layers, the "fat" mixture is the best. But, please realize that although the "rule" is to paint "fat over lean", there is nothing wrong with painting "lean over lean" or "fat over fat". This keeps the drying of each layer compatible with each other. We don't want faster drying mediums on top of slower drying medium, as we try to avoid cracking of the upper layers.
Notice, that I have indicated either Turpentine or Oil of Spike (Lavender) for the recommended solvent. I use either. Actually, Oil of Spike is a more agressive solvent than Turpentine. It smells quite good, and if you want something that will "bite" into the previous layer a bit more than turpentine, this is certainly the solvent to use. Don't mistake it for Linseed Oil. Oil of Spike is not the replacement for Linseed! It is a solvent (similar to Turpentine),--not an "oil", even though it may be called such.
Many artists use Damar Varnish as the "resin" in the mix, and others believe it is a bad idea, mostly because of archival problems in yellowing, and the questionable inability remain intact when the coating of Damar Varnish needs to be removed for cleaning. I have used it for quite a few years, but I realize that it's a bit controversial. Lately, I've had very good experience in using Venice Turpentine. Though it's called "Turpentine", it behaves more like a resin (actually a balsam) than a solvent, and helps to aid adhesion between layers, as you glaze your painting. I don't know whether it gets a bad a "rap" from conservators as Damar Varnish does, but I am using it for this painting, and it has worked well for several others before it.
This is an 8" x 10" oil on canvas.
I began this painting by first making a sketch from a reference photo onto tracing paper the exact size of the canvas to be painted. I transferred the sketch to the white, acrylic-primed canvas by hinging the tracing paper sketch at the top of the canvas with tape, and placing transfer paper between the canvas and the tracing paper sketch, with its graphite coated side down, in contact with the canvas.
Using a ballpoint pen, I drew over the main lines on the sketch, to transfer the image to the canvas. For those of you who subscribe to the idea that graphite somehow "migrates" through layers of oil, or "strikes through" as is sometimes claimed, I guard against this questionable phenomenon by painting a thin coat of acrylic primer (Grumbacher 525 Arcylic Gesso) over the transferred image.
This thin acrylic layer allows the graphite image from the transfer paper to be visible enough for painting, while sealing it from the future oil paint layers which are often claimed to be so vulnerable to the impending "migration" of graphite. Thus far, I don't believe anyone has claimed that graphite exhibits that mysterious "striking through" characteristic through acrylic paint.