View Full Version : The Oil Gusher April 14 - April 20

Pat Isaac
04-14-2008, 08:05 AM
Good morning everyone,

Great day, the sun is shining after a cold rain. We had a great trip to NY, beautiful weather and my BIL was duly surprised at his party. Didn't have a clue. All his brothers, sisters, and good friends were there.
BTW the meeting of my art group went reasonably well. The group did not vote her way, though they did vote to have an open house in May which is fine. I won't be around to help and many others will not be open, but we'll see how this goes. However, she's off an running again, with the idea of outside people for the board....:eek: I was good took the notes and mailed out the minutes.
Missed some studio time last week so really have to get busy today.
So come in and share your joys, concerns...or just the day to day routine and lets get aquainted.

Have a great day:) :) :)


04-14-2008, 11:35 AM
I'm glad to hear that your trip went well, Pat.

Bill, in another thread you mentioned that you wanted the book "The Painter's Handbook" by Mark Gottsegen. I have a copy but it doesn't have much information about oil pastels. The information about pigments is very scientific. I prefer "Artist's Colour Manual" by Simon Jennings.

I downloaded free an artist's manual from either www.openlibrary.org (http://www.openlibrary.org) or www.archive.org (http://www.archive.org) ; I don't remember which. The book is called "The Artist's Companion and Manufacturer's Guide" and was written in 1814. It has a good recipe to prevent flies from sitting on pictures. This may help me with the fruit flies! Unfortunately, it involves a pail of rotting leeks. There are also recipes for making ultramarine and other pigments and paints as well as making counterfeit diamonds and gold. Unfortunately, some of the recipes require hot cow dung, boiling mercury, setting hens and dead eels. Interesting experiments, though, should you have the ingredients at hand.


04-14-2008, 01:47 PM
Pat: I'm very glad you had a good time at your BIL's and that the party was a success. :) Good too, that the meeting of your art group went reasonably well. Why would she want to have an Open Studios when most of the artists aren't going to be there, and why bring outside people to the board??? I guess the most important question is when is the next election so you all can throw the rascal out? :lol:

Wendell and Bill: I have a copy of Mayer's classic book, which, although some of the info is out of date, is still quite useful for many of the basics. I think a revised version is available, although I don't know how recently the revision was done. For detailed information on pigments, one book that is very good is The Wilcox Guide To The Best Watercolor Paints by Michael Wilcox. Although the book's focus is pigments in watercolors paints, he provides detailed information (pigment name, source, historical use, lightfastness, problems/advantages in art use, etc.), along with color swatches, on just about all pigments currently available for artists. It may be available from your local library. Another good source of pigment info is the Handprint site: http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html It also deals with pigments in watercolor, but the basic pigment information should be the same. Gottsegen may not really be quite up to speed on oil pastels, although he seems quite knowledgeable on many other art materials.

Wendell: That 1814 book sounds fascinating - aren't you glad that today we have manufacturers doing the work for us? I don't think I'd want to mess around with mercury or cow dung. :eek:

Let us know how your rotting leek experiment goes. :lol: You could always just resign yourself to the fruit flies. I've seen closeups of Monet's work and he incorporated not only little insects, but hairs from his brushes and his head as well. :lol: Have you ever tried distracting the flies with a juicy piece of fruit nearby, which they might prefer to your painting for long enough for you to finish it?

Pat Isaac
04-14-2008, 03:39 PM
:eek: not until next April.....I send round an email to her and the board stating that our by-laws prohibit non resident, non artist, non member individuals from being on our board...
Good grief, Wendell, not sure that is the best way to deter fruit flies...ugh. I like Annie's method. sounds like an interesting book though.


04-14-2008, 06:59 PM
Hi Pat et al. I'm in the DC area this week (conference; science stuff) and I don't have much to do most nights. I should have brought my OPs or at least a sketch pad. At least I can edit the many hundreds of photos (actually it's more like thousands!) I took last year. Anyway, the good news is that I was awarded a "first place" in the pastel category for a local art show. I think an art critic is going through the entries tomorrow night. I'll miss that, but have someone going to take notes. The winner was the "leaves, rocks and water."

Pat Isaac
04-14-2008, 07:02 PM
Awesome, Ed. Congratulations...:clap: :clap: That is a great piece.
A toast...http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Apr-2008/35760-85002-champagne_toast.gif
What was the show? Near you in NY?


04-14-2008, 07:05 PM
Thanks, Pat. Yes, a nearby town, Cortland. It was for the Art Guild. I'll enter a few at the end of the year in Ithaca.

04-14-2008, 09:03 PM
Hi Fishfan (Ed),

congrats on the award1
Since you are in DC this week, why not check out the Palace of Wonders on H St NE? They have a show Thursday night, the Weirdo Show. I'd be glad to go with you but I am working Artomatic Thursday and Friday nights plus Saturday day. The Palace has sketching events on weekends sometimes also that are fun. I pasted in a short description below: Now who says NY has more culture than DC? :D It's a pretty small place.


From the Palace of Wonders site:
" Price: $10 Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, step right up for the Weirdo Show, the world-famous Congress of Curious Peoples. It's DC's own variety show, featuring weird, strange, unbelievable freaks, wonders and curiosities, and the very best in Burlesque, Vaudeville, Dance, Circus, Sideshow and Variety arts. Hurry hurry, you won’t want to miss a single moment of our astounding assortment of aberrations of nature and culture!"

MOCA DC is over in Georgetown, a little trendier area than H St NE and might be worth a visit. they have sketching some too, although I have never tried one of their events.


Then there is the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA. Torpedos not for sale.


04-14-2008, 09:48 PM
Thanks, Paul. Those are great suggestions and also thanks for the offer. Weirdo is right up my alley; I love that kind of stuff. Actually for the next few day I'm tied up (I told you I like weird, lol) in Gaithersburg. My one day in DC (thursday) will be devoted to some collaborations with colleagues at the Smithsonian and then a little socializing. I will put those suggestions on my list for the next visit and bring them to the attention of my friends. I'm pretty sure I was at the Torpedo Factory several years ago, but would like to return. Ed

Pat Isaac
04-15-2008, 07:45 AM
Ed, my daughter lives and works in Gaithersburg......
We go there at least once a year and I will have to go to the torpedo factory next time I'm there. Thanks for that info Paul.

Have a good week, Ed.


04-15-2008, 11:19 AM
Eek, Wendell, dead eels and boiling mercury!? I can't wait to see how that works out ;).

Spring seems to have sprung here in central California, we had record highs all weekend, but we're back to our normal low 60's today. Plenty of wind, which I like when I'm windsurfing, but a total pain if you're trying to do plein air. We'll probably get a few more days of rain before the dry season, but my brain is firmly in summer mode already.

Hey congrats on the award, Ed! Too bad no time to check out the weirdo show, sounds fun.

Is it OK if I gush for a minute? Yesterday for grins I copied a portrait from the Artist's Mag -- it was oil, but I used OP. I wasn't too fussed about a perfect likeness, but I really wanted to see how OP was for skin tones.

I have to say, this was the first time I actually enjoyed painting skin tones! I paint maybe one portrait in water-soluble oil a year, and I always enjoy the drawing part (which I usually do in oil), then struggle like crazy with the skin tones -- too red, too brown, too chalky.

Even though I just spent a couple of hours yesterday's sketch -- and it's far from perfect, believe me -- my husband wowed and said it was the best skin he's ever seen me do.

Well, maybe it was beginner's luck, but I definitely plan on trying more figurative pieces in OP. It was just such a joy to reach for a color and lay it down without having to pause to mix and adjust. And the fact they're more transparent really work when you're painting skin, IMHO.

Oil pastels rock! I joined the Oil Pastel Society as an associate last week, so I guess I'm truly hooked...

Pat Isaac
04-15-2008, 04:03 PM
So, are you going to post the portrait??? Nice to have you in the OPS.
Did some more work in the studio today and will post some updates tomorrow.


04-15-2008, 06:30 PM
Hi, Pat -

I guess I will post when I get a functioning camera again (hopefully tomorrow). It's just a copy of someone else's portrait, I doubt anyone else will be impressed, but hey, it's progress.

Glad you're getting some studio time, I don't know how you manage to juggle so many things and still turn out beautiful art. I love your boats on the "Getting Ready" thread.


Pat Isaac
04-15-2008, 06:42 PM
Thanks, Lisa and progress is always good. It means we are learning....


Pat Isaac
04-16-2008, 06:15 AM
I have an early appt. today and will be at the studio after that. I'll catch you all later.
Have a great day...:D


Ernest Friedman-Hill
04-16-2008, 09:43 AM
Ed, my daughter lives and works in Gaithersburg......
We go there at least once a year and I will have to go to the torpedo factory next time I'm there. Thanks for that info Paul.

Small world, Pat -- I live in Gaithersburg!

Pat Isaac
04-16-2008, 02:36 PM
Actually she lives in Laytonsville,(right next door) but the kids go to school in Gaithersburg. She works for Lockheed Martin. We've been there during cherry blossom time. Just amazing...
I'm finding more and more it is a small world...


04-16-2008, 05:35 PM
Pat: I'm glad to hear your nemesis' attempt is thwarted by the bylaws. I wonder what she's trying to accomplish.

Ed: A Big Congrats on your well-deserved award. :clap: As I mentioned in the thread, I'm hoping you'll enter A Walk in the Woods in competition too (in the Ithaca show or any others) - it's another sure winner, imo. :)

Lisa: I'd sure love to see your OP portrait, too. I hope you post it. OP does have the advantage of making many color choices for you. Did you use Senns? Their beautiful colors in the 200s of their series are wonderful for portraits.

Pat: Like Lisa, I wonder how you manage to get anything done with all you do here at WC. You're amazing!

Wendell: I know you're quite busy, but I have a request for when you have the time. Could you do a demo on how you use the Dorland's Wax Medium? I tried it, but it seemed to lift up the color ), so seeing how you use it would be helpful. My surface was Colorfix primer, roughly applied, on gessoed card - I don't know if the surface makes a difference - and I applied the medium with a palette knife. I was trying to achieve an even layer of color but it just didn't work. Just a few images would probably be enough - you needn't do an entire WIP. Thanks. :)

Pat Isaac
04-16-2008, 06:27 PM
I'm not sure either, Annie. I just really think that she doesn't understand an established organization that has rules. She just wants to do what she wants to do. However, we have rules!
:lol: I often wish I had more hours in the day and wonder how I ever worked.


04-16-2008, 06:41 PM
Wow, nice to see more "faces" in here.

I had a frustrating OP weekend (I was supposed to be working on another self portrait). Teacher's knows OP's are my favorite medium, she likes them too. Since the middle of the semester she's been trying to get me to use them with Turpenoid and I knew I was avoiding them for some reason. So while I tried it last Thurs on cold press watercolor paper, she was working on a small canvas and doing a marvelous job. I liked the no-smell of Turpenoid enough to toss out the not-so-odorless mineral spirit and turpentine. So I went armed with a couple 40% off coupons and got Turpenoid to try over an abandoned oil painting on canvas board. I hate it. OPs got squishy (didn't help that it was a hot weekend) and 4 days later, still not set up enough to take more. I was attempting "Hens and Chicks" from this month's challenge. More OP just gets pushed around, and color shapers are overblending in one stroke. I told her so yesterday. She said she likes squishy. I ended up doing my self portrait in soft pastels.

Pat Isaac
04-16-2008, 06:51 PM
Too bad, Julie. I tried it once and hated it. Never dried. I tried regular turps and they just dulled all the co,or in my estimation. I prefer, after having tried many things, to use as they come out of the box. Hope you do more portratis in OPs as I think you have a good feel for them.


04-16-2008, 07:44 PM
Annie, just a quick note about the Dorlands.

First, I took out the old experiment and tried scratching it with my fingernail. It was dry and didn't lift with light scratching but was damaged with heavy scratching.

I tried doing the experiment again on watercolour paper primed with Colourfix. First, I put a very light coat of Dorlands on the surface with my finger. Then I use a light coat of the oil pastel and blend it with a Colourshaper. I will also scoop up a bit of the Dorlands with the Colourshaper and blend it in. I left it for about ten minutes and came back and experienced some of the colour lifting because it had partially set up. After another fifteen minutes I was able to do some more work on top with a different colour and some more Dorlands. I've been able to do some beautiful delicate semi-transparent blending with it but so far I've only used it on small areas. I think the best way is to work the OP into the Dorlands rather than putting the Dorlands on top. Also the OP needs to be thoroughly blended with the Dorlands. I will try to do some more tomorrow to post.

For myself, the use of the wax medium is better for underpainting. I don't know how it would work for impasto effects.

Hope this helps...


04-16-2008, 08:50 PM

Sleep in for a couple of days and everyone drops in!!!! Looks like some of you had weeks that make me blush for feeling bad about anthing that's happened to me!!!

Thanks for the advice on the Mark G. book Wendell, but I think I'll pass on the 1814 book! (In 1814 we took a little trip, along with colonel Jackson down the mighty mississip, Took a little bacon and we....Oooops, sorry. That happens everytime I hear that date!).

We are off to NC for about a week (Jerry's here I come) so may or may not be dropping in.

If not, see you all when we get back!


04-16-2008, 08:54 PM
Ed--Forgive me, but I meant especially to congratulate you on the award you won! That's great! You certainly deserve it for your excellent work.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

04-16-2008, 10:31 PM
Julie, FWIW, I didn't especially care for using Turpenoid either (and it's still a toxic substance, btw, even though it may not smell as much - your teacher may want to know that). It seemed to work best for me when applied thinly to create an underpainting, but even then it doesn't break down the harder OPs very well, which is what I tend to use for underpaintings. At any rate, my sympathies on your experiment. Onward to better things, eh?

Thanks for the info on Dorland's, Wendell. I'll have to try it as you described, but I'll still be looking forward to that post from you about it. I'm very curious about it now.

Bill: Have a great time in North Carolina! Don't buy out the store! :lol:

04-16-2008, 11:00 PM
Just so Wendell doesn't think I'm a total slacker, I thought I would post my initial work on Homer's Catboat (26 x14 approx) on Strathmore Pastel Paper

Not a good pnoto but you get the idea.

Pat Isaac
04-17-2008, 07:11 AM
This is looking good, Bill, and will look forward to the finish. Have a great time in NC and don't stay in Jerry's all week...:lol: Maybe you can do a little sketching....:D



04-17-2008, 12:24 PM
Interesting start, Bill - looking good. Why don't you post it as a WIP in the Pastel Forum?

04-17-2008, 01:18 PM
Julie, FWIW, I didn't especially care for using Turpenoid either (and it's still a toxic substance, btw, even though it may not smell as much - your teacher may want to know that). It seemed to work best for me when applied thinly to create an underpainting, but even then it doesn't break down the harder OPs very well, which is what I tend to use for underpaintings. At any rate, my sympathies on your experiment. Onward to better things, eh?

Yup, teacher did say "still don't want to breathe it." It did work for me on the unprimed (no gesso, no colorfix) watercolor paper, as the paper was absorbing both the oil and the turpenoid and the "wet spot" dried within a day. Even though my drawing is fine, Apparently I still suck at watery/washy media...watercolor, watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons, OP washes, etc. The exception is chinese ink or 'ink and wash'.

Absolutely! Onward to better things. I'm ready for this class to end but I've still got one month.

04-17-2008, 07:12 PM
Interesting start, Bill - looking good. Why don't you post it as a WIP in the Pastel Forum?

I probably will when I get back from NC, just wanted to post something to get my juices flowing again! This is a watercolor work that apparently was done in oil slightly differently called "Breezing UP". I like the colors of the watercolor.
This is looking good, Bill, and will look forward to the finish. Have a great time in NC and don't stay in Jerry's all week...:lol: Maybe you can do a little sketching....:D

Thanks Pat. We just got to Savannah where we are visitiing a long time friend in a marvelous home in a gated community near Hilton Head with a back screen porch that faces a small lagoon. Nice heron out there now. I want to get up tomorrow and do some sketching, good, bad, whatever and just go with the flow. I'm already feeling upbeat and we will be here till sunday then fly to Raleigh. As much as anything I want to look around at Jerry's because it often helps me to see the things advertised in catalogs so I better understand what they are. Studio is progressing and I really think this trip will help me get up my juices to really get set up and work on some things!

You have all been so supportive of an old "fart" like me and I wish I could convey to all of you how much that means to me as I am going through a major transition in my life after having spent 52 of my 57 years in school as student or teacher. It is liberating to do something different, but I'm realizing that in the back of my mind there has been the realization that I have to face the fact that that phase of my life is over and that is not bad. But it does become something that is a bittersweet transition. My family here has been a great help in giving me inspiration for new direction.

Got to go. More later. Much :heart: :heart: to all my cyberfriends.

I probably will

04-18-2008, 11:43 AM
Glad you had a great party, Pat. Glad to hear the art meeting wasn't a complete disappointment, too.

Congratulations, Ed!!!!! You sure deserve it with your "magic" painting technique!

Welcome, Lisa!!!

Sorry to hear about your OP self portrait experience, Julie -- but it was brave to test things out. Hope you liked your second one.

Will look forward to hearing about your art story visits, Bill.

Enjoying the wonderful weather this last couple days, should mow the lawn before it rains tomorrow though.

Worked on correcting my painting yesterday and have to let it sit a little while before deciding if it is done. Read many interesting posts here and elsewhere this morning. Going to catch up on housework, peperwork, etc. today and go to mom's for the weekend -- will take some drawing tools, though.. Will get back in the studio Monday and hopefully every day next week. Have a great weekend everyone. Angela