Archive for February, 2015


Removing Stubborn Paint Caps

February 28, 2015

A tip for the day: How to handle the removal of stubborn paint caps, especially for oil paint tubes. Short answer is wax the threads of the tube.


This is an old tube of Holbien Aqua-Duo “Sepia” oil paint. It’s made with asphaltum pigment (NBr8,) which is a nice dark shade, but I believe they’ve changed it to another pigment now. The bad news is when it dries it’s most certainly like asphalt – rock hard. You may have experienced problems like I did when trying to unscrew the cap. It just wouldn’t budge by hand. Doing so caused the tube to twist, and possibly tear, which would be a bad thing, or another problem is the weak plastic caps easily break. I had to take a couple pairs of pliers to grip metal tip of the tube and the plastic cap, and then slowly and firmly twist it off.

The next step was to clean off as much dried paint from the threads and the inside of the cap as possible with solvent. I had to use some of acetone on the threads. Next I wiped a bit of beeswax on the threads, and screwed the cap back on. The wax will make it easier to twist off in the future. If a tiny amount of wax happens to get into the paint, it won’t cause any problems. It would be wise to do this now on tube caps that haven’t yet gotten to be a problem.


Scans of Ver Sacrum Magazine

February 21, 2015


This internet trip started at the Google Art Project, looking at “The Kiss” painting at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, and then going to their site where I found several scans of the 19th century magazine, “Ver Sacrum,” (“Sacred Spring.”) They contain wonderful prints of drawings and paintings (in black and white) of artists of that period and location, such as the Koloman Moser print above. I strongly recommend scrolling through these PDF files. They are amazing and inspirational.


Painting Update: Violin Section

February 17, 2015


When last we left the process of this new painting I was deciding how I would continue: to dive in with paint, or lay in the undertone values with ink. I decided to do a little of both. I’ve used a thin layer of yellow ochre oil paint to roughly block in the values.


2 Paintings in Imagine 2015 Exhibit

February 14, 2015

Yesterday I dropped off these two paintings of mine for the Imagine 2015 show here in Round Rock, TX. This is the 7th year for this annual exhibition, for which I’ve been proud to have participated in. The opening event gala has always been enjoyable, and the large space at the Texas State University Extension building allows for good viewing. This year’s opening will be on February 28th at 7PM, and the show will run until May. Please drop by if you are in the area.

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New Painting Started: Violin Section

February 12, 2015

I’m starting a new painting on the gesso board I made a few days ago, 14 x 16″. It’s based on a few photos I made awhile back at a concert featuring some violinists.


I first made a few sketches, and then cut and taped them together to fit on the board in composition that I liked. Next, I rubbed the back with a light shade of yellow orange pastel, and transferred the outlines to the board.


I have a couple different ideas on how to begin. One is to just start in with paint, and the other is to lay in the values first with ink. I’ll have to sleep on that to decide which idea will win out.


Traditional Gesso on Wet Media Film

February 7, 2015

In my on-going tests of Grafix Wet Media Film, I wanted to see how traditional gesso (made with rabbit skin glue) would work on this surface. First, I got to this point after making up a batch of gesso yesterday in order to cover a thin wood panel that I had. Since I had some gesso left over, I thought it would be a good opportunity to test it on the film as well. Here’s a previous post on how I make my gesso; although, I didn’t use fabric this time, just brushed on the gesso directly to the panel.


Here’s the wood panel I made using 6 coats of gesso. It came out fine, without any cracks or bubbles. I still need to sand the edges down a bit to get it uniformly smooth. With a panel this thin it’s important to weight it down as it dries so the water doesn’t warp it. Once the gesso was touch-dry, I placed it under some heavy books for a few hours before sanding.


Here’s a sheet of the Wet Media film coated with 4 coats of the same gesso. To avoid the extra sanding this time, I decided to use a 9 inch trowel and scrape it on. I made the gesso a little bit thicker so it would trowel easily. The surface came out very smooth, but the adhesion is not very strong. It scrapes off pretty easily with just a pocket knife. It should still work out just fine as log as the surface isn’t damaged.


One feature of having the gesso on the clear film is that I can see through it. Here’s a sketch I made recently. When I place it under the gesso film, and hold it up to a window, you can see the drawing beneath. The film is thin and flimsy, so I’ll need to mount this to a firm panel to keep the gesso from cracking. I might even try using a thicker plastic sheet, perhaps ABS. I will need to sand the surface to improve the adhesion, but it should work well.