Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An article I found on lead white

                                                                              More about LEAD WHITE Paint

If you don’t use some form of lead white yourself you may wonder what all the fuss is about but for the painters whose use of lead white is essential to their painting this will be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
 Lead White in some form has been used by painters since antiquity prepared from metallic lead and vinegar. Lead white was the only white used in European easel paintings all the way until the 19th century when Titanium White was introduced. All the great masters used lead white and for such painters as Rembrandt, his brushwork and paint surface could only have been made with his particular manner of using of his recipe of white lead.

There are many reasons why the use of lead white is desired by many painters, most frequently people report it is because they prefer the way the paint handles and the resulting superior paint surface and texture. You can smoothly drag longer brush strokes on your canvas that will better retain the look of the paint as it was first laid down without the leveling or flattening out of the paint i.e. retains the topography of the brush stroke. Which some painters prefer in order to accentuate the animated, expressive quality of the paint surface.

Some feel lead whites are better able to work with close valued colors where there are many subtle color gradations and color interactions. Occasionally you will hear people say that you are less apt to get a chalkiness to your color compared to when using Titanium. I suspect this may have more to do with the skill of the artist in getting the right color tone but the weaker tinting strength of lead white may help make this less of a problem as you are able to more easily obtain very subtle value changes unlike titanium.

You might ask if lead white is so superior why don’t more painters use it?
 Obviously, the widely known toxicity of lead scares away many painters. Painters working in small home studios, who have children, pets or similar concerns about keeping loved ones safe of course have legitimate concerns.
 Truthfully, I’ve known many professional painters as well as part-time hobbyist painters who aren’t careful or serious enough about their use of art materials and these people are better off staying away from paints with toxic pigments.

However, when used in a rational manner with careful and routine safety precautions it is safe. After all painters have been using lead white for hundreds of years, many such as Lucien Freud, Monet, Titian and Rembrandt lived long, full lives.
Lead is most easily transferred to the human body through inhalation, so best to stay away from any lead dust or particles unless it is in a highly controlled situation where you know exactly what you are doing and use a NIOSH respirator. 

Lead dust could be formed from small particles scraped from palette or the canvas. Large amounts of dried paint on clothing is another potentially overlooked trouble spot.
Some important considerations for safety with lead paint will be obvious such as wearing Nitrile, Neoprene or latex gloves while you paint. 
Lead is not readily absorbed through the skin, but has been documented for this to be possible. Don’t smoke, eat or drink while painting, don’t sand the paint surface, use care when scraping dried paint off the canvas so that the scrapings don’t then become ground to dust underneath or otherwise get tracked or airborne. Wet mop and or Vacuum regularly around where you paint to prevent a build up of paint dust. Care with disposal of paint rags with lead paint, and paint residue from solvent jars. It isn’t just lead paint as Cadmium pigments, cobalt, etc. This all should be considered hazardous waste and treated accordingly as part of standard studio practice. Much of this is true for many pigments, not just lead paint.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Drawing, Grisaille and Ébauche
by Douglas Flynt
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
1. This finished linear drawing progressed through a block-in stage for which I used predominately straight lines. I then checked the structural integrity of my rendering of each object and rounded these straight lines into curves. To increase visual clarity, I lightly shaded many of the shadow areas, although I purposely kept the drawing devoid of any heavy shading—saving that for the painting process. I transferred this drawing to a lightly toned linen surface, where it served as a linear template for my painting.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
2. In this detail you can see that the orientation of marks used to create the shadows often changed as I knitted together small structural planes or facets. You can also see a remnant of the cup’s central structural axis, which I drew to aid in the construction of the elliptical opening.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
3. Here you see the completed raw umber wash-in or grisaille. For some of the lightest areas, I added white paint. This stage, which gives a sense of form and shows variances from the objects’ local values, is keyed much lighter than what the final values will be.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
4. Here is my finished ébauche or first block-in with color. Conceptually, this stage helps me connect color with form as I imagine the objects with small structural planes or facets and identify the hue, value and chroma for each facet. This passage was done with thin paint, allowing the ground to show through to some degree. Because of the thin paint application, the values—particularly the darker ones—are still lighter than what they will be in the finished painting. I’ve repainted some areas (such as parts of the shell and the smaller cup on the left), entering into the final paint passage. Before starting this final layer, I rubbed a thin “couch” of medium onto the appropriate areas to “oil in” the surface. This allows the dry paint to accept the wet paint more easily.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
5. This close-up shows the contrast between the ébauche—seen on the cup and background—and the final paint passage on the shell.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
6. Because of time constraints, I was unable to finish the painting (Untitled; oil, 8×10) during the workshop. Most of the shell and the smaller cups to the right and left of the shell have received a final paint passage. The cup behind the shell, along with the background and blue cloth, are still in the ébauche stage.
still life step-by-step | Douglas Flynt art, drawing grisaille ebauche
7. This detail shows a portion of the shell and of the cup with a final passage of paint.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Painting with a Master

Beyond Skill.
As an artist one learns all the techniques to make a painting.  In this class Golucho wants the students to reach a higher level that brings them beyond skill and into the realm of understanding the emotions that make that painting speak to them and others.  He would like them to find their voice, connecting emotionally to the subject matter.  In some way he would have them understand the trigger that would connect them to their painting.  Could it be the color you choose when you view the model; her aura, that reminds you of someone you love?  Is it the Still Life setup that makes you ready to paint?

The first day is difficult; getting over travel exhaustion; adjusting to the style of teaching; the environment; getting to know the other students; where to go for lunch on and on.  Did I bring the right materials (never)!  Am I going to run over the bunnies when I leave?

Today, I met Golucho, his interpreter, Mindy, daughter, Alma, and several students. The story today is the students.  They have traveled from as far away as Chile, the East Coast, British Columbia and Kirkland.  They have jobs as artists, work at Microsoft, Atelier in Denver, one was born in Russia and works in New York.  I spoke to a woman that knows what Navy life is all about.  Several speak Spanish!
Golucho has attracted a wide range of artists to come to our little town in Langley!  We who live here know they will have a wonderful time.  Cary will feed them tomorrow night, they will drink a little wine, laugh, enjoy the view and make friends.  Welcome to this week in International Langley!
Larine (monitor) 
Golucho and Pedro
Gabriella, Barb, Elsa & Sara?

Golucho's daughter Alma and Mindy (interpreter)

 I know at least 7 languages were spoken during this seminar.

Mandy, Cary & ?
Carys warm friendly kitchen


Claudia from Whidbey
Model and students
Lorine's portfolio work


Monday, September 8, 2014

September / October blog for Whidbey Island FAS

Teresa Oaxaco will be doing a workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in 2015.

“My work is about pleasing the eye. I paint light and the way it falls. Simple observation reveals beauty; often it is found in the unconventional. Because of this I have learned to take particular delight in unusual pairings of subject matter. Frequently my compositions are spontaneous. When a person comes to me, they occupy a space my mind. Arrangements form from there until with excitement I see and have the idea. The design is both planned and subconscious. For this reason I surround myself with Victorian and Baroque costume, bones, and other things which I find fascinating- I want subject matter to always be at hand.
My paintings are created with oil paint on canvas. I am conscious of the traditional craftsmanship I have attained in Florence. While my interest in new pigments and tools may cause minor alterations in my materials, these really remain fundamentally the same. All my evolution is taking place on the canvas and in my head; in what I see in nature and interpret in two dimensions on the picture plan. I have the fundamentals of design to work with when planning a painting. I make preparatory studies. I use multiple layers to build an illusion of light and form. When this illusion is convincing and to my taste, the painting is done.”
Teresa graduated at The Florence Academy of Art in 2010. Also was Life Drawing Instructor during that academic year.

Interview with Teresa some years ago.
Only Teresa Oaxaca could pull off this photo. She’s dolled up in  Victorian grandeur like a character that should have stolen the roles of Alice in Wonderland and Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia in Interview with the Vampire right out from under their  boring blond noses. Teresa’s sitting under a portrait of a somber girl with her hands folded praying to an unknown deity with a displaced tea set on the floor. She’s also holding a rat.
We talk to Teresa about her art, her Victorian era bodices, the Capuchin Crypt and vestigial tails.
1. What is your artistic background?
I started sculpting when I was pretty young. I had private instructors when my family moved to the Netherlands from 1996-1998. I went to school as soon as I could at the age of 17 (2005) in Florence, Italy. Everything I have accomplished so far would have been impossible without the training I received there – I am very influenced by the history of European painting, sculpture, and architecture.
2. Explain your spontaneous process.
Frequently my compositions are spontaneous. When a person comes to me, they occupy a space my mind. Arrangements form from there until with excitement I see and have the idea. The design is both planned and subconscious. Simple observation reveals beauty; often it is found in the unconventional. Because of this I have learned to take particular delight in unusual pairings of subject matter.
3. How would you define your style and its connection with your art?
The history of costume has been ever changing. I like to “cherry pick” from history, to take ideas from my travels and from books. I own a few authentic Victorian Era bodices however most of my clothes are modern reproductions or dresses inspired by past fashions. My clothing, like my painting technique, is heavily indebted to the past.
4. Tell us the inspiration and process behind one of your favorite pieces.
In “Remembrance,” Walter is the name of the skull in the painting. I bought it in Florence. When in Italy I visited the Capuchin Crypt. Since visiting this tunnel of death, it has recurred in my dreams and what was once a curiosity is an ominous memory…the small and yellowed skull, missing all but two teeth, utterly devoid of the occidentals and parietals is Walter… and like an old friend, I cannot keep it from my mind for long. Walter sits on your shelf; you dare him to make another appearance in one more painting.
5. What are your artistic stimuli?
I surround myself with Victorian and Baroque costume, bones…I ordered a few books on carousel horses and gothic art. Lately I have been interested in frame building and design. I think it is a shame that painting has distanced itself so far from architecture and sculpture to the point where it nearly becomes lumped in with photography. I like to think of modern wooden frames as “vestigial tails – leftovers from the days when a painting was made for an alter niche, and adorned with carved figures and intricate patterns of architecture.
for more details visit


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Redefining Realsime by--Allison Allison Malafronte (senior editor of American Artist)

Attempting to define realism or to clarify the various styles of representational painting can be a challenging task.  When writing about today's painters, I always hesitate to use words like "classical," "realist," "contemporary," "traditional," or "modern" because they do not always fully capture what I'm trying to describe. For example, a word like "classical" by definition refers to Greco-Roman or Renaissance ideals, but by connotation has come to mean an art form that embodies a certain timelessness and order. "Contemporary" undoubtedly means anything taking place in our time, so by that definition any painter alive is contemporary. But critically speaking, I would not call all painters today contemporary--I'm more apt to use that distinction when a painting has a more modern or conceptual feel.
The Desperate Man by Gustave Courbet, 1844-1845, oil painting, 17 3/4 x 21 5/8.
The Desperate Man by Gustave Courbet, 1844-1845, oil painting, 17 3/4 x 21 5/8.
Artists themselves have felt the confusion and in an attempt to bring clarity have adopted such labels as new realists, figurative realists, classical realists, contemporary realists, and so on. These phrases have found their meaning in a Post-Modern context, which generally defines what it is by comparing itself to what it is not. The New Realists of the early 1960s, for example, made it clear that they were not your grandmother's realists reveling in Caravaggio and Jacques Louis David but rather were trying to bring elements of representation to the Abstract Expressionist aesthetic. The Classical Realists of the early 1980s led by Richard Lack were differentiating their brand of realism from other forms of representational art of the time, even though they knew that within the context of art history "classical realism" was a contradiction in terms.
Realism can mean different things to different people and has changed meaning over time, which is another reason why it's difficult to define. Most would agree that realist painters are recognized by their choice of subject matter. Like Gustave Courbet--by most accounts considered the first Realist--or any of the Russian painters throughout history, a realist paints the real world and finds beauty and interest in everyday people, places, and things that the rest of society might find mundane. The realist is also defined by his or her technical execution, which aims for an accurate, truthful representation of the subject. The stylistic differentiation gets tricky among artists, however, because many realists who work from life do not want to be put in the same category as realists who work from photographs or in a  photorealistic manner. This confusion translates to the public, who will often comment that a painting looks like a photograph, as if that were the highest compliment one could pay an artist.
As you can see, the parameters surrounding realism are rather ambiguous. I think this is because realism is redefining itself as we speak and also because a new movement is on the horizon. I believe that movement will embody a language that is not yet in our artistic vocabulary, forcing us to find new words and a new criterion.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Susan Lyon and Scott Burdick at WIFAS

Two fantastic painters at WIFAS this past week
Susan and Scotts, draftsmanship and color are superb and they are able to convey their knowledge very well also!
Every morning brought a new demonstration, 3 days of Susan and 3 days of Scott, they were brilliant!!

Outstanding instructors,great studio space,serious students,organized monitor,dedicated director,friendly people,delicious food-the perfect workshop experience

 Cary painting with Susan and Scott after the workshop! Lucky her!!

 Beautiful Lady with a nice apron!!

 Student / Instructor dinner