Archive for January, 2011

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Preview: Cobra Water-Miscible Oil Paint

January 31, 2011
I’ve been using various brands of water-miscible oils since the late 1980s, soon after Grumbacher’s MAX came on the market. I continue to use regular oils as well. I recently received several Cobra water-miscible oil paints and mediums from Royal Talens, and plan on doing a few tests to see how they compare to other brands I have.

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The paints shown above are:
Titanium white (PW6,) Indian yellow (PY110,) transparent red oxide (PR101,) cadmium red deep and medium (PR108,) madder lake (PR264,) burnt sienna (PR101,) permanent lemon yellow (PY184,) cadmium lemon yellow (PY35,) chromium oxide green (PG17,) phthalo green (PG7,) cobalt blue (PB29+B15,) cerulean blue (PB35,) and ivory black (PBk9.)

The mediums are Painting Paste (to increase paint volume,) Painting Medium (“oil, synthetic resin, and water,”) and Glazing Medium. I’m not entirely certain what’s in the Glazing Medium. The brochure says it’s just an oil base, but it has a  slight chemical odor, as does the Painting Medium. Neither is supposed to affect paint drying times, so apparently no drier is added. The paste is odorless.

Some information I have on Cobras, directly from Royal Talens:
70 artist-grade colors, 32 of which are single pigments, including cadmium, cobalt, and genuine cerulean.
The oil vehicle is a mixture of partly modified (miscible) linseed oil and regular linseed with an emulsifier added. I don’t know if the whites use safflower oil or not (waiting for an email response.)
Cobra is a replacement for their H2Oil brand, which I understand has now been discontinued.
The pigment load is higher than H2Oil, but slightly lower than their Rembrandt line of regular oils.
None of their earth browns contain PBr7, but instead are PR101 or mixed substitutes. Their Rembrandt earths are made the same way.

Links:
http://www.cobra.royal-talens.com
http://www.facebook.com/cobra.wmo

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First impressions:
They all dilute easily with water. Good to know.
The pigments all appear to be what they are supposed to be. Also a good thing.
All the paints are consistently creamy. No grittyness or badly mulled paint. No odd odor.
A few had the dreaded oil separation problem that occurs sometimes with tubed paints This causes the oil to puddle out ahead of the pigment from the tube (notice the stains around some paint swatches in the image above.) It’s annoying but not a big deal. I typically touch them first to a paper towel before I squeeze them on my palette.
I was expecting the transparent red oxide to look more “transparent” than the burnt sienna (described as “semi-transparent”,) but they look identical. Both are PR 101.
The metal tubes feel a little bit flimsy so I hope they don’t puncture easily. I like the caps.

Royal Talens has a large presence in the artist’s market, and Canson is their distributor in the US. This should make the Cobras, hopefully, almost as easy to find as Winsor & Newton’s Artisan paints. I doubt these will replace Holbein Aqua DUO as my preferred water-miscible brand, but they may turn out to be a close second.

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Preview: Jack’s Linseed Studio Soap

January 29, 2011

The first job I ever had was installing floors and countertops. For cleaning linoleum surfaces we used a linseed oil detergent, which was made by Lin-Sol, but I haven’t been able to locate any of that for awhile. Today I saw this “Linseed Studio Soap” from another compny on the art store shelf, so I brought some home to test out.

Based on the label information it’s distributed by the Jack Richeson Co. and made by Tri-Art, who are well-known for their acrylic paints. The label continues, “Safe – non-toxic – low odor. Made from naturally refined linseed oil and our own special blend of natural cleansers. This may be the world’s best brush cleaner… but it can also be used to clean your hands, floors, work surfaces, and much more!”
There’s not much information beyond that online, especially what the cleansers are.

When I opened the jar the contents appeared to have separated, so I took a stick and stirred it up some. It certainly has a linseed oil odor, but not anything strong or unpleasant. I placed some on my hands and it washed off easily with water without any oily feeling afterwards. I haven’t tested it out on actual brushes yet, but will be doing so soon and will give an update on the results. I’d also like to try it on mediums that contain resins or balsams.

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Tablesaw Sled Jig

January 26, 2011

I’m planning to build a few frames this weekend, so I wanted to make a simple sled to help streamline the corner cutting process. I’m adapting it to the little 8″ tablesaw I bought a few years ago.

I decided to make the base out of 1/4″ hardboard. This will be a little more flimsy than plywood, but I didn’t want to sacrifice height. I may change my mind later, but this works okay. I picked up a second push guide at the hardware store (top right corner,) and screwed them both to the base where they fit into the grooves of the tablesaw.

Still to do is to glue a block on the bottom right side that lines up with the bottom push guide. That will help keep the wood square as it’s being cut. The blade is set at 45 degrees to cut along the depth of the frame corners. I may later add another block to the top left area for cutting 45 degree angles with the blade set 90 degrees vertical. When the blades at an angle it has more of an opportunity to slip.

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Ten Tubas Oil Painting – Part 4

January 25, 2011


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A few more tubas painted. Three more to go…

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Ten Tubas Oil Painting – Part 3

January 16, 2011

Oh yeah, there was supposed to be a new painting in progress, wasn’t there? A busy week. Here’s a look at what I’ve managed so far. I’ve got the background covered and a couple of the figures. I’ll put in a few more hours today. Promise.

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Documentary about Robert McGinnis

January 10, 2011

Robert McGinnis is a great illustrator, well-known for his paperback covers and movie posters. I recently watched a documentary about him on DVD that I’d like to recommend, “Robert McGinnis: “Painting the Last Rose of Summer.”

The film tells a little bit about his life and shows many closeups of his work. There’s a short segment on how he made a particular painting that’s interesting to see. On the link above, the producers mention that they are planning the release of another DVD in April that will go into more detail on his painting process.

On Youtube I also found this TV news clip about his doing new crime novel paperback covers showing him in his studio.

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Ten Tubas Oil Painting – Part 2

January 7, 2011

This shows the neutral undertone paint layer finished and loosely scrubbed in, still using the methylcellulose medium. The values will be adjusted when I move to the next stage which will be using just oil paint.