Many of you may have already heard the news: We bought a house and it’s big enough to combine workspace with living space.
This means the studio is getting packed up and moved along with the rest of all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the past 6-7 years.
The moving truck will be scooping everything up on Thursday October 19th and the transition process of shuffling things around will begin all over again, as it did just two short years ago when my paints and equipment first landed in our departing location.
I’m looking forward to settling in to our new space, our new home. This past month has been full of big changes; the art supply store I work at moved several weeks ago, at the end of September. Quite the busy month.
More updates will be shared in November, and depending how quickly I can unpack I’d like to squeak in a holiday promotional sale on my paintings, to make room for new work.
I have begun building some large stretcher frames and stretching canvas on them. I have no particular predetermined plan for them, as far as imagery goes. I simply have a general desire to work a little larger. The canvases are all 3 feet wide and have lengths that vary from 3-6 feet.
Last winter I told myself I would go back to Amberg, Wisconsin, the location of Dave’s Falls County Park, as well as revisit Parfrey’s Glen near Merrimack, Wisconsin so I could see these places during the lush green seasons. (My first time seeing these places was last November, on really beautiful, warm late Autumn days.) I have not gotten to those places yet, but I am hoping to within the next two or three weeks.
Life has a way of getting busy in more ways than we can imagine or anticipate. And seemingly the old saying, “when it rains, it pours,” rings true especially in the summertime, and especially in the art world in summertime!
It’s beautiful outside this time of year! Too beautiful to work in the Lower Level when it’s not rainy! I need to paint outside! I need sunlight! Fresh air! Nature! That being said:
Studio Hours will be by appointment for the summer.
My designated hours will remain posted; however, it’s always a good idea to call: (920) 395-5588 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a visit. As always, if the lights around the window are on, feel free to drop in!
Spring Art Tour Update:
Thank you to all those who made my first year on the Northern Moraine Spring Art Tour a success! I made some sales and met some fantastic people, overall it was a very uplifting experience and I’m happy to say that I plan to put this studio on the tour for years to come.
Please join me on July 14th from 6-8pm at Vagabond Gallery, on 24th & Franklin in Manitowoc, WI, for the opening reception of my newest solo exhibition!
This show will highlight the work that I’ve been doing for nearly two years- the point at which my workspace and opportunities expanded, as did my subject matter and the way I went about exploring it.
I hope to showcase my work in such a way that nearly creates an environment, the mood of being among trees and filtered sunlight.
I did not name this show in time for the promotional material to include it.
After the phenomenon that has caused a major shift in my work and captured my attention many times throughout my life, I informally title this exhibition, TREELIGHT.
Last week, I acquired a sample shipment of some oil paints from the Jack Richeson company based out of Kimberly, Wisconsin.
These samples came to me courtesy of Lakeshore Art Supplies, LLC in Sheboygan, WI.
Transparent Marble White
Ultramarine Blue Deep
Before I review what is in front of me, first a little bit of personal history with this product:
I’ve had a mixed experience with this brand in the past. They were the first professional grade oils I had tried after college, so compared to Blick and Utrecht student grade oils, the intensity of the pigments absolutely blew me away. I was in love, except…
Unfortunately, two of the colors I had ordered 6 years ago arrived nearly solidified in the tube- and as it happened they were the most expensive colors I had ordered- cadmium red pale, and cobalt violet light. I could chalk this up to the fact that I ordered them from Blick in the middle of the summer, and who knows how long the paints sat in their warehouse or distribution center before I came along. Regardless, this was the farthest consideration on my mind when, in the middle of painting outdoors, I would have to find some level ground to set my palette and paint tubes down and literally step on them with all the weight of my full figure to get any worthwhile paint to come out.
This put a damper on my enthusiasm for this brand of paint manufactured in my own state, a mere 70 miles from my home. I really wanted to love them. But alas, I took to Gamblin, Holbein, and Williamsburg instead.
Richeson Oils use a blend of Linseed and Safflower oil to carry the pigment load. The inclusion of Safflower oil likely reduces the amount of yellowing that linseed oil has been known to cause as paintings age.
This selection that I have before me today is beautiful. Super fresh and directly shipped from the plant, I had absolutely no oil separation when squeezing the first blobs onto my palette.
I was curious about the asphaltum and the transparent Marble White, since I’ve never used those colors before.
I was surprised at the range of colors I ended up mixing from this limited palette of pigment.
The asphaltum is a beautiful transparent brown that, when mixed with white, makes a nice yellowish beige. On its own I wouldn’t have suspected it to work so well in sunset imagery, but when accompanied with the coolness of the crimson and the violets and blue-greens in the composition, it worked quite well.
As for the consistency of the paint, it is everything I have come to expect from good quality oil paints. The pigments are ground very fine. None of the colors were gritty.
The only tube I took some issue with was the Titanium White. I noticed right away that it was very soft. When mixing, the tinting strength was considerably weaker than what I experienced from other brands. One look at the back of the tube and sure enough, it’s a blend of PW4 (zinc) and PW6 (titanium). So, the label is misleading in this case. It does make a nice mixing white but it would be nice if the labeling reflected the blend.
As for the transparent marble white, I’m not sure what other painters use it for but I enjoyed using it as an extender to pick up remnants of color from my palette, instead of having to mix more of that color for small touch-ups. I also like mixing it with my medium to thicken it out just a little bit. Maybe it is nice for glazing techniques.
At any rate, overall, I would consider buying this brand once again based on my experience with this batch of paints. Having recently toured the plant last November, my desire to support this local company recently grew stronger. They make many great quality Artist’s materials right at the plant- easels, taborets, cradled panels, palettes, canvas stretchers, drawing pads- and are one of few U.S. suppliers of Unison Pastels, which are probably one of the best quality pastel lines in the world.
This sample batch of oils gave me the hope I was looking for, that maybe my order from 6 years ago was a complete fluke and that I can go back to trusting these oil paints made right in my home state.
If you are looking for traditional Artist’s oil colors at a reasonable price, Richeson is worth a try.
I am not being paid to say this.
Thanks for reading.
What are your preferred brands of art materials? I’d love to hear all about them!
Every artist at some point has a scrap pile, burn pile, do-over stack, or dark corner relegated to castaway works.
I have my fair share of those. Some are my own atrocities, others are old abandoned student works from my time in college, or the occasional thrift store find – paintings that I collected for their scrap value in canvas and stretchers bars.
Well, those horrible creatures lurking in dark corners haven’t been paying their share of the studio rent, so it’s time to put them to work.
The thing is, priming over an acrylic painting is not a big deal. You can find gesso just about everywhere that has an arts and crafts section. But to cover an oil painting is a little trickier because regular gesso will not form a proper bond with the surface of the oil painting, and eventually your hard work will come chipping and flaking off over time. This is why you must use an oil-based ground or primer to cover up an old oil painting.
Make a used oil painting surface new again by following these simple steps:
What you will need:
An oil painting that you’ve salvaged for the canvas and stretchers
150 grit sandpaper
Can of Oil Ground (mine is made by Gamblin)
Gamsol or other Odorless Mineral Spirits
A shallow bowl or dish that is solvent-proof and only for use in the studio (I prefer to repurpose tuna cans because they are wide and shallow)
Pallette knife (or butter knife, only for studio use )
Hog or Synthetic Hog Brush with firm springy feel, about 1 inch wide or whatever is best to cover the size canvas you have.
Patience – you must let the ground dry for about 1 week before you can start your painting.
1. Use 150 grit sandpaper to scuff the surface of the oil painting to be covered. Run your hand over the sanded surface to make sure the canvas feels smooth and any brush strokes or texture has been smoothed evenly. Use a clean dry rag to wipe away any excess dust when you are done.
2. At an estimated 2:1 ratio, scoop out some oil ground with a clean knife and place it in your bowl. For 2 parts oil ground, we’re adding 1 part Gamsol or Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS) to the bowl and mixing them to a brushable consistency.
3. Coat the painting until it is covered. If you like, you may add a 2nd coat after the first layer tacks up a bit. See the directions on your can for recommended drying times.
You now have a painting surface that will be ready to use in about 1 week.
You may add oil color to your ground if you wish to tint your 2 coat. This could affect drying time.
Gamblin’s oil ground is faster drying than some other brands, and uses an alkyd resin instead of linseed oil, so it has great adhesion properties for long term durability and conservation.
Yesterday I packed up my painting gear and drove to Dave’s Falls County Park near Amberg, Wisconsin.
It is about a two hour drive away from where I live, so it makes for a great day trip.
The rocky terrain makes for a stunning change of scenery.
I had visited this place with my family when I was a kid, and it made a lasting impression on me. I’m not sure why it took me 25 or more years to come back to it, but I know there will be many return trips in the future.
I lugged my gear along the best I could, but with a late start, limited daylight, overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, and a rocky, rooty path, my little cart remained parked where the trail forked at the bouldery rapids.
With so many acres of beautiful scenery to take in, I simply could not decide where to paint or how to get my equipment there.
So, before I left the park, I did a quick sketch.
I took many photographs for references later, but I would like to return better prepared – with a backpack (instead of a cart) full of paints and panels so that I can paint from life.