Wednesday, February 25, 2009

studio products medium demo

This is the first part of the demonstration using the Studio Products 3 part medium kit.

This is basically a very loose sketch where I just want to have a little infomation to "build" my painting on. I used the #1 underpainting medium with a mixture of earth tones for my underpainting. This dries very matte ( and REALLY quickly ) and will be receptive to my second / third / fourth... layers where I block in some shape and color. The underpainting should be "lean" (as in it should have as little oil as possible) in order to have it dry quickly and so that you have a strong paint layer to build upon. Each layer should have slightly more medium ( containing oil- the "fat" part ) than the last. The point of this being that you don't want to paint over layers of paint that dry slower than ones on top of them ( this will eventually lead to cracking).

Now a word on safety:

This medium does contain lead. Now, I know you're supposed to flail your arms and say "Danger, Will Robinson" whenever we hear the "L" word, but seriously there are some things to consider here. First, I have kids, a little dog ( who doesn't need ANY more problems), and a family around me a lot. Do you know how I keep them from getting any of the negative toxic effects of using some of these materials?


If you take some relatively minor precautions, you can work with all of these materials safely. Wash your hands. Don't eat or smoke around your painting, and work in a well ventilated area. Turpentine can be absorbed through clean skin, but its the only solvent that will dissolve Damar ( OMS won't and really shouldn't be included in your medium either ). So...


Flake White causes testicular cancer ( they actually print these very words on the label), but is a totally invaluable white to have in your palette. So...

DON'T RUB FLAKE WHITE OIL PAINT ON YOUR ... Oh, wait... you can get the cancer through other methods of absorption. Just be careful with it.

Anyhow, that's my thinking on painting safely. I think the lengths that Robert Gamblin and M. Graham have gone to in order to make oil painting safer are wonderful ( alkyd mediums are still petroleum based, so... ). I think that their paints and mediums are fantastic regardless of the added safety, and I use them. I do also think that an oil painter should have as many products at his disposal as possible in order to make the best work , and the "old master" materials and methods are too important to discard in an effort to make things totally "safe" ( which is not the case with ANY oil painting supplies... AT ALL). If an individual is too stupid to follow some pretty simple precautions, I think they might feel more comfortable using the family of products from the Crayola family. Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the mysterious cube

the mysterious cube , 2009

24" x 24" , oil on canvas

This painting is available at the Judy Saslow gallery

I saw a commercial for the Inspiration Cafe in Chicago tonight during the "Oscars". This was cool because I received the first place award in their 16th annual juried exhibition on March 13 . Even more weird is the fact that my show at Judy Saslow gallery titled "Fresh Faces 2009" is also on March 13. The piece that I won the juried exhibition will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Inspiration Cafe on the night of the show. The Inspiration Cafe corporation is a wonderful organization that fights homelessness in a multi-tiered fashion through education and the provision of food and housing. I am very lucky to be able to contribute a little in their good work.

My favorite episode of "The Adventures of Superman" is The Mysterious Cube. In this episode, there's a criminal-killer guy who seals himself inside a cube of metal that "even Superman cannot penetrate" for seven years. The really stupid part is that everyone goes along with the idea that the guy ( who everyone knows is Mr. Robber-Killer ) will be declared dead after seven years, and thus be ineligible for prosecution. I remember even as a little kid that this didn't sound like the way it worked. So, you can go off and rob and kill a bunch of people and then hide for seven years? No, Chief Inspector Henderson.

Superman "solves" this one by consulting a local scientist who convinces him to "concentrate really hard" in order to manipulate his molecules enough to pass through the cube. See? You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Its also funny that as a kid I was willing to suspend my disbelief enough to go along with the molecule-manipulation thing by a super-human being from another world, but wouldn't bite on the "seven years-get-out-of-prosecution" thing. Pin It Now!