Archive for June, 2013

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Charles Dana Gibson’s Book “The Social Ladder”

June 29, 2013

The book “The Social Ladder,” published in 1902, contains the a large collection of drawings by the great draughtsman, Charles Dana Gibson.

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The first image above is the face most often used to illustrate what became known as the “Gibson Girl,” a wealthy, self-obsessed woman of style and manners at the turn of the 20th Century, here both beautifully idolized and spoofed. Think: an American Downton Abbey minus the drama.

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Old Life Magazine Article About Color Theory

June 26, 2013

Lately I’ve been scanning through some old Life Magazines, and happeed to come across an issue from 1944 that has an article on color, including such things as additive/subtractive, wavelengths, and the Munsell notation system. It’s the July 3rd issue of that year (page 39.)

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There’s a digital copy of it on Google, but the scans are poor. If you can find an actual copy on eBay or the magazine racks at a used book store/garage sale it’s worth a read.

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Golden Paints Tests How To Prepare an Oil Paint Canvas

June 20, 2013

Golden Paints has for some time now shown themselves to be a reliable resource for thorough well-tested information about paint materials for artists, particularly acrylic media, but also for oil paints as it applies to using an oil and acrylic combination. Not too long ago Golden acquired the artist’s oil paint company Williamsburg which expanded their information and test results in that area. Golden has also made available for some time now an online newsletter called “Just Paint” that records much of these test results for the curious and concerned artist that I highly recommend reading. Their current issue has an article on properly preparing a canvas surface for oil painting.

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The graphic chart they display, Table 1, is particularly interesting to me. It shows their test results for various sizing combinations in the number of coating layers applied, followed by a single layer of linseed oil ground, which then records how or if the oil penetrates through to the canvas surface below, as well as the degree of stiffness caused by the sizing. The results echo my own experiences with these materials, which is comforting.

In reading this chart notice that anything below a single coat of their GAC 100 product does not provide an adequate barrier to oil penetration (“Very Slight Strikethrough”.) An ideal canvas surface is reached with at least two coats of rabbit skin glue and a single coat of oil ground creating a stiffness that most traditional oil painters prefer to the more flexible acrylic dispersion mediums. Even when using acrylic “gesso” you would need at least three coats for an ideal barrier.

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They give a summary of ideal conditions on their second chart. It’s important to note that if one uses just water-thinned acrylic medium or “gesso” they recommend waiting at least 3 days after applying the last coat for it to dry completely; something many artists don’t bother to do. What I see as interesting here is the minimum of two weeks time they suggest waiting for the oil ground to cure before you begin painting on it. Typically I see that at a far longer period of three to six months, unless you’re using an alkyd based ground in which just a few days curing time would be sufficient. The various options and conditions one could work in as well as your own preferences make the results difficult to qualify (“Your mileage may vary.”)

All in all, this is a very helpful article and I commend Golden’s authors Sarah Sands and Amy McKinnon for putting it together for us.

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James Montgomery Flagg’s “The Grandfathers of the Evolution”

June 13, 2013

I’ve been digging through the web for some time now collecting illustrations by the great artist, James Montgomery Flagg (among others,) and found this series of drawings by him that I think show him at his finest.

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They are illustrations for a single story printed in 1907 in Scribner’s Magazine written by Nelson Lloyd called “The Grandfathers of the Evolution.” The line work, layout, and characterizations are the best work by Flagg that I have seen so far. Enjoy.

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Final Drawing: Miguel Seated

June 6, 2013

Here’s the final state of my drawing of Miguel. I might consider darkening the back wall a little more, but for now I’ll let him sit awhile longer.

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This is an ink drawing on 8.5 x 11 inch cardstock paper.